Help! I Can’t Say No!


Most people think they need their own personal assistants.  Not me… Nope.  I need a “No-Man.”  I need someone to walk through every step of life with me, and every time I start to say, “Sure! Yes!,” I need my No-Man to interrupt me with a loud, confident, “NO!”  Fortunately, Arden has volunteered herself for this position.

Seriously, though, I have a huge, innate inability to say no.  I don’t know what it is.  I’m not shy; I’m not introverted; I’m not quiet; I’m not a pushover.  But I just can’t say no.

Here’s a recent example:

At the beginning of Gerald’s football season this year, the coaches had a meeting with us parents.  They asked if anyone would volunteer to help out with things like emails and notifications of practices, etc.  Everyone sat there for a good 30 seconds in silence.  My inner voice was screaming, “No!  Don’t do it!  You swear every year that you’ll never do this again.”  It was at that very moment that I heard my outer voice speak up… “Sure.  I’ll do it!”  Are you effing kidding me, Alicia?  Here we go again.  The coach was very thankful, and I used that fact to be a little less angry with myself.

Since that day, however, I haven’t only sent emails about practices and game schedules.  Nope, not me… I’ve created a team website, I’ve videotaped all the games, and I’ve offered to pick some kids up and take them to games when their parents can’t make it themselves because of work.  All of this while I have my own hectic, full-time job and two kids playing three sports per year in different leagues with practices and games at the same times in different locations.  Why do I do this to myself?

Here’s another example:

At work, I’ve been swamped.  In fact, swamped doesn’t even do it justice.  As you may (or may not) have noticed, I disappeared from the blogging world for several weeks.  This is because I was just drowning in work and schedule issues.  Anyway, I’ve had several recent requests to take the lead on one project or another, and what have I said every stinking time, even though I’ve barely had time to even run across the hall to pee?  “Sure.  I’ll be happy to do it.”

Again… Are you kidding me?!

Here’s one final example:

Yesterday Ronald’s all-star travel football coach emailed all the parents of the players to tell us how much we could expect to have to pay for our tournament in Knoxville coming up in a few weeks.  Then he asked for a volunteer treasurer to collect all the money from the parents and make the necessary collection arrangements.

I bet you can guess who that parent is…  Yep.  You got it.

When I told Arden that this morning, she offered to slap some sense into me, and I almost took her up on it.  Why, exactly, is it that I just can’t say no?

Source: Urban Black Thoughts

Source: Urban Black Thoughts

I did a little research on the matter, and here’s what I found.

People often have a hard time saying no for the following reasons:

1. They want to help.

Okay, this one’s legit.  I do want to help.  So far, so good.

2. They’re afraid of being rude.

I ruled this one out because I’m not usually asked specifically or called-out to volunteer.  I usually do so from an open invitation.  Oh, and there’s one other reason I don’t fall into this category.  I don’t really care if I’m rude.

3. They want to be agreeable.

I don’t typically worry about alienating myself from a group by not being in agreement with others, so again, I rule this one out.

4. They fear conflict.

As you all know by now, my dream in life is to become an attorney.  This is because I usually thrive under conflict and don’t fear dissent.  This one is nixed.

5. They fear lost opportunities.

I don’t fear doors closing in the situations in which I volunteer because they’re usually recreational.  They don’t mean the possibility of more money or great status.  They usually only mean undue, extra stress.  Strike this one.

6. They don’t want to burn bridges.

This reminds me of the previous reason, so I’m going to rule this one out, as well.  Also, I don’t really have to worry about relationships being damaged by turning a request down, as the only relationships that usually exist in these circumstances are mere acquaintance interactions.

Okay, so yes, we know I want to help, but certainly that’s not the only reason I kick myself several times a month, right?  It can’t be.  So what else could it be?

The only other reasons I could come up with on my own (with no thanks to the researchers who put the above list together) are that either some people may actually strive under stress (I can’t imagine…) or that I’m simply that much of a control-freak.  Could this be it?

Yes, I want things done right, and yes, I try to do everything perfectly.  This may account for some of it, but why should I care if someone else screws up at work or on the football emails?  Do I care, really?  I don’t think I do, but I can’t, for the life of me, think of any other reasons why I put myself in these situations.

Do you have any suggestions or deep insights that I may have missed?  I’m all ears!

In the meantime, don’t ask me for anything.  I’m saying “No” in advance!!!

(Okay, I’ll change my mind by the time you ask me, but I’ll definitely have Arden tell you “No” for me.  So still… don’t ask!)

Source: Slap Caption

Source: Slap Caption

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