• In the Spotlight:
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Just say 'no'...does it sound easier than it is?

Posted by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:01 PM
  • 16 Replies

 I'm wondering how many women struggle with telling people 'no' when they truly do not want to do something.  It could the mother that is constantly volunteering you to help with friends or the friend that comes to you because they want a cheap babysitter.  Do you find yourself wishing you had said no?  If you don't tell people 'no' do you blame them or feel like they have taken advantage of you? 

I ask because the trend seems to be a lot of women find themselves 'trapped' into doing things they don't want to do.  There seem to be a lot of people complaining that their friends/family take advantage of them. 

I don't agree with the 'trapped' part, I think they are ultimately trapped by their own weakness not so much by the people that ask. 

So what do you think?  Do you find yourself in these situations?  Are you able to tell people 'no' or do you worry about how they will perceive you as a person if you don't agree to everything? 

             Join us on

Current Events & Hot Topics
             Group Mod

by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:01 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Gretchen2876
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:09 PM


Quoting katy_kay:

 I'm wondering how many women struggle with telling people 'no' when they truly do not want to do something.  It could the mother that is constantly volunteering you to help with friends or the friend that comes to you because they want a cheap babysitter.  Do you find yourself wishing you had said no?  Quite frequently actually.

If you don't tell people 'no' do you blame them or feel like they have taken advantage of you? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on who the other person is.

I ask because the trend seems to be a lot of women find themselves 'trapped' into doing things they don't want to do.  There seem to be a lot of people complaining that their friends/family take advantage of them. 

I don't agree with the 'trapped' part, I think they are ultimately trapped by their own weakness not so much by the people that ask. Mostly, I agree. Only with the exception of very close family. I do feel obligated to help them, when they ask.

So what do you think?  Do you find yourself in these situations?  Are you able to tell people 'no' or do you worry about how they will perceive you as a person if you don't agree to everything? Yes, although I am working on it. One of my biggest personal issues, is finding and using my own voice. I have always hated conflict, to a fault. I'm working really hard to get past that.


margroc
by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I used to be that way.  I thought if I say no then I'm not a nice person.  So I would say to anyone and anything.  I just ended up miserable, whiny and resentful.  Then it hit me - it was all my fault!  People can't take advantage of you without your permission.  Now I will say, "I'm sorry I just can't possibly at this time". At first people were taken aback but now, I think they see that I will help when I can, just not all the time and I'm a much happier person.

A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate.  - Pierre E. Trudeau

eaglemama2
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Not really, it's called being Assertive.  Once you can make that distinction, it's a walk in the park.


GoodMomma24-7
by Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:36 PM

I agree with you, that sometimes we are trapped by our own weaknesses.

 

So what do you think?  Do you find yourself in these situations? 

More times than I'd like to count, lol. 

Are you able to tell people 'no' or do you worry about how they will perceive you as a person if you don't agree to everything? 

It's easier to say no to some people than to others.  I've been through the ringer with people, so to speak, as an associate pastor's wife, with my father-in-law being the pastor.  I know how people like to play guilt games, how people can take you for granted, and use you.  But there are some people who are genuinely considerate.  It's easy to say no to a user, but I've gotten pretty good at being able to tell who's a user and who's not.  I don't mind saying "yes" to a lot of things, but I'll know if someone is walking on me, and it won't continue for long. lol

BigOlMommy
by Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I tell people no more than I tell them yes, LOL

katy_kay
by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I have a really difficult time telling my mother 'no'.  She is constantly coming up with 'great ideas' that she thinks I should do.  She over extends herself and then comes to me to help her.  A great example of this was a few months ago.  A friend of hers died.  He had a large group of friends and not much family.  My mother made a huge commitment to the family to handle the reception after the burial service.  At that point she immediately turned to me to ask if I could make a few dishes, which I happily agreed to do.  It then turned into 'will you help set up' to the day of the service 'I have to go be with the family will you stay here and organize all of the food, and make sure everything is ready'. 

I helped because it was mom and she asked.  I had never met the person that died and didn't know any of the people in attendence.  It was a long day and I laughed at myself later and said 'yep, she sure has your number' when I finally was able to head home to my family.  

             Join us on

Current Events & Hot Topics
             Group Mod

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:42 PM

I agree with you about people being trapped by their own inability to say no. I've never been like that, but I know people who are, and I feel as though it's probably really hard for someone to get out of that habit. Because I've never had a problem saying no, I've also pissed of alot of people, or have heard how hard-hearted I am. Oh well. Life goes on.

WildKat
by Bronze Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:56 PM


Quoting katy_kay:

I have a really difficult time telling my mother 'no'.  She is constantly coming up with 'great ideas' that she thinks I should do.  She over extends herself and then comes to me to help her.  A great example of this was a few months ago.  A friend of hers died.  He had a large group of friends and not much family.  My mother made a huge commitment to the family to handle the reception after the burial service.  At that point she immediately turned to me to ask if I could make a few dishes, which I happily agreed to do.  It then turned into 'will you help set up' to the day of the service 'I have to go be with the family will you stay here and organize all of the food, and make sure everything is ready'. 

I helped because it was mom and she asked.  I had never met the person that died and didn't know any of the people in attendence.  It was a long day and I laughed at myself later and said 'yep, she sure has your number' when I finally was able to head home to my family.  

Okay - when I first saw your OP I was going make some snide remark about calling women "weak" when they are only trying to help out.  But THIS response changes things.

I love to volunteer, and get asked to do stuff (and bake stuff, which I hate) a lot.  I love donating goods, hate running errands, love working in the school library/copyroom, REALLY love playing piano with the school chorus, hate watching my neighbors' kids, or going to pick them up from daycare when she is "too tired".  (Yeah, I have my own 3 kids that I now have to get in and out of their carseats to go in and get yours. ) I am grateful to those who have pulled me into a fantastic school community of volunteers.  And I do get resentful when I am overwhelmed by stuff and feeling taken advantage of.   And it's easy to beat mySELF up when that happens.

So in your case, it honestly does sound like your Mom is either taking advantage or just taking for granted, and it's entirely possible that she's just unaware of how much busier you are now that you have children, and how much less time you have for the rest of the world because you would like to spend time with *them*.  You need to focus on your own family, for some balance in your life, and there's nothing wrong with that.  In a way, we implode for a spell when we have kids.  Pick and choose what we do with the rest of the world in order to carve out time to enjoy our children, who won't be little forever. 

If I were you I would just try to have a talk with your Mom.  Tell her about something fun that you missed out on while you were meeting *her* volunteer obligations and tell her you won't be available for this sort of thing as much anymore.  Tell her you love that she likes to help people in need, and you do too, but that these were *her* friends, and at a minimum she should have asked you before counting on your help and making the committment.  If you had said no, would she have been able to do this herself?  She needs to stop counting on you, because she is a capable, fully-functioning grown up, and you need to focus your efforts on being there for those NON grown-ups that need more of your time.  I honestly don't think she can fault you for that.  If, like many of us, you find these sorts of boundary-setting talks with your mother difficult, I would recommend some Harriet Lerner books for help with that.  Go to the library and check out "The Dance of ..."  (Motherhood, Intimacy, Connection - take your pick - they're all good.)

Good luck with it all!!  I know this stuff can be hard.  And go easy on yourself!!  A desire to help is not a sign of weakness in you.  We need to cultivate assertiveness, especially with those that are closest to us.

Peace,

Kat

katy_kay
by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 3:03 PM


Quoting WildKat:

 

Quoting katy_kay:

I have a really difficult time telling my mother 'no'.  She is constantly coming up with 'great ideas' that she thinks I should do.  She over extends herself and then comes to me to help her.  A great example of this was a few months ago.  A friend of hers died.  He had a large group of friends and not much family.  My mother made a huge commitment to the family to handle the reception after the burial service.  At that point she immediately turned to me to ask if I could make a few dishes, which I happily agreed to do.  It then turned into 'will you help set up' to the day of the service 'I have to go be with the family will you stay here and organize all of the food, and make sure everything is ready'. 

I helped because it was mom and she asked.  I had never met the person that died and didn't know any of the people in attendence.  It was a long day and I laughed at myself later and said 'yep, she sure has your number' when I finally was able to head home to my family.  

Okay - when I first saw your OP I was going make some snide remark about calling women "weak" when they are only trying to help out.  But THIS response changes things.

I love to volunteer, and get asked to do stuff (and bake stuff, which I hate) a lot.  I love donating goods, hate running errands, love working in the school library/copyroom, REALLY love playing piano with the school chorus, hate watching my neighbors' kids, or going to pick them up from daycare when she is "too tired".  (Yeah, I have my own 3 kids that I now have to get in and out of their carseats to go in and get yours. ) I am grateful to those who have pulled me into a fantastic school community of volunteers.  And I do get resentful when I am overwhelmed by stuff and feeling taken advantage of.   And it's easy to beat mySELF up when that happens.

So in your case, it honestly does sound like your Mom is either taking advantage or just taking for granted, and it's entirely possible that she's just unaware of how much busier you are now that you have children, and how much less time you have for the rest of the world because you would like to spend time with *them*.  You need to focus on your own family, for some balance in your life, and there's nothing wrong with that.  In a way, we implode for a spell when we have kids.  Pick and choose what we do with the rest of the world in order to carve out time to enjoy our children, who won't be little forever. 

If I were you I would just try to have a talk with your Mom.  Tell her about something fun that you missed out on while you were meeting *her* volunteer obligations and tell her you won't be available for this sort of thing as much anymore.  Tell her you love that she likes to help people in need, and you do too, but that these were *her* friends, and at a minimum she should have asked you before counting on your help and making the committment.  If you had said no, would she have been able to do this herself?  She needs to stop counting on you, because she is a capable, fully-functioning grown up, and you need to focus your efforts on being there for those NON grown-ups that need more of your time.  I honestly don't think she can fault you for that.  If, like many of us, you find these sorts of boundary-setting talks with your mother difficult, I would recommend some Harriet Lerner books for help with that.  Go to the library and check out "The Dance of ..."  (Motherhood, Intimacy, Connection - take your pick - they're all good.)

Good luck with it all!!  I know this stuff can be hard.  And go easy on yourself!!  A desire to help is not a sign of weakness in you.  We need to cultivate assertiveness, especially with those that are closest to us.

Peace,

Kat

Thanks but I would like to point out there is nothing wrong with acknowledging our weaknesses.  We can be strong in so many ways and still have areas we need to work on and it's not shameful to recognize it. 

I also disagree, I think telling people 'yes' when it is not something we want to do or creates additional hardship and/or resentment is a weakness. 


 

             Join us on

Current Events & Hot Topics
             Group Mod

WildKat
by Bronze Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Forgot to add - there are ways of saying no without flat-out saying "no", and without pissing someone off. 

You can say:

  • Let me think about that and get back to you. (this gives you more time to formulate a reason for the no if it is no, or to just think about what the likely time committment is on this)
  • I'm so sorry I would love to help you with that but I have a conflict this time - please don't hesitate to ask again next year.
  • While I really can't do that because of (budget, time, whatever) constraints, I can help you out with the (much smaller) X piece of that.  (This is what I did with the piano stuff - I didn't have time to learn 10 songs and come in early for the staff chorus with my screaming son in tow.  I explained that and did 6 songs just with the students.  They were still grateful!
  • I wish you'd asked before signing me up for that - I feel bad for letting you down but I really can't do that.  I'm sorry, but you'll have to find someone else this time. 

Another technique is to anticipate what she's going to ask you next and set expectations preemptively.  Example:  "Mom, I can pay for the ingredients and do all the cooking the night before, but I have plans already on Saturday so I can't come deliver or do any set up.  What time will you be by to come get the food."  (This may take thinking one step ahead of her, which I know can be tough with some people.)

Again - good luck with it!

Peace,

Kat

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)