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To ask for your help in dealing with people who think No is the start of a negotiation?

(43 Posts)
lostpurplehoodie Sat 02-Dec-17 08:33:13

I’ve been a people pleaser most of my life (dysfunctional upbringing) and I’m working hard on setting boundaries and only doing things I want to do/are convenient for me rather than continually changing my plans to accommodate others. It’s not natural for me to say no and it causes me quite a lot of anxiety but I figure with time this will change and I need to go through this phase in order to get better.

Anyway, I had an exchange with someone yesterday that went along these lines:
Them: “Can you help at X event on Y date”
Me: “Not this year as DH and I are out of the country”
Them: “Is that already booked”
Me:”Not yet, but it’s the one week we can do” (appreciate this is a mistake but ffs why ask if it’s booked already. I said no).
Them: “Your assistance will be much missed, as will DH’s muscles”

So I left it at that, pretty pissed that they didn’t accept no as my answer and then pretty much said we’re only wanted for our help not our company, only to wake up to an email from someone else from the organisation saying how much they hope I’ll be there at the event to help.

AIBU to tell them to all fuck off? I don’t want to because they’re an organisation that is a part of my life and social circle, but they have form for not listening to me in the past (I resigned from a committee when I was ill and they sat on the paperwork as they “didn’t think I was serious and could surely just ignore the emails” and I had to get very cross indeed for them to listen).

How does one deal with people who won’t hear you say no?

Glowerglass Sat 02-Dec-17 08:35:48

You just have to repeat yourself. And follow through on not helping. They will get it eventually.

IWouldLikeToKnow Sat 02-Dec-17 08:39:23

I would just follow up on it by replying to the email, reiterating what you’ve already said and say you’re sorry to miss the event. And leave it at that. You’ve been polite and very clear that you can’t help out. There can be no misunderstanding

Ohyesiam Sat 02-Dec-17 08:42:25

Great for stepping out of old patterns, and yes it gets easier.
I would reply reiterating my no. It would be easier for me in writing rather than face to face.
It's hard to think on your feet when you are forming new habits, but No, and I'm afraid not are good complete answers which you can keep repeating.

aaaaargghhhhelpme Sat 02-Dec-17 08:43:47

You're doing well. As above id just reply and say you've already said you won't be here.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Be firm but polite as you have been.

It's not easy flowers but you're doing really well. They are knobs for guilt tripping you

CoalTit Sat 02-Dec-17 08:45:06

"Your assistance will be missed" sounds as if they've accepted your no. And you've added an example of how you got them to accept your resignation in the past. So you don't really need advice on how to deal with them, just validation.
So, well done, you. Keep it up. Don't be guilt tripped.

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Sat 02-Dec-17 08:46:10

When you change, it forces others around you to change. They are expecting you to cave in, as you may have done before, and as you are not, they don't seem to accept it or know how to handle it. But you have stood your ground wonderfully, and must continue to do so as PP have suggested.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 02-Dec-17 08:47:21

Keep doing what you are doing. They'll get the message.

Also, your own mind will get rightfully cross at them instead of internalising as anxiety and guilt in yourself.

C0untDucku1a Sat 02-Dec-17 08:47:37

My old line manager, when i eas fresh out of uni, overheard me say no and give an explanation to a senior manGer one day. She ame over to me afterwards and said i must not explain myself and make excuses. No was enough.

If you had left it at ‘no not this year’ and if they asked a follow up left it at ‘we are unavailable’ they cant go anywhere with that. Maybe worth a try?

NoSquirrels Sat 02-Dec-17 08:48:40

Reply “As I told X yesterday, I’m afraid we’re out of the country that week on holiday. Sorry to miss it this year, hope it goes well.”

Ignore any further guilt tripping!

Just keep repeating. It doesn’t really matter if they think you are being serious or not as you just won’t be going and it’ll be down to them if they are short of people because they didn’t listen.
People don’t keep asking you because they think you are a pushover. It’s just what people are like

lostpurplehoodie Sat 02-Dec-17 08:49:59

The guilt tripping is so right. I even thought yesterday whether we could change our holiday plans and go another week before I got hold of myself. Struggling with feeling like a dick for going on holiday now though. I often end up in lose/lose scenarios because of the FOG from a crappy upbringing, and now feel a bit of a shine has been taken from our holidays.

The example I gave isn’t a very good one - I had to go full-on angry (which I hate) and point out that their disregard of my instructions was likely to result in me leaving their organisation. It wasn’t dignified but after lots of telling them the same thing and being ignored it was the only thing that got through, but it did damage me. And it had no effect because the behaviour this time around is the same. sad

Taylor22 Sat 02-Dec-17 08:50:24

Do not reply. They've asked you a question and you've answered.

If someone brings up the email say the matter had already been sorted.

Nonibaloni Sat 02-Dec-17 08:50:49

I know the feeling when you’ve said no, but are pushed again. Take that anxiety and think of it as excitement. You are going on holiday. You made that decision. You are not helping at the event. You made that decision. You have the power. Without sounding like a sanitary pad advert you are queen of your universe, reign.
And I then come back and tell me, because I am out and about before 9 when I had no bloody intention.

AlternativeTentacle Sat 02-Dec-17 08:51:01

Them: “Your assistance will be much missed, as will DH’s muscles”

'I am sure you will get over it'.

peachgreen Sat 02-Dec-17 08:51:37

I think you're being a wee bit oversensitive, perhaps because of your bad experience in the past. They've accepted that you're not able to make it and to me, the comment about DH's muscles was a way of making the conversation lighthearted. I would keep it breezy - "sorry I can't be there but I hope it goes really well!" - and be done with it.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Sat 02-Dec-17 08:51:48

Stay strong. It’s hard to develop the ability to say no if you have always been a people pleaser, but it gets easier;)

nonetcurtains Sat 02-Dec-17 08:52:53

I've found using their own reaction against them usually makes my point.
So I'll said no, then they respond by guilt tripping and asking why not.
I'll say because I find nothing is ever enough and I feel I'm not listened to.
If they continue to push it sort of proves my point and I can point this out to them then close down any further debate.

DotDashBeep Sat 02-Dec-17 08:55:07

Don’t give a reason why as people see that as an excuse and find ways around it.

HonestTeacher Sat 02-Dec-17 08:55:08

Well done for saying no the first time and sticking to your guns. I am like you and am starting to try and say 'no' to people more. When people ask something of me now, I think to myself "Is this a reasonable request and would I ask this of someone?"

You have already said no and it is most definitely unreasonable they have asked you again. Politely respond saying "Apoligies but as I have already said, I cannot make it."
You've already told them why so no need to explain again.

I've found that when I tell people why I can't do something they'll then try find a solution to get around my prior engagement so I just say "sorry I can't do that, hope it goes well," and leave it at that.

gingerclementine Sat 02-Dec-17 08:58:28

Just keep practising. It's a bit like riding a bike or learning to swim - you suddenly 'get' it. You'll find there is suddenly a steely glint in your eye and tone in your voice which shows no means no. It's a bit wierd when you find people who used to pester taking a step back and saying, 'Uh, OK,' and leaving it there.

LaContessaDiPlump Sat 02-Dec-17 09:02:43

Well done for saying no op! YANBU at all smile

NoSquirrels Sat 02-Dec-17 09:13:18

Refuse to feel guilty!

Other people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at this - flattered to be asked (twice!) but unfortunately were off on holiday this year. Job done, no further thought given.

Channel them. You’ve nothing to feel bad about and it would be silly to let it spoil your holidays.

Originalfoogirl Sat 02-Dec-17 09:17:52

If I say no to someone, they rarely keep asking.

This is the other person”s problem. Don’t get drawn into the discussion.

Can you do it? No we”re away
Is it booked? Can”t help, we”re away. And frankly that’s none of your business.

Don’t feel the need to explain yourself and don’t be involved with an organisation which sucks the life out of you. No matter how much a part of your “life and social circle” it is, surely if they treat you like this! It’s not worth it.

YouThought Sat 02-Dec-17 09:30:59

I think I'm really good at this. I j keep it short and sweet and I try to avoid excuses. If I give an excuse I keep that short too.

If people insist and keep asking then I repeat myself. I don't get flustered or embarrassed and I'm not fussed what people think of me.

With PTA and volunteer stuff I think I got asked to do a lot of things because I'm generally a helpful and cheerful sort of person however I have no trouble at all saying no to things. One of my favourite ways to decline to do something is to say Sorry, I can't help you with that because I don't want to

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