Ethernight (ethernight) wrote,

saying "no"

I listened to this episode of Polyamory Weekly a little while ago, and this little excerpt keeps coming to mind. It comes from an interview between the host Minx, and Marcia and Ried, the founders of Cuddle Party.

Minx: "You know, one of the most powerful things, I thought, from the facilitated part, from the workshop part, was teaching people to say 'no' and then having them practice that. Because so many people in this world cannot just say 'no'.

"I love that you said 'No is a complete sentence.' It doesn't have to be 'No, but...' or 'No, well...' or 'No, I'm sorry...'. Just 'No.'"

Marsha: "Yeah, it's been really interesting I think for myself, the work I'm moving into from Cuddle Party is particularly working with women around communication, and particularly around 'No'. And learning how to ask for what you want. And one of the biggest things, it's really hard to ask for what you want if you feel like you can't say 'no'. Because why would you want to put somebody else into that situation? So I've noticed that there's a parallel between: if I can say no to someone without drama ensuing, then I can also ask for things without drama ensuing."

--Poly Weekly Episode

This was one of those concepts that made everything make so much more sense! If you don't feel comfortable saying "no", then of course it will be hard to communicate the things you want. If the word "no" isn't part of your vocabulary, asking isn't asking -- it's demanding.

I so treasure the people in my life who I know will tell me in no uncertain terms exactly what they like, and what they don't like. Seem harsh? Well, sometimes it is. And yet, it is so refreshing.

Trying to ferret useful information out of someone who can not come right out and say what they think is a tedious and exhausting endevor. Did that pause mean that she really didn't want to go? Does this actually sound like fun to him, or is he just trying to make me happy? Is my design actually any good, or do they just not want to hurt my feelings? If someone won't speak up, you can never be sure where you stand -- and that means that you can never really enjoy a "yes".

The contrast between the two types of communication is like putting on glasses for the first time after living a life of nearsighted blur. Suddenly everything is so clear! All the information you need is right there in front of you and you know you can go about your business without bumbling into anyone or pawing about clumsily.

So, please. Tell me "no." I can handle it.
Tags: contains.musings

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