JUST SAY NO is drilled into kids but when does that change to:
‘Never ever say no in case of…causing offence!’? Instead say ‘I can’t’!
I am intrigued by the transformation of invitations into impositions- why can’t I say ‘No thanks’ when invited to do something I don’t wannnnnaaaa do?! An invitation is a request so why is ‘No thanks’ not a valid response? Hmm.
Is it really more respectful to say ‘Sorry, I can’t come’ when the truth is that I don’t want to? I think not; I think instead our ever-increasing fear of ‘causing offence’ (gasp!) means we worry so much about what others think of us that we often forgo honesty and integrity in the ‘name’ of decorum and politeness.
I remember humorously conversations with a friend trying to ‘get out of’ going to a party she didn’t want to go to – because, of course, she couldn’t say ‘No’ and instead had to be ‘unable’ to go.
Why is lying more respectful and socially acceptable than politely declining? I don’t think it is.
‘Sorry hun, it’s not my thing but thanks for the invite’? or
‘Sorry, I really fancy a chilled eve but thanks for the invite’? or
‘Sorry, I don’t feel comfortable coming by myself but thanks for the invite’ etc etc etc?
Yes, there are times when you don’t wanna but *should* go anyway – to show love, or because it’s important, duty, or because it’s good for you. But the second Greatest Commandment isn’t ‘Never cause one’s neighbour offence’; it’s Love Neighbour as You Love Self. And saying ‘No Thanks’ sometimes – openly, honestly and politely – seems to me a good way of doing just that.
So, I’m going to try to give replies like these instead of the ignoring of whatsapps, the standard ‘I’ll try to make it’ or, worse still, the ‘I don’t know what I’m doing yet’ line (liar liar, thong on fire!). And if ever I invite you to an event you just really don’t fancy – obviously unlikely because my parties are awesome but hypothetically speaking… you have my permission to politely ‘just say no’ : honest! 😉