Sunday, November 30, 2008

Must Say Yes

One of my kids has a friend who is not shy about making requests. If he wants to go somewhere and his parents can't haul him there, he'll ask us to take him. At first, this was hard for me. I tend to think that I should say "yes" to whatever request people make of me unless I have a darn good reason not to. But then I end up struggling within myself as to whether I have a "good enough" reason to say no to the person who is requesting that I, oh, say, serve on a committee or join an organization or make a donation to their charity.

After some pondering, I think there are two types of people in the world. There are those like me who self-monitor their requests of others: "Oh, I can't ask them to do that; that would be imposing," or "This is too big a favor to ask," or "I don't want to be a bother so I won't ask for the help I need." These kind of people feel compelled to say "yes" to requests because obviously somebody wouldn't make the request unless they really really need to ask.

Then there's the other type of people. They're the ones who ask boldly because, after all, nobody will know what you want unless you honestly tell them. And if the person wants to say "no" to your request, that's just fine. These kind of people aren't offended in the least if they get "no" for an answer. (This actually has some back-up with regard to what Scripture says about praying boldly.)

I think the problem comes when the two types of people interact. Person A will agonize over saying "no" to Person B, while Person B isn't in the least offended by a negative response. Person B cannot understand why anybody should have a hard time saying "no" to an unwelcome request. Person A makes requests with much trepidation. Person B says "no" easily, without realizing how much it will effect Person A.

It would save me a lot of trouble if we could just put labels on people's foreheads as to which group they fall into. It would make it so much easier to say "no" without guilt.

And it would also make it easier to cope with the Group-B people who can't figure out why us Group-A people have a hard time saying "no."

Now, do you suppose this is genetic?


  1. Yes, I think it is genetic.

    What about when A & B get married??? I am like you and my dh is...well the opposite. My oldest two are like me and the DAD. It is good for them to be assertive, but bad for this mommy! LOL

  2. I feel your pain. But I've been pleased to discover that it's a lot easier to say "no" once I realize that somebody sees their requests and my "no" without all the weightiness. I dunno... it's relieved me of some of those guilty feelings that I probably shouldn't've had in the first place.

  3. Well if it's not genetic then it's learned from close proximity to parents who are either Type A or B.

    I think I was a Type A, but am learning to say no more often. I don't think I could ever be a Type B though.

    I've given you a blog award and you can do the meme with it if you like. If not, just take the award and know that I appreciate your ponderings on your blog.

  4. Very interesting thoughts, o perceptive one. I am definitely like you--a Group A person. I married into a Group B family. It was interesting for the first few years, but I have learned to be more Type B when I am amongst them. (But deep down I'll always be an A.)