I have struggled to admit my true feelings.
How I wish I could not pathetically smile at the dog walker who allows its dog to paint muddy paws on my jeans – they are just being friendly – no, they are ignoring your commands and staining my outfit. Or how I would love to tell that friend no, the one who springs up like an office worker at 5pm when she is in need of advice – advice that she never listens too because really she just wants to offload her issues.
I have been called “nice” in my school reports and “friendly” during awkward – let’s discover more about each other building tasks. I do consider myself to have both qualities, and yet I also deem myself to be a person taken for granted.
I have guilty syndrome – a condition where you want to forever apologise and never be the face holding a wrinkle of bad news. I believe that I am a great friend, I will go out of my way to be there and in return I ask for a level of respect.
Which means not sporadically appearing as if you are a magician or acting as Santa, who needs to be in hiding for every other day.
Thankfully, these types of slugs have mainly slithered away. One argued if selfishness was truly a significant enough factor to end a friendship over – yes, it is. I would not put up with a partner who only cared about himself, so why would I accept the same from a friend?
Recently, I stooped out of my comfort zone. An acquaintance who I had not heard from in years, abruptly welcomed themselves to my phone with a pop-up notification from messenger. I felt a piece of stardom with their on-going wonder, gushing about my life and activities. Just as I revealed all, I quickly grasped at the writing on the wall.
She was not interested; she was merely looking for an individual in the UK who could help promote a range of products.
Possibly, if she had been clean from the start and openly declared what she was after, I might have given the opportunity a chance. But to know that the conversation was created from transparency left a bitter taste in my mouth. The same feeling when you over consume After Eight – that mint chocolate is a sugary mouthwash. Copiously, message alerts beamed off as she was desperate for me to agree. I ignored and blocked.
Somehow, that was easier than to just say no.
The term does not make you rude, selfish or a bitch. It means that you are confident enough to at times put yourself first, you are not afraid to pretend to diminish your feelings and you are a person who knows what they want.
I am not talking about the instances where your mother needs help or your best friend is going through something. It is not about walking away from your loved ones.
“Every single moment, you have the choice to either lie about what’s so for you or to tell the absolute truth about it and risk the consequences that come with just being who, and how you are”. – Chuck Hillig, Seeds for the Soul
As a child you can be wrapped round in a bubble of dreams. We are all perfect, until the cracks seep through and we observe traits; traits negative enough to poke holes in our blankets. If we do not have the courage to stick up for ourselves and speak freely of what we want, who will?
My quietness is not an invitation to accept all. My shyness is not an indicator that I might go along with what you suggest. People naively assume that unless you are boisterous or a loud extrovert, you will be mute enough to agree.
Whether they are users or genuine, do you want to spend time doing a task you dread? Does life not already give us too many of those assignments?
I never quite understood why my mother agreed to bake cakes for the school – she was working round the clock, or why she says yes to waste her weekend at an event she has no desire to attend. I joke that she is keeping up with the Jones’s; always appearing charming and full of hospitality.
And whilst others may remember her kindness, I have learnt that I am not afraid to be human. If I need a weekend to recharge – I will take it. If I do not want to spend a sunny day going up-and-down shops looking for clothes to adorn the body of the fussiest person – I will say so.
There is a spectrum ranging from polite to rude; there is also a bar which links being there for another and being there for you. And hey, a girl needs to hit the bar high and take a sip of wine every once in awhile – to ease the tension of saying sorry, but no.
Do you struggle to say the word no?