Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Learning to Say No.
In the advice column, a woman wrote that she helps a neighbor with her children and her chores occasionally. Recently this needy neighbor asked if our heroine would drive her daughter back and forth from sport practice, which she happily did. Upon discovering that the reason her services were needed was because "Miss Needy" was at a 15 hour film festival! Of course, one feels dreadfully put upon at that point.
First, let me say, I am NOT "Ask Amy". Mostly because I am extremely cantankerous and opinionated. Political Correctness is not in my vocabulary. I WILL tell you the truth, if you need it, whether or not you think you do. And here's the truth:
WHAT?! You need me to do WHAT? Now look, if you are in chemo, I'm your go-to person, but if you are gallivanting about town, you need to get your butt back home and parent your kids! Personal note: I once had a neighbor who did the same things. True story: she asked me on various occasions:
1.) Did I have any raspberries, because she was going to make muffins and didn't have any. (We live in Chicago, any store is a 5 minute drive away.)
2.) Did I have chicken, she needed some for dinner. (I'm happy to give a cup of sugar or butter, but, PLEASE!)
3.) Can she borrow my car?
4.) Can she use the phone? She forgot to pay her bill and needed to call the utility to restart it. (Okay, but after a long time, I walked in on her sitting in my kitchen chatting to a friend.)
5.) Can she get some ice? (They were having a party to which we were not invited and forgot to get ice.)
6.) Can she have some vinegar for dyeing Easter eggs. (because Easter always just sneaks up on you!)
I used to acquiesce to most of these requests. We were new neighbors with small children. I thought I might need to call in those favors, but she turned out to not be available for any of my requests. Eventually, the straw broke with the ice request. I said I didn't have any ice, which of course, is ridiculous and she knew it. She stopped asking. Whew!
On the other hand, in the same neighborhood lived a young teacher. I didn't know him well, but he waved and chatted when we were outside. One day I answered the doorbell and there he stood, hands covering a very red and watery eye. He told me that he just had Lasik, but something wasn't right and could I take him to his doctor. I said, "Get in the CAR!", loaded up my toddlers and drove him as quickly as the law would allow!
Dear readers, some things you must say "Yes" to regardless of the hassle and some things you must say "No" to regardless of the triviality of the request. Do not be a doormat and do not be a "Miss Needy." Above all: