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No Means No!

June 13, 2011

The past couple years, I’ve been working on being more assertive, especially with people at church.  There’s always that fear that I will offend them and make things uncomfortable. 

Yesterday I came out of the bathroom at church and this woman told me, “We need your help!”  She told me there was a baptism on Saturday and that I was needed to play the piano.  I said, “Let me check my calendar when I get home and get back to you.”  I then explained everything I had going on and how it might not work out for me.  She proceeded to tell me that she was busy too (but still attending the baptism), told me I could do it, handed me a note with the list of songs, and then told the mom of the child soon to be baptized that I would do it.  The mom then approached me and thanked me for agreeing to play for it.

Oh, I did? 

Because I’m considered the best pianist in the ward, most people want me to play for their baptisms even though we have quite a few pianists perfectly capable of playing hymns and children’s songs.  They can’t expect me to attend all of them.  I have projects that need to be done, family outings planned, etc.  Planning a baptism smack in the middle of a Saturday makes it difficult to plan anything and I just played for one two weeks ago.  Someone else can have a turn now.

So, I’m going to go over pushy lady’s head (it’s not her job to plan this event anyway) and tell the mom it’s not going to work after all for me, but I would be happy to help her find someone else.  Our last few weekends have been hijacked by various things and I have plans with my children to go strawberry picking.  Is that selfish?  I don’t care!   I am helping decorate for a wedding on Friday during the day, attending a bridal shower that evening, I’m helping with the food for the reception Saturday night, playing prelude for the wedding, and singing a song for the reception.  In addition to that, I’m trying to plan a nice Father’s Day for my husband and he’s on-call with work.  Everything I do that day will probably have to be done with my children and I know when I already have enough on my plate.

The woman might get annoyed at me.  I’m happy to say that I don’t care.  She doesn’t care about my feelings, so why should I feel upset if she gets bent out of shape?  She has repeatedly disregarded the word “no” and I’m tired of it.  I was caught off guard at the moment and on my way to where I was needed, so I’m a little frustrated I wasn’t more forceful with her, but it is progress that I don’t care how she reacts.  You can hardly get a word in with her.

It is one of my top pet peeves when people won’t take no for a answer.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses.  If I tell someone I’m not feeling up to a task because I have a baby and am feeling overwhelmed, I don’t want to hear, “Oh!  I have a baby too and I do blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!”  OK, maybe YOU handle it fine, but I don’t.  Maybe you’re getting more sleep than I am.  Maybe you don’t have a chronic illness that flares up when you’re sleep deprived.  Maybe I don’t want to explain all of the personal things causing me to say, “No.” 

I swear some people see the word as a fun challenge. 


2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2011 10:17 pm

    There’s another way: you can ask for something in return, something you know they’ll be very reluctant to do, like looking after you children for a whole day while you go to the Temple. It puts the ball back on their side of the court :)

  2. June 13, 2011 10:24 pm

    Or I could ask them for a million bagillion dollars! :-D

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