Saying Yes to Saying No

Saying Yes to Saying No

proxemics

/prɒkˈsiːmɪks/

noun

the branch of knowledge that deals with the amount of space that people feel it necessary to set between themselves and others.

~Oxford

This is one of the terms that I learnt in my first year of University but it wasn’t until recently that I got to learn the true meaning let alone use it. Here goes the backstory of what brought this all on. I’ve been attending some classes for the last two weeks and one of the perks is that we get to have lunch together. So early this week as we are queuing for  food this guy from my class keep touching my shoulders. I brush it off for as long as I can and then tell him that there is something known as “proxemics” a.k.a personal space. He stops for a while and then he is back at it. My friends who are right in front of me notice it and ask me why the guy keeps putting his hands on me. I tell them that I’ve asked him to stop but am a bit scared he’d create a scene because “he is a recovering drug addict”. The quotes were necessary because I feel like he is still using. One of my friends tells him off and it does the trick.

Same day another incident occurs. The most important classes are the practical ones and for some reason every group is trying to outdo the other. We are all in a hurry to get things done and one of the other groups asks for assistance with a tool. Everyone else in the group is adamant on why we can’t help them. It happens severally and during one of the altercation one of the guys from the other group just doesn’t give a fuck and helps himself to it. All along in my mind am thinking to myself how I wouldn’t have the guts to say No. 

Later that evening as I wind down, my mind plays back to the events of that day and I start to think about all of the times I’ve been scared of going against someone else’s opinion. I’d rather have my opinions go unsaid and make the other person feel comfortable which is so wrong. It takes me back to something my aunt once told me. If you see someone doing something wrong and you don’t  say a word you are as much as in the wrong as they are.

I decided to give it a shot and boy did it suck. I hate confrontation and I hate hurting someone else’s feelings even more. I guess that has been one of my unconscious values and giving up a value that you have known and gotten used to for so long can feel wrong and disorienting. Failing to say NO is one of the reasons that leads to indecisiveness. We are scared of people getting angry or the fact that friendships might end, that we forget that the act of saying NO reveals people’s true motives.

Saying what you think and wading into the deep end doesn’t always have a happy ending. Difficult conversations are something of a gamble and you have to be okay with the outcome. And you have to know, going in, where you draw the line.You have to know when in the conversation you are going to say no. ~ Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

As cliché as it may sound. No is a complete sentence, so say it clearly, strongly and with enough frequency.

 

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