Sunday, February 03, 2013

Conversational Booby Traps

It seems I'm always being taken unaware by conversational booby traps. It must be a comedy to be around me. I think to myself, privately, was I sometimes so unaware as a child to learn how to extricate myself from such entrapment? I could have been, though I can tell you I didn't miss much, I was your silent listener with a book behind the sofa or lurking at the top of the stairs, soaking it all in.

To my utter shock, I was caught a few times recently.

Example 1:

An acquaintance who has never been to my house grabs some DVDs off my shelves and announces:

A. "I am borrowing these."

WWW: "Well, actually, I never lend out my movies"

A.: "Don't you trust me?"

WWW: "No, it's not a matter of trust. I base this on past experiences..."

Friend standing by: "Oh, you can trust her. I'll vouch for her."

A.: "See how ridiculous you are?"

A marches off. With my movies. I still don't know what I could have said to her.

Example 2:

I tell a friend here I am going to Toronto for a few weeks as another friend has offered me her downtown house.

F.: "Oh great, I've always wanted to hang around downtown Toronto! We'll spend some time, you can show me your old haunts. Great!!"

WWW: "Well, the house is a bit small, my granddaughter might want to stay...."

F: "Oh, I won't be in the way at all, just point me towards the subway!"

WWW: "And I'll want to entertain my friends and gabfest, etc."

F: "I'm dying to meet your friends, see what your Toronto life was like..."

Why am I always afraid to say NO out loud and vehemently?

So here I am now, still shy of a couple of movies a month later, and with a Toronto flight unbooked.

People pleaser. Yeah, I know. But how to stop? Is there some kind of lingo I missed out on?

Labels: , ,


Blogger One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

You need to be bold.
In the past I would lend my special books - when someone asked.
Not anymore as they usually were not returned. I don't borrow and just purchase my own.
About the one who is thinking she will join you on your special trip
"no way"
I do not believe this is a friend :)

Sun Feb 03, 04:49:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Government Funded Blogger said...

Its the old hammer or the nail problem,WWW.

I never have the problem because when it comes to people like you describe I am a hammer.

Sun Feb 03, 07:30:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


So example please, what would you say in these situations?


Sun Feb 03, 07:44:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


And it also makes one reluctant to share any kind of plans for fear of intrusion.

I always wait to be asked and never would dream of grabbing something off someone's shelves or inviting myself along on a holiday.


Sun Feb 03, 09:10:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Irene said...

First of all: you have incredibly rude friends and I would hardly know what to do with them myself. I would be completely shook up by their rudeness.

In response, and I know this is difficult, you can't do anything else but be rude and pushy yourself and tell them that no, they can not do whatever they are planning on doing. You will have to do that at the risk of them ending up disliking you, which I really do not think they will. Just state you case plainly.

Good luck, WWW, it's not you, it's them.

Sun Feb 03, 09:25:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

I am taken aback by the rudeness too Irene. Not used to it. I find it so hard to be rude, I truly wanted to grab those movies and say absolutely NOT but it's not in me, even though it is MY property she is taking away.

As to the other, I should have spoken up and said "I need to think about that" which is always a good response when you're being bulldozed into something.

Thanks for the support!!


Sun Feb 03, 09:37:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Bijoux said...

I agree with Irene that those are rude folks, and I'm not certain I would call them friends. Sometimes when people overstep their bounds with me, I blame my "lack of hospitality" on someone else. Like I'd say that the videos belong to another friend or that my friend with the house would be vey unhappy that I allowed a stranger she doesn't know stay there.

Mon Feb 04, 08:31:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger laurie said...

seems to me you DID say no. and the friend was rude enough not to accept it. so it's not that you don't want to say NO, but you don't want to be as rude as the other person. which i can understand.

i guess you could have wrested the movies out of her hand, but that seems excessive. at some point we let rude people win because we do not want to equal them in rudeness.

Mon Feb 04, 09:13:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Yes, I have tried tactics like that the odd time but feel uncomfortable in the lie and truly wonder how some people take such enormous liberties with other people's time and treasures.


Mon Feb 04, 10:43:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


I had been very reluctant in the past to let this woman into my home but she had seen photos of events (thank you FB!!)and basically intruded herself.

Aren't first instincts usually right though??

Now I know why.


Mon Feb 04, 10:44:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Marc Leavitt said...

I've been where you are. It goes back to your childhood. You want to be liked, and you're afraid that if you put your foot down and say "no" to these totally inappropriate and offensive requests, that the person won't like you anymore.
Question: Do you really heed this jerk's approbation?
Answer: If you do, I've just wasted my time.

Good luck!

Mon Feb 04, 12:01:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

I hear ya. The second scenario is a bit more complicated in that funding of my theatrical endeavours is involved.

The first, I sure missed the boat. I don't care if I ever see her again (except with my movies!).

I am practising NO out loud today. :)


Mon Feb 04, 12:37:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Lady Luz(Pamela) said...

My oh my gal, you need a bit of assertiveness therapy (LOL). Get a really good, trusted friend to do some rehearsing with you, based on the incidents you describe. You could work up a few handy phrases (nice but firm) that you can use as "broken records" for such rude people.

I'm gobsmacked that the two you mention just ignored your dissuasive responses. It's a shame you can't cross them both off your list.

Mon Feb 04, 12:45:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Government Funded Blogger said...

Example 1
Put the dvds back I don't lend them.(firm voice)

my answer to dont you trust me would be to ignore the question and repeat the above (firmer voice).

followed by now get the %#$&^ out of my house.

In example 2 I would say "Hey, we will save that for another time."

Glad you posted the problem because you have gotten good support from your commenters.

Mon Feb 04, 01:19:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Twilight said...

Little white lies can come in handy in these circumstances, WWW!

DVDs - Oh! I'm so sorry I have those earmarked for Mrs. X - I've already promised to take them over tomorrow. Maybe later for you?

Toronto house: Oh my! It's such a pity, I'd have been so happy for you to join me there, but I've already arranged for (daughter, grandgirl, or other friend) to join me. Maybe next time?

Mon Feb 04, 02:47:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Yes, busy rehearsing responses so not caught unawares again.

Thank you


Mon Feb 04, 03:40:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


I live and learn, excellent, without being rude back which was my main concern.


Mon Feb 04, 03:40:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


She would haunt me. I just have to be firm.

And great suggestion on the second!


Mon Feb 04, 03:42:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Grannymar said...

I used to have a friend who was a combination of the two you mention above. She was as thick skinned as a rhino and ignored subtle hints. She would come out with nuggets like "we only have X months to the wedding", I playing along would ask if she was getting married again. She was of course talking about Elly's nuptials. One Monday morning she phoned to know if I was ready to go shopping. Since we had no plans made I asked "why"? Her idea was that she would tag along while I chose my outfit for said wedding. So calmly I told her that I had other plans for the day and when I was ready to shop for my MoB outfit I wanted to go with Elly. I also reminded her for the umpteenth time that it would be a family wedding and I would be the only person travelling from Northern Ireland. I have not seen her since.

Mon Feb 04, 04:12:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Friko said...

Hey pushover. I am disappointed in you. You said no but your ‘friends’ were the ill-mannered ones not taking no for an answer.

Nothing to do but remind the one of the DVDs and forget about the other. Don’t tell fibs, just say it really isn’t on for you to take a stranger into your friend’s house to stay. Basta! Blame your friend for being inhospitable if you really need and excuse.

Mon Feb 04, 04:37:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Enna Paled said...

We irish need to stop saying -
"Ah no that's grand"
and start saying -
"Please don't take this the wrong way but..."
Very very hard!

Mon Feb 04, 06:58:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Ah the ones with their own agenda, I think I've pruned those out. Now to get working on the rest!!


Mon Feb 04, 07:58:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Two good moves, thank you!


Mon Feb 04, 07:59:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Yes, the historic traits of our tribe need to be cast aside and new language installed.

Welcome and thanks!!


Mon Feb 04, 08:00:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Hattie said...

You need better friends. There must be some people around who don't feel free to walk all over you. I don't think you said anything wrong to the person who thought it was OK to take your things like that. What a clod.
As far as the other person goes, you are not going to change your plans because of what she/he wants, are you? That is letting someone else control your life.
I would have no trouble saying that since I was borrowing someone else's house I could not let her stay with me because it would be discourteous and that furthermore I did not want to push it with said Toronto friend by asking if she could stay there.
I've known a few incredibly rude people of the kind you describe here, and I can't abide them.

Mon Feb 04, 10:05:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Rummuser said...

I know where you are coming from. I think that this happens to all of us at some time or the other, unless we are the totally rude types.

Try imagining me instead of the other person and be rude. I would not mind.

On the other hand, I think that you can use a different set of friends! Particularly friends without other friends who tag along and borrow discs.

Mon Feb 04, 10:20:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger ViewPoint2010 said...

We share a common malady. Something that helped me a great deal when I was working with a group of people at MUN who were completely convinced of their own deification was a book entitled "The Power of The Positive No" by William Ury. One brief note from the description: "Never has No been more needed." ( Bonne chance and happy travels. Just tell your friend who wants to travel "won't work this time but thanks for the offer. She might get the message". Be well y'all! vp

Mon Feb 04, 10:44:00 PM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Very good advice. I am so taken aback by others' rudeness that I am short of words. I need to practice a very firm no. And I did today. And I was so proud of myself.

I was being inveigled into more *free* work and I said no, very loud, clear and the other person was completely shocked.

I am still invigorated :)


Tue Feb 05, 12:57:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

I could never be rude to you, my friend. I even give you my "Mugs". LOL.

I am getting better though, see comment to Hattie.


Tue Feb 05, 12:59:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Thanks for the recommendation. I would never take anything from your shelves. This lack of boundaries continues to astonish me here.

But I said NO, loud and firm today much to the shock of the favour-asking person and I am still high as a kite.

I will check out the book you recommended and thank you.


Tue Feb 05, 01:01:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Jo said...

Well done on the saying "No" - it takes a lot of practice (I know I'm still no good at it!)

With the person who "borrowed" the DVDs - first thing, you need to go to "A" and ask for them back (if you don't want an outright confrontation, then ask her how she is enjoying them, and that you really would like to watch them again yourself, as her borrowing them reminded you how much you loved the films), and if you get nowhere, then go to the friend who vouched for "A", and tell her that you are calling in that vouchsafe - she has given the guarantee, therefore needs to honour it or replace the items!

If you are faced with this situation again, you can say something along the lines of "I'm sorry, but this book / DVD has huge sentimental value, and I'm unable to lend it to anyone. However, there is an excellent library just down the road (or however far) who will be happy to lend you the item."

For F, you could say "Sorry, but the house is too small for additional guests. However, if you do want to come to Toronto, I can point you in the direction of some excellent hotels / guesthouses that aren't too far away."

By providing reasonable alternatives, you take the "sting" out of saying no.

Wed Feb 06, 05:19:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frame things differently, shift your persepective...this is your friend's house NOT yours so you really have no right to say yes to Miss Pushy, say:"sorry if it was my house maybe but I cannot as this is my friends". Which is true you really do have no right. Regarding the videos put them in a place not in view, maybe under a bed or some such and you won't have to worry about it...but hey WWW come on honey what are you 60 something? time to get some cohones honey a person unable to say NO never really ever fully says YES they are flip sides of the same coin...think about that and you will find that it is true. You must be able to freely say NO to really embrace the loveliness of Yes, go for it hon', one little word when you know you should say it frees the soul... :D

Thu Feb 07, 01:51:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love saying NO want to know why? because NO is an enabling word, it enables me to do what I want when I want. It also helps to enable others to understand bounderies as many need to learn this finer lesson in life and I find that saying no helps these people to start to understand that. See as I said above (although I did spell it incorrectly sorry) just shift that perspective and the NO that you put out there actually helps the other as well as yourself, are you going to be selfish and not try to help these people just cuz they're pushy??? Awww come on that's not nice and if you are a people pleaser then please them by helping them to understand the way you used to know how to say NO as every 2 year old goes through that phase so you just have to go there again :P LOL by the way I believe the universe will keep sending you these people until you learn to deal with them by saying no (remember you are helping them)and once you learn to say no they will disappear from your life, take notice I promise that will happen!

Thu Feb 07, 02:09:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last thing and it is this: "to allow the abuser to abuse is to abuse the abuser" DON'T BE AN ABUSER LEARN TO SAY NO!!!! LOL Okay sorry now I really am done. Bye for now. LOL :D

Thu Feb 07, 02:12:00 AM GMT-3:30  
Blogger Stubblejumpin Gal said...

I guess this means I won't be inviting myself to visit you any time soon! Hee!

I'll just have to dream ...

Sat Feb 16, 08:45:00 PM GMT-3:30  

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