When you have to say no.

Today, I made a difficult decision. Well, I actually made the decision last night but had to communicate it today. That’s always the tougher part, telling someone, “No, that’s not going to work and here’s why.”

It’s tough because so often “no” is seen as a rejection of the individual versus a rejection of the idea/request. And “rejection” is a weighty word. If it were an animal, rejection would be a porcupine, quills shooting out with enough force to puncture hearts, eyes, lungs. The victim is left immobilized and deeply pained, on the verge of something terrible. In reality, porcupine’s quills apparently don’t shoot out, but that’s neither here nor there.

Saying “No” is also tough because we’re sure the hearer will have a comeback, a rebuttal–they’ll fight until we feel stupid and they win (or something equally melodramatic.)

I literally talked myself into making the phone call, and from start to finish I kept on wondering if I was making the right decision. Perhaps I hadn’t explored all angles. Perhaps I was unnecessarily giving in to my idealism. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…all because of the possibility that the person would end up in an emotional ICU.

Her reply? “I understand.”

The mind is a terrible thing to waste on melodramatic worry.




2 Replies to “When you have to say no.”

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