Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Inability to say 'no' isn't just about dining

RECOMMENDED READING


Q: We Americans are used to large restaurant portions. Often when dining out with friends, someone suggests an entree she wants to split, and since I suspect my friends all know I'd rather die than offend, I'm often feeling pressured to agree — even though I'd prefer my own choice. This also denies me the pleasure of a doggie bag to take home for another meal.

I finally stopped dining out with one friend as she would sulk through the meal because I didn't want to share her perpetual plate of greasy nachos! How do I politely handle these bullying requests without hurting the friendship?

Dining Out

A: Wait a minute. You don't like saying no, therefore their requests are "bullying"?

That's a nifty sleight of hand, shifting the blame onto them for positions you chose to take.

The friend who pouts over nachos, OK — she has some issues. But normal people who, like you, can't finish a normal restaurant portion are behaving well within the range of normal when they suggest sharing an entree.

That's because there's absolutely nothing abnormal, mean, wrong or impolite about just saying no. Look at where this path has brought you: You don't like saying no, so you feel pressured when asked, so you blame your friends for asking, so you start seeing them as bullies instead of friends. How is that polite — or kind or generous — to them?

Or, I should say, how is that in any way nicer to them than just admitting you want your own food?

It's not (just) about tomorrow's lunch, it's about learning to advocate for yourself.

An ability to stand up for yourself is the skill you'll want most when your life hits a serious snag, as all lives tend to do. So put in the work to develop it now, while the living is relatively easy and nacho etiquette is the thorniest issue you've got. Do this work as a profound kindness to yourself. Enlist a good therapist if there's a deeper foundation to your fear of giving offense.

Comments
Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, you can stop grumbling about it being too early for Christmas lights and decorations. Let the grand illuminations begin! Despite our tropical climate, or maybe because of it, Tampa Bay goes all out when ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekendShoppingBlack Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’l...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Sister’s partner is a textbook abuser

Sister’s partner is a textbook abuserQ: My sister stays home with her two small children (2 and 1) while her partner works. Recently, during a fight, he took all of their money and left. He has since returned and they have patched things up for now. ...
Published: 11/21/17
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Couple considers living on one income

Couple considers living on one incomeQ: My husband and I, both unhappy in our jobs, have determined that with some strategic penny-pinching, we can live on one salary for a while. The question now is, whose salary?The argument for my husband quitting...
Published: 11/20/17

Tell Me About It: Consistently treat twins as individuals

Consistently treat twins as individualsQ: We have 11-year-old identical twin boys who are wonderful and very different little guys. They both do well in school and their other activities, but "Dylan" is pulling ahead a bit, particularly in sports. We...
Published: 11/19/17
With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

ORLANDO — Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando in a new holiday attraction opening Saturday. In addition, Universal Studios has completely upsized its holiday parade with more Macy’s balloons, stunning floats and snowy effects ...
Published: 11/17/17
First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando, with the promise of warm butterbeer, a Frog Choir singing carols and a magical light show projected onto Hogwarts Castle nightly followed by fireworks. It opens to the public on Saturday. C...
Published: 11/17/17

Tell Me About It: Mom’s stroke threatens plans for children

Mom’s stroke threatens plans for childrenQ: Recently you gave advice about how it’s "never the perfect time to have a baby," and that’s true, but does the calculation change any if you’re planning to be a single mom?I’m 36 and a year ago I broke up w...
Published: 11/17/17

Tell Me About It: Wife uses silent treatment to be cruel

Wife uses silent treatment to be cruelQ: My wife is a wonderfully sensible person and appropriately sensitive. She is the oldest of three sisters and often feels left out. The age and geographical distance make it understandable that her two sisters ...
Published: 11/16/17