Monday, November 19, 2007

Willing Donkey

A donkey wakes up and decides to take some me time and walk to look at the mountain view. On her way out, her life donkey partner asks “Would you mind taking these carrots to my Cousin Angela who lives mid-mountain?” “Yes, of course” says Donkey and off she meanders.

A short time later she bumps into her old stable-mate, Sheep, grazing on the winding path. “Hey Donkey will you take this bag of wool over to the west field” she said “it’s a little out of your way but you don’t mind, do you?” “Yes, that’s fine” Donkey replies and she continues on her day trip.

Whilst pausing for a sneaky carrot, Mr Farmer catches up. “I know it’s your day off but I’ll pay you to take these potatoes to the east field”. “Yes, no problem, see you tomorrow” and Donkey continues.

A few tiring hours later and heavily laden, her niece Donklette comes bounding over. “Aunt Donkey, will you take this small yellow twig to the top of the mountain?” Donkey realised she could not climb any higher, this was the final straw! With shoulders slumped and tail dragging Donkey turned and sadly stumbled down the hill.

Are you a willing donkey that cannot say no? I am a ‘Social Yesser’ I try to keep others happy by saying yes to every social invitation. Inevitably I let everyone down because unknowingly I have arranged to go to the theatre, a friend’s birthday and am meant to be spending the same evening in Venice.

Common sense and a diary will help me but what happens if you are the ‘Oklahoma Yesser’? Those who prefer to say yes to all significant other requests than to deal with the guilt they feel by saying no. When asked by her fella to help paint a bar he was refurbishing, Annie is a girl who just can’t say no. She was poorly, tired and had completed a long day’s work; however Annie cancelled her arrangement with her sister and the sofa and obediently went. On arrival she painted the men’s urinals until four o’clock in the morning before starting her day job.

It is better to be a ‘Yesser’ than the ‘Serial Noah’ who declines all invitations, is unhelpful, unreliable and ultimately stops being liked. But there must be a middle ground and after much deliberation I have an uneducated suggestion. Choose six or seven life priorities; for example family, friends, job/money, partners, health, fun, home. If by saying yes negatively impacts 3 or more of your priorities then maybe that’s the time to say no!

Annie could have saved herself a hideous evening painting the toilets if when asked she totalled up her priorities. By helping her partner the impact on her health, fun, home, family, and work outweighed any guilt. But that’s easier said than done, how could she actually say no? There are several refusal techniques; The Positive – “Hey honey, I'd love to but I’m exhausted and won’t be any use.” The Unhelpful - “How can you even ask, you should have organised help in advance” and finally my favourite; The Emotional Refusal, “Sod off, I’m not a donkey!”


yorkie said...

Those Brear Rabbit stories obviously had a profound affect on you didn't they?

Good advice, you are going to end up as the net agony aunt

love it x

Female therapy said...

Hi Yorkie,
Oh yes, Brer Rabbit is a legend, the 'Tar Baby' tale is my all time favourite. Net agony aunt?? I have to think twice before taking my own advice! I'm glad you're liking it x

Penny Pitstop said...

FT: Thanks..reading it in black and white makes so much sense. I need to put it to the practical test now! Will keep you posted.

Female therapy said...

Hi Penny,
I just muttered to a work colleague 'Sod off I'm not a donkey!' thankfully he thought I was insane and he had misheard me. I must remember to use the positive refusal technique in future x

Annie said...

It’s so hard to say no, so I cleverly thought I would make a compromise. I agreed to help my boyfriend with the evening work on a Friday night as I could have a lie in on Saturday. Plan has backfired as I found myself being coerced into working on Saturday night too (as I don't have to go into the office on a Sunday either). FT, your mate Annie is truly the donkey!

Annie said...

PS: I forgot to add the fact that he has not been working all week and I have been chained to my desk/laptop in the office all week. I seriously think he is waiting for me and booking the work around me. This means he gets a chauffeur as well as a helper!!

Female therapy said...

You are my friend and I love you, but I am buying you a ‘SOD OFF, I AM NOT A DONKEY!’ t-shirt for Christmas.

I will also buy myself and my house mate one. We were talking about this last night. His motto is anything for a quiet life and you know what mine is... you have it stencilled on your t-shirt. Thank you for letting me use your experience and thanks for the update

housemate said...

Anything for a quiet life... Why the hell am I living with you?!!!

Female therapy said...

Thank you housemate, that is the first time I have laughed all day! I am having a mare - I've been an even bigger donkey! I have willingly said yes, but I can not deliver the work on time. Anyone good at internet design cause I'm rubbish at it?

Now get back in the kitchen and make me some dinner :) x

housemate said...

Hello everyone,

Just to let you all know that I did cook the dinner AND she MADE me go out and buy her Haagen Dazs while she sat on the sofa in her pyjamas. Yes, I AM A DONKEY!!! :-)

Female therapy said...

I wish I could say that wasn't true but it is! I'll cook tomorrow I promise and I haven't touched the ice-cream..... honest!

Annie said...

Hello FT,Guess how Annie is spending her Friday night ? lol

Female therapy said...

Hi Annie,
I hope you are lounging in front of the TV watching mindless TV or sitting in a restaurant eating great food with your fella and friends....However, I suspect you will be waiting outside for the restaurant/bar to close before painting the ladies toilets? I think you should see Jay's comments on 'who let the dogs out' on practicing the art of saying no. Hope tonight is not too painful x