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!”