Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

If you have trouble saying no, do you get angry when others say no to you?

Asked by JLeslie (47993 points ) December 7th, 2012

This is a piggy back to @Shippy’s recent Q which asked if you have trouble saying no.

What I wondered was if the people who say yes to everything, even things they dread doing, when someone says no to one of their requests do they get all bent out of shape?

Maybe it is a tit for tat mindset, if I am going to sacrifice myself you better too?

Or, another explanation could be a general sense of obligation to certain expectations put on us by family, community, and society? An expectation you put equally on yourself and others?

Do you judge those who easily say no? Are you envious?

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32 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes…..lol I never ask anyone for anything, so if I ever do, then generally I do expect those close to me to say yes. Unreasonable, I’m sure.

I wouldn’t get upset though, I’d never ask them for anything again, and probably wouldn’t help them after that either, because we should be reciprical friends.

Heck, yeah, I judge others for saying no easily, especially at work. It’s like they’re always too busy to help you, but if you’re too busy then you’re a jerk.

Coloma's avatar

No. I can say “no” and accept being told “no.”
I am very wary of anyone that comes across as a do gooder because, in my experience they only “give” to prop up their own self image and with strings attached. I dropped a friend like this last year. Who the hell wants to be the recipient of a gift bearing puppet master?
This person was so self deluded about her hidden agendas, it was nauseating!

She was the poster child for the saying that ” Help is the sunny side of control.”

wundayatta's avatar

No. Quite the opposite. I expect people to say no to me. I’m totally prepared to deal with that. It’s really hard not to keep selling someone who has said yes to me.

One thing I love about the internet is that I can ask people for things, and don’t have to be told no to my face. I probably don’t ask for enough, because actually, most people say yes to me. Mostly I’d rather do things for myself than ask anyone else and risk being told no.

But at work, I have to ask for things and people do comply with me. It always amazes me.

In my personal life, I’ve often not asked for things because I didn’t want to be told no. I never asked anyone on a date. Well, maybe once or twice, but no more. I wouldn’t ask for sex. I assumed the woman wouldn’t want to. Not any form of sex.

It wasn’t until I was 50 and on Askville that I discovered there were women who liked sex. So that has increased my ability to ask for things, now that I know there are women who might enjoy it.

But pretty much I do expect people to say no to me, and if they do, that’s pretty much it. I always feel like they won’t ever say yes to me after that, even if I know, intellectually, they will.

That’s also why I try not to say no to people. I’m fairly sure that if I do, they’ll disappear from my life.

Shippy's avatar

The odd thing about me, that I cannot fathom is I don’t ask. And I expect nothing from people, but will bend over backwards for people. I am so confused at myself.

jordym84's avatar

I have trouble saying no, but have I absolutely no problem accepting it when someone says no to me. To be honest, I don’t hear “no” a whole lot because I hardly ever ask anyone for anything. I’m one of those people who will make use of all of my own resources and exhaust all my possibilities before I can even entertain the idea of asking others for help. My family and friends get mad at me because I never ask for help and they only find out that I needed help after the fact (if at all), and by then it’s usually too late for them to be able to lend a hand. It’s part pride, part not wanting to be a nuisance to others.

jordym84's avatar

@Shippy I’m the same exact way.

Shippy's avatar

@jordym84 maybe we will find out why and stop?

jordym84's avatar

@Shippy I sure hope so…

wundayatta's avatar

I think it is fundamental low self esteem. We will help others because that is a way of being useful and people may like us if they help us. But we will not ask because we don’t want to put people in a position of saying no, because we know if that happens enough, that means the relationship is over.

I know that if I am in a friendship, and someone says no, that’s pretty much it. I shouldn’t have asked them that time, and I will never ask again. And if you don’t have a possibility of asking, then there is no relationship. So that’s the end of things. The other person may not have meant to end things, but that’s what a no does.

I don’t know if that is bad or good. Maybe it should be possible to say no to friends and have things go on. But for a person like me, it isn’t really possible. I believe that no means no. Permanent no. It never surprises me, because I assume that’s how people will feel about me. I just take my leave and move on. My mistake for asking for anything in the first place.

Coloma's avatar

You guys might want to read up on the ISFJ personality types.
They are naturally wired to be giving and helpful and in their highest levels of health are truly the most selfless personalities on the planet. On the down side, and in my experiences with these types, when unhealthy, they are manipulative martyrs that are completely deluded as to just how self serving their “giving” is.
Being a very rational NT type, direct and honest with no bullshit or hidden agendas, that sort of interaction drives us away in a nano second.

My ex friend was a pathological type 2, completely irrational, completely deluded, always the “victim” and completely closed off to any self examination.
Made me want to blow my brains out. lol

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I have read that asking someone for a favor helps bond people. Something about cognitive dissonance. If the person does the favor they need to justify in their mind that person must matter to them if they do a favor for them. I am not saying a constant berrage of favors, just one maybe. I would not include sex in this type of example, just to clarify that one point. :)

ucme's avatar

No is a response to a request, not an order, so no I don’t.

jordym84's avatar

@Coloma I know someone who’s a lot like the ex-friend you’ve just described and she just so happens the person I’ve been practicing saying no to haha

I’m an INFJ type and I can honestly say that, when I help others, I have no hidden agenda and I do so genuinely. Being the oldest child, my parents instilled in me from a very young age that I was to always look out for my siblings, so I developed a maternal side early on and I guess that’s what comes into play when I help people.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta Yes something in there for me works. I can say no to friends because I don’t care if I lose them. Family wow, no. I am scared witless they don’t or wont love me. Or I will be labeled bad mother, bad sister, bad whatever. (by them). Just using examples. Saying no to friends is an easy as pie. Well not that easy but far far easier. And you are right, I lost a friend recently because I said no.

JLeslie's avatar

@Shippy If a friend says no to you do you lose the friendship?

wundayatta's avatar

The thing is, if no one would be interested in me because I’m me, then perhaps they would be willing to tolerate me because I do something for them? What is an advice site all about? People give each other free help. Why?

Out of the goodness of their hearts? Probably somewhat. But I’m sure people also want something else. Maybe friendship. Maybe people to talk to. I know that’s what I get out of it. A way to talk to people instead of being lonely all the time. And I certainly expect to pay for people to be willing to spend time with me. I would not expect that for nothing. No one would put up with me if I didn’t earn my keep and offer something in return.

jordym84's avatar

@wundayatta what you wrote above really resonated with me. I don’t think I’m that extreme, to the point of ending a friendship because someone said no, but if I ever ask someone for a favor (it could be the smallest, most insignificant thing) and they say no, you can be sure that I will never again ask them for anything. I don’t take it personally in the sense that I will get hurt or upset that they said no, but I will certainly avoid asking for anything else in the future for fear of making them uncomfortable for having to say no to me. I suppose I assume that, since it’s so hard for me to say no to people and I feel guilty when I do so, it must be the same for them, so I avoid doing it and putting them in an uncomfortable position. Oy vey, that’s a lot of food for thought.

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie I was going to say not at all no. And I think I did answer that question on my own thread as no. However, I did remember asking a friend to take me to the Doctors. Or asking is she could. She said she can’t. I’ve known her ten years and its the first time I asked her to do anything, I was quite desperate. I didn’t give up on the friendship. But I lost respect for the friendship. I think I might even have posted that question here at that time “What can we expect from Friends”. But other than that, that I can recall the answer is no. But I have an SO and if he doesn’t do what I ask him, I get mad as hell (Just realizing this now).

DigitalBlue's avatar

I used to be the type of person who could never tell anyone no. I’ve learned to not do that. I am still helpful by nature, and I do things for people because it makes me feel good to help. I know a few people who love to say no, they don’t want to help anyone with anything, and even that doesn’t bother me. I may roll my eyes when I ask something of them and they answer as I expect, but, whatever. Really though, whatever. I no longer feel guilty when I say no, and I don’t expect anyone else to feel guilty for saying no, either.

There are probably times where it gets to me. But I don’t think it is about a person saying “no,” I think that sometimes when you are a giving person, it’s easy for people to take you for granted or even take advantage of your kindness. Then I might be inclined to speak up, but I think that is less about “tit for tat” and more about not becoming a doormat.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been in both positions? I’m not sure.

wundayatta's avatar

To put it in a simple dichotomy, there are people who feel a perfect right to be here. They have no problem asking for things or telling other people no, when asked.

Then there are people who feel they are always on probation. They cannot say no to others, and would never ask anyone for help.

Those are the poles. Most people are somewhere in between. But depending on how you feel about yourself and your place in the world, you will behave quite differently.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t ask unless it is important and is something I feel is not unreasonable to ask. If I am then told no I feel disappointment rather than anger.

JLeslie's avatar

@Shippy One time? The friend had been there for you as a friend, and one favor she can’t do and the relationship is all changed?

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie I had asked her a few other things, like for example. She often asked me during one phase of our lives if I was going to the shop. (While I was at work.). Most times even if I wasn’t I would go for her. Once it was a real mission too as she wanted some sugar free, gluten free cereal. So it was way out of my way.

Other times I would be just parking, sometimes I would reverse out and get what she wanted. Other times, I would say I just got home.

A few times when I was in my depression, I would ask her via text if she was going to the shops that day. She would never answer. I started to realize the friendship was pretty much tipped in her favor.

When I said no to her regards an issue the other day, she became quite manipulative and vicious. With us ending up in a text fight. She said thing like you have let me down, you are not who I thought you were. Words to that effect. But to answer your question, yes it did change things for me. Because as I said, I realized she was mostly self serving.

JLeslie's avatar

@Shippy Oh, so it wasn’t just one thing, that was just the straw that broke the camels back. Seems she was not a great friend anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s interesting to me to know that other people have these feelings about relationships and the dangers of saying no. I feel like I am probably overreacting, perhaps as a result of my brain chemistry, but my feeling is that if we can’t trust each other to be there, really in all situations, then what is the point? I’ve been let down many times. I expect it. But I’m not going to be in an unequal situation. It may not be the best way to do it, but either we go all out for each other, or we do nothing. Saying no is like saying you don’t want to be in the relationship any more.

I see myself write this and it sounds over the top, but I don’t honestly know how it could work any other way.

JLeslie's avatar

I am reminded that last March a friend of ours asked me to pick up his wife at the Atlanta airport. My husband was racing, the track is just over an hour from the airport if traffic is moving, and Atlanta often has traffice snarls. The whole thing probably would have taken close to three hours, giving myself a little extra time to not be late, maybe circling or waiting a little at the airport and then returning back. I said no. When they asked they said up front, “it’s ok to say no.” I assume that was true. I wound up in a bad accident and would not have been able to do it anyway, but that’s neither here nor there, I had still said no. I would never ask someone to drive so far out of there way when they are there for the event themselves. I do pick people up at airports, take them to doctors appointments, etc, all the time, but this is an event that already is quite a bit of money out of pocket and my husband is on the track a limited amount of time. If they are spending $1500 on the total trip to begin with, just spend the $45 more and rent a car and don’t ask for such a big favor I think. It’s different when it is a situation that might need emotional support, or someone coming to visit me, etc. I don’t think they hold it against me by the way that I said no.

Does that sound harsh?

cookieman's avatar

The odd thing about me, that I cannot fathom is I don’t ask. And I expect nothing from people, but will bend over backwards for people. I am so confused at myself.

Me three.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@JLeslie it sounds reasonable to me that you said no in that situation, if that’s what you’re asking.

Unbroken's avatar

I am extremely uncomfortable asking for things like @Shippy and @jordy84. I also have a hard time receiving gifts.
But I totally get where @Coloma is coming from. People like she describes tend “get” things from giving. Whether it is moral fiscal or superiority/validation, martyr complex or some sort of passive aggressive thing like ownership buying frienship.
For me it’s I need to be strong, independant and self reliant and I do get some sort of chemical happiness out of giving. But I have to admit I have always or am always the best kind of the two.

I sometimes am afraid to test the friendship. So when I do ask I really do need the help. I usually am hurt if they say no but once I get out situation I get perspective and understand why.

I also recognize that receiving gifts makes me feel like there are strings attached in some cases there are. Or I just don’t want to be burdened with reciprocity esp on limited funds.

But I also realize that I do need people and usually small things are no big deal. So I am getting better, I think. They say half the battle is awareness, right?

Coloma's avatar

@rosehips I’m not afraid to ask, and I accept “no” well, but same thing for me. IF I ask, you better believe I’m really in need, as I don’t ask unless I am in some desperate situation like my car is in the shop for 3 days and I need a couple of cans of cat food or I’m uber sick and can’t function.
After my experience with my ex “friend” I am much more afraid of accepting “favors” and then finding out there is a hidden payback agenda. Sad really, but, once bitten, twice shy.

Bellatrix's avatar

In response to Shippy’s question I said ‘yes and no’. I can say no but sometimes, fairly rarely these days, I do find myself feeling pressured to say yes. I never feel angry or offended if people say no to me. That’s their right. I’m okay with it.

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