We realise we’re getting older when things that were supposed to be simple turn out to be extremely difficult instead. Take something like meeting friends for a coffee or a meal: when I was younger, it was a simple matter of picking up the phone, call one friend or another (or, a whole group of friends), decide time and place and voilà, the date was set in the blink of an eye. And those were the years when we barely had any money to scrape the bottom of the bag.
Now that we are ‘older and wiser’, meeting a friend is a mission akin to planning the Normandy Landing. The turn-downs are many and varied…
“Sorry, I can’t. The dog can’t stay home alone.”
“I don’t have the car today.”
“Wednesday? Oh gosh, sorry… I go to yoga. Thursday? Still can’t, I have book club at my place. What about Friday, you ask? Let me check… no, I go to wine tasting. And that’s in the day, as in the evening I go play bridge with my mother. Listen, let’s do it this way: I keep you in mind and will contact you in a few months when I might have more free time.”
“I’d love to, but I’m already set for bedtime.”
“I’d love to, but I have a massive migraine.”
“Today? Goodness, there’s my son’s rugby game at school. Maybe some other time.”
“Sorry, I really can’t. The new episode of Game of Thrones is out, and I can’t miss it.”
The very same people are the ones who will say, “Geez, I never hear from you! Don’t be a stranger, keep in touch.”
Definitely, we seem to be getting increasingly more cocooned into our shells. And, fair to be fair, at times I do that myself – much to my dismay in realising that I fall in the same trap.
Oftentimes, the justifications are merely a convoluted way to avoid saying a plain ‘no’. But there’s nothing wrong with it; as harsh as it may sound to others it’s more honest than finding sound excuses or, worse, unwillingly agreeing to something in order to avoid offending the interlocutor.
Below there’s an interesting article about the power of ‘no’ that you might like to read. Or not.
Cheers, and keep being fantastic!