I don’t normally have visitors. Every time I hear the doorbell, I usually feel a bit unnerving about what’s going to happen. Now with the government public health orders in place during the coronavirus outbreak, I have every reason not to welcome any unannounced visitors.
Around two weeks ago someone knocked on my door. Feeling slightly annoyed, I yelled: Who is this? What do you want? Reluctantly, I opened the door. It was the guy – the new neighbour from upstairs standing there.
As he came a little too close to me, I asked him to step back a bit (you know social distancing). He sort of did. A few seconds later his girl friend and a telecom technician also joined him. They explained to me that they had trouble getting broadband access network connected to their unit. As a matter of courtesy, they asked me if OK they could come in and check the cabling on my side.
That really put me on the spot. Their request had nothing to do with me. A. I don’t use that type of broadband (nbn). B. According to the government enforcement information, no household should have visitors during the pandemic. So, as much as I wanted to help, I said No. But for the following 2 minutes, I started to justify myself. Typical me! A people-pleaser. Luckily, He got the point, apologized then left.
After that, I started to rewind the tape in my head and tried to analyse everything. For a minute or two, I was beating myself up. Fortunately, as soon as I caught myself doing that, I quickly stopped the negative self-talk before it had a chance to spiral out of control.
Perhaps because I’m now older and wiser. I’ve come to realize:
When we say No to one thing, we’re in fact saying Yes to another thing. It’s fair to say that we all say Yes and No at the same time. So, go ahead and say No. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate.
A week later, I ran into the guy (I still don’t know what his name is) in the garage while washing my car. To ease the awkwardness, I casually asked him if he’d got their internet connection sorted. He said Yes. Actually, he’s changed the service provider to the same one as mine. A short and sweet response!
What can I say? Saying No is hard and uncomfortable but when we say it with conviction, more often than not, we’re in fact doing ourselves and others a big favour. Knowing saying No is still helping people in some way, I’ve built enough confidence to say No in no time…