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How To Say No to Others, Better!

Last weeks post seemed to have hit a nerve.
Most of you seem to have opened it rather quickly.
And then a few of you, complained! Rather quickly.

“All this is well and good, but I want to say No, to other people!

Well, I can help you with that too!
Eric Barker, of Barking Up the Wrong Tree fame, has an excellent post on how to do just that!

This is how we do it.

1. Notice the no’s: Saying no rarely leads to vendettas or blood feuds. It’s more common and less risky than you think.
People say no to requests all the time and suffer no ill consequences. The sea doesn’t turn to blood and frogs don’t fall from the sky. The requester just shrugs and says, “Okay.”
But you forget those all too easily and train your attention on the 0.02% of the time when the other person blew up and stormed away, never to speak to you again.
So watch your interactions and the interactions of others more closely. Notice all the times “no” doesn’t cause any problems and try to develop a more realistic perspective.


2. Buy time: I’m not sure I can summarize this one right now. I’ll get back to you later.
When you feel pressured for a yes, don’t give the yes — relieve the pressure. Ask for time. This will allow you to calm down and properly evaluate whether you really want to agree or not.
Memorize two of these phrases and make them your default response to any request:

  • “I need to check my calendar; I’ll get back to you.”
  • “Let me check with my husband/wife/partner to see if we’re free that day.”
  • “I’ve got to think about that; I’ll let you know.”
  • “I’ll have to call you back in a few minutes.”

Don’t turn them into questions. They’re statements. And use a pleasant but assertive tone.


3. Have a “policy”: Sorry, but it’s my policy to never summarize the third point.
… suppose a friend asks for a loan you don’t want to extend. Utter the phrase “Sorry, I have a policy about not lending money,” and your refusal immediately sounds less personal. In all kinds of situations, invoking a policy adds weight and seriousness when you need to say no. It implies that you’ve given the matter considerable thought on a previous occasion and learned from experience that what the person is requesting is unwise. It can also convey that you’ve got a prior commitment you can’t break. When you turn down an invitation by saying, “Sorry, I can’t come—it’s our policy to have dinner together as a family every Friday night,” it lets the other person know that your family ritual is carved in stone.


4. Be a “broken record”: I can’t summarize this. I can’t summarize this. I can’t summarize this.
How do you deal with people who don’t take no for an answer?
First thing to do is say you can’t help them.
The second through seven-hundredth thing to do is repeat the first thing.


5. Use a “relational account”: If I summarized this for you I wouldn’t have time to summarize for others.
Your response should take the structure of: “If I helped you, I’d be letting others down.”


6. Make a counteroffer: I can’t summarize this but I can link you to another blog that will.
What if you don’t want to give a flat no? You want to help but can’t commit to the specifics of what they’re asking for. Here’s what to do …
They want you to donate $487,000. Um, no way. But I can give you $10 …
“I’m not qualified to do what you’re asking, but here’s something else.”
“This isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I know someone who might be helpful.”
You can make a counteroffer to almost any request by offering someone a different resource or the name of someone else who might help.

Like my summary of Eric’s summary?
You should go read his post. It has the why, and the how and tons of examples and references!

P.S. And if you’re reading this on my blog, you should subscribe to the newsletter!


go-bonkers-do-the-work

— via Neil Gaiman

o0moxxie0o asked: Hi I just finished outlining a novel and now I'm worried it's bonkers. Did you ever worry that something you wrote was too much, or just have second thoughts about what you're planning? I'm going crazy over this thing.

I assume that unless it’s bonkers I’m not doing the work.


Study, Day 7

Was on a roll.
Went and finished the whole geography textbook.
My brains are smoking now.

Next step, spaced repetition exercises of all the chapters for two months.

MITx, 6.00.1x, Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python

Did quite a bit of the course’s exercises. I realise now that I should have just downloaded the course from the Open Courseware site and worked on it at my own pace.
The MOOC is excellent, but not for me.
I keep missing all sorts of deadlines.
My life and the MOOC sadly do not get along.

Or maybe, I just do the MOOCs at my pace, knowing that there will be things I will miss, but as long as I get the learning (and I do the practice), I should be fine.

Did up to Week 4 of exercises.
Will tackle the rest next week.


French, Week 12

This was a boring week.
But I kept at it.
If I think, I have made progress, all I need to do is listen to a podcast.
And then I understand how far I still have to go.

Still at the stage where I am adding words to my basic vocabulary and doing review.
But there is steady, incremental progrgess.

Testing Nikola Native Code Highlighting

def foo(x, a): 
    """ 
    x: a positive integer argument 
    a: a positive integer argument returns an integer 
    """ 
    count = 0 
    while x >= a: 
        count += 1 
        x = x - a 
    return count


Well, there isn’t any for Lanyon, at least.
Will have to figure this out later.

Update: Chris Warrick graciously pointed out to me (in the Nikola IRC channel) that Nikola does indeed, support code highlighting via Pygments and that I just had to specify what program I was using along with my code backticks.

Like so, “ ```python ”

And here’s a shell script

#!/bin/sh # This is a comment! 
echo Hello World # This is a comment, too!

RIP, Rutger Hauer


I've, seen things, you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire, off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams, glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those, moments, will be lost, in time, like, tears, in rain.
Time, to die.

Blade Runner was the first movie I saw, that had a morally ambigous ‘hero’.
And the villain is not bad?
And he saves the hero?
This was the first movie that made me look at the world in shades of grey, in shades of acceptance.

And all that, because of the pitch perfect Roy Batty, speech.
Like Robert Caro writes,

There are sentences that are said to you in your life that are chiseled into your memory.

Tears in rain was the earliest of those for me.
Rest in peace, Rutger Hauer.
And thank you, for changing my life.