Monday, April 28, 2014

Asking Questions vs. Asking For A Favor: How To Tell What's What

In  a recent mental argument I had with someone else (you know the kind -- where someone says something annoying/stupid/horrible in passing, you hear it and then you argue with them in your head for the rest of the day, even though you don't know them and will never have an opportunity to tell them what you think), I noticed that a lot of people think they are asking questions when they are really asking favors of people.
"So, SchweetieWumpkins, will you be joining me tomorrow for the fundraiser for Hard Shell Lobster Rights? We're running the bake sale."

"Um, no."

"BUT SHWEETIEWUMPKINS -- I want you there with meeeeeee!  I really thought you'd do it! "


"Seriously?  I asked you very nicely!  You're such a jerk!  Why won't you do it?"

"Because I don't f$(#ing want to! Leave me alone!"

--end scene--

In my head, I was scowling and muttering, "If you ask someone, you have to be able to gracefully accept that they might say no.  When someone is asked IF THEY WANT to do something, they are perfectly within their rights to say no.  No defense of their answer is needed. "

If, on the other hand, you really NEED the other person to do something for you, and you know you are not really giving them much of a choice in the matter, that is called 'asking for a favor,' and that goes something like this:

"Ok, SchweetieWumpkins, I have a favor to ask of you.  I'm doing this fund-raiser thingy tomorrow. I need somebody to cover the bake sale booth for a couple hours.  I know you probably wouldn't do this if I weren't begging, but Marge got sick, and she was going to cover noon to 2, and ... well, I need help.  What do you say? Could you do it?"

"Well, yeah.  I guess so."
 [OR:  "Shoot. No, I can't. I wish I could help you out, but maybe next time?"]

"Ok, thanks!"
[OR: "Ok, thanks anyway."]

---end scene----

I keep telling my kids that if you are truly asking someone a question, you simply MUST be prepared that the answer might not be what you want.
If you really need a certain outcome (like with a child who needs to get dressed), you tell them "You need to get dressed now."  Then you give them choices you can be happy with.  "Do you want to wear the blue dress or the t-shirt and jeans here?"
Acting like they have a choice when they don't is dishonest. *

What say you?

*Yoinked almost directly from Love and Logic TM.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

On A "Mom's Day Off" -- Pent-Up Thoughts

Be prepared for rapid changes of subject.

Juno the Pup

  • We have a puppy, in addition to our two older dogs.  Not my idea, but she's cute and relatively smart and well-behaved.  THANKFULLY.  

HOLY CRAP.  I really, really hope not.
  • I have been having piles and piles of anxiety dreams in the last several months, some of which combine my areas of typical anxiety dreams.  They include the usual: giving a performance wherein I realize I have forgotten how to play the flute OR my flute falls apart OR some other iteration of this problem.  Or I have lost one of my kids or they have been hurt or kidnapped.  Or my house is on fire.  OR every time I try to speak to someone, my voice diminishes, I lose my voice entirely, or they can't understand me.

  • I've been having sudden deep flashes of insight into life situations.  It's peculiar to abruptly see the best path to take, or to experience forgiveness, or to feel peace with a decision.  I keep thinking, "Really?  That's it? No angsty navel-gazing? Huh."
File:Silver ribbon.png

  • Recently, a client of mine asked me if I was just naturally so cheerful, or if I had to work for it.  I said that I think I'm just a "see beauty if at all possible" kind of person, and if you keep your eyes open, it's everywhere.  However, later in the morning, we discussed methods of combating clinical depression (medication, homeopathic stuff, exercise, meditation, therapy, etc.) and she said, "But you said you were naturally cheerful! How can you be both cheerful and depressed?" I had to explain (with some difficulty) that depression (when untreated, anyway, in my case) is like the ground level.  If it's mushy and gross, it can and probably will affect the pond that's on it, but it's still possible to float on top sometimes. Sometimes there are waves, sometimes it's so nasty that the water gets sucked down into it and you're just lying there in the mud, and sometimes it firms up and the water is nice and calm. But they're definitely not the same quality of thing.  One is surface and one is structure. One can also be sad, but be stable underneath.  It goes both ways. I think she was surprised by how readily I admitted to my depression, and how honest and unembarrassed I am.  I look at it like my thyroid deficiency.  It's chemical, and mostly treatable, and it sometimes affects lots of stuff, but mostly it's just there, part of my makeup. It's not something I did or that anybody gave me or did to me. And I don't hide my thyroid thing (although I rarely discuss it because it's pretty boring), but if there's somebody suffering with the kind of stuff I did before I got treated, I'll share my experience and suggest they talk to their doctor, because feeling bad/exhausted/gross when you have some thing totally treatable is a ridiculous waste of time.

  • People who pick on one stupid detail that is completely off-topic and use it as an excuse to push their own agenda:  annoying, but suddenly, much easier to just mentally dismiss these days.  Like one person talking about beautiful art from long ago, and how lovely the painters made the skin tones. Then another person reflects that "all the subjects in those paintings are morbidly obese!  And we shouldn't say/do/profess anything that promotes such unhealthy images!"  Oh, fer Pete's sake.  Can you not get past it for ten seconds and actually see the beauty of the colors? The sheen of well-executed light? Move on, Judgy McBoringson. 
  • Holy crap.  My feet are like hooves.  I need to get a manicure, or maybe just an industrial-strength sander.