kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
[personal profile] kaberett
Content notes: consent-adjacent discussion (in a general context).

One of the things I do that seems to come as a surprise to most people is thank them for saying no to me.

From in here it seems fairly obvious -- I want to be sure that when people say yes to me, they mean it; that means I want to do as much as possible to make people feel comfortable saying no; and that in turn means, in contexts where I'm dealing with an individual rather than an institution and the balance of power isn't overwhelmingly stacked against me, providing positive reinforcement for saying no to me. Especially if it's emotional or perceived-high-stakes or similar: saying no can be hard and I want to encourage it, so I... make a point of explicitly saying "thank you for saying no". I might also need to say "okay, I'm going to need to do some processing but that is not your problem and I am grateful to you", but... just saying thank you, and leaving it there, works out pretty well for me pretty consistently.

I'm putting this here because people do seem by and large surprised that it's a conversational and interpersonal habit I've cultivated, and because I can't actually remember at this point quite how I acquired it, but -- well. I end up significantly more comfortable interacting with people and reminding myself in the moment of all the reasons people saying no to me can be an actively good thing. It's not universal, obviously, but maybe it can be helpful outside my head, too.

(Relatedly: if I'm asking for something that's potentially going to be difficult for whoever I'm asking it of, the above tends to work really well in conjunction with "I'm assuming the answer's no, and that's absolutely fine! But if you have time/energy/cope e.g. to discuss X at some point, I'd be grateful if you let me know" + topic change. Specifically, establishing that I consistently want people to say no to me if that's how they're feeling seems to make the "I'm assuming the answer's no and that's fine" feel more reliable and solid and trustworthy. So that's also useful.)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 09:31 pm (UTC)
jedusor: (neuron art)
From: [personal profile] jedusor
If I misgender someone and they let me know, I always say thank you. It's also a handy tip to bring up if someone misgenders me and then gets all worked up about apologizing, because apologies sort of demand reassurance while "thank you" is more of a final sentiment that doesn't carry such an expectation of emotional labor.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] alexwlchan
I can’t remember if I’ve ever been surprised by this (or if you’ve ever said it to me!), but it totally fits with my mental model of you.

So, hoping that more detail is helpful and/or validating:

Hanging around with you – and our shared friends, who are generally queer and/or poly and/or friendly to the above – has instilled a strong sense that boundaries are a thing one can explicitly consider, communicate, and enforce. That seems obvious now, but it’s not a lesson I ever learnt in school. My first serious relationship didn’t really have any boundaries from either side, and is part of the reason it fell apart in an ugly way. It’s something I had to learn as an adult.

Now I’m in that mindset, I see somebody asserting their boundaries as an explicit action on their part. It’s not something that just happens, it’s something they have to do. And it’s an action you’d want to encourage, so thanking somebody is a natural form of positive reinforcement! (I’ve also reached for congratulations and/or a tiny cookie, depending on the circumstances.) So if I said “no” to you and you thanked me, that fits with what I think is a common/similar world view around boundaries?

I’d be more surprised if I heard that from somebody where I didn’t know we had that common understanding.

(I am occasionally confused when you thank me for something and it’s not immediately obvious what I’ve done, but saying “no” is not one of those times.)

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 09:47 pm (UTC)
sylvaine: Dark-haired person with black eyes & white pupils. (Default)
From: [personal profile] sylvaine
This is a most excellent thing, yes. I keep meaning to start it up but also I am struggling with just not immediately, irrationally getting offended even though I want people to say no to me if they need/want to! Baby steps.

May I link to this?

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 10:03 pm (UTC)
hydrangea: (gw)
From: [personal profile] hydrangea
Oh! I do this too! For the same reason! I am surprised!

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
This makes good sense to me.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 10:59 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I also do this. And I appreciate it when I hear it.

...

..,

...

CW: On a tangentially related topic, bad relationship strategies and emotional mess.

I have a certain amount of twitchiness about saying ‘thank you for saying ‘no’’ in specific contexts to do with shared living space. I have now figured out that stomping on what I actually want in order to force myself be okay with a ‘no’ on a certain topic is not actually a great life strategy, or a good flavor combo with being grateful for hearing a clear and accurate ‘no’; and that part of the problem I was having with that was framing things badly, in a way that made me meeting my own needs for structure and consistency dependent on someone else’s approval or participation. In other words I was probably a bad roommate because I would ask for someone to, say, do the dishes but not really be prepared for what I would do if someone said ‘no I dunwanna,’ so (a) I coulda shoulda framed that differently (b) I need to remember there is no amount of better framing that can make something work if other people won’t or can’t do some part of making it work. Now I have to see what I am going to do next with that information. ?

...

Outside that context, however, I really do appreciate hearing ‘no,’ and I do do the thing of thanking people for it. Clear and accurate communication! Boundaries! Yay!

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 04:53 pm (UTC)
sebenikela: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sebenikela
yeah, it's tricky to find the balance between "other people enforcing their own boundaries is a good thing" and "I am allowed to need things from people" and NOT fall into "my job is to be as helpful and/or invisible as possible"

or like... sometimes a "no" is the end of a conversation and that's good! but sometimes (especially in things like shared living spaces and the like) it shouldn't be?
e.g.
"I can't do the dishes right now, could you do it?"
"no"
"okay, can we leave them until tomorrow morning then?"
[conversation continues]
or
"If I cook food, would you do the dishes after?"
"no"
"okay, i don't have the energy for cooking AND cleaning up, how are we going to feed ourselves?"
[conversation continues]

or whatever.

"how do i get my needs met without trampling on other peoples' needs" is just HARD sometimes!

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 08:21 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yes this. It is a hard thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-07 03:12 pm (UTC)
sciatrix: A thumbnail from an Escher print, black and white, of a dragon with its tail in its mouth, wing outstretched behind. (Default)
From: [personal profile] sciatrix
Oh my god, SAME HAT. One of the things I periodically worry about/get frustrated by is that by making a point of making myself an easy person to set boundaries with or express criticism with... well, I get comparatively more criticism, which means my confidence erodes a lot.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-07 07:44 pm (UTC)
lovepeaceohana: Eggman doing the evil laugh, complete with evilly shining glasses. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovepeaceohana
yeah, it's tricky to find the balance between "other people enforcing their own boundaries is a good thing" and "I am allowed to need things from people" and NOT fall into "my job is to be as helpful and/or invisible as possible"

I ... oh.

I'm gonna need some time to sit with this. Lightbulbs, and all.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-07 11:32 pm (UTC)
sebenikela: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sebenikela
yeah, i'm still working on convincing myself of this one too.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-08 12:15 am (UTC)
lovepeaceohana: Eggman doing the evil laugh, complete with evilly shining glasses. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovepeaceohana
Yeah it's ... idk, the idea that I'm coercing/manipulating people into relationships with me is a total anathema to my mental wellness, so I go to many great strides to ensure that I've done my due diligence to the opposite effect. [personal profile] kaberett's comment downthread is a really good example of how things ideally work in my brain:

Like if I want to assuage my conscience further I will go "my ideal outcome all else being equal would be X, I would like to negotiate, my hard limits are ABC, where are you at?" and at that point if people... can't articulate or express their needs then provided I'm not actively doing them obvious predictable avoidable harm I... reckon I've done due diligence and people get to follow my fine example and sodding well self-advocate instead of expecting me to do yet another impossible thing when I've already DONE three. >_>

Except I tend to lose it at "I reckon I've done my due diligence" and tend to err on the side of, erm, cheerfully helping people leave me or otherwise fail to meet my needs, in the name of making sure that potential emotional damage to me doesn't weigh on their decisions, and then I'm left sitting here wondering where everyone's gone, and on top of that, angry that I've gone to so much (intentionally invisible) effort that isn't being reciprocated. For someone who's also got a strong aversion to failing secret expectations tests, this is definitely something I need to work on explicating in my relationships.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-07 11:36 pm (UTC)
sebenikela: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sebenikela
that sounds like a very sensible way to thread that needle.

"i can't read minds and it isn't my job to try" is one of those things where intellectually I realize they're true but oh my god it does not feel true. (that's definitely one of those "okay, brain, that was an important survival skill in abusive relationships and assorted other dysfunctional environments. we don't need it right now! pls chill?"

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-04 11:51 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
..I am so going to try to put this into practice*. What a cool thing to do, and a good way to keep oneself within bound as well.

*with a rider for "not actually going to thank people for declining things that in themselves cross a boundary" a la alatefeline's remarks.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-07 09:11 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Nah, you're good. I got navel-gazey is all.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 03:11 am (UTC)
wohali: photograph of Joan (Default)
From: [personal profile] wohali
Thank you for explaining this; I will try to remember it in future chats.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 06:50 am (UTC)
steorra: Platypus (platypus)
From: [personal profile] steorra
I don't do this, but I like the idea. Maybe I will try it some time.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 10:30 am (UTC)
highlyeccentric: Inception - Arthur in his badass waistcoat (Inception - badass waistcoat)
From: [personal profile] highlyeccentric
Huh. Perhaps I should cultivate some level of practice of this. One, because it seems good. Two, because I have had trouble with people over-reacting to me declining things, or doing what reads to me as *actively sabotaging the relationship* by never putting me in a position to say no to them. Some of that's Not My Problem (a... lot), but... perhaps I could cultivate more mindfulness of other people's 'no'.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 05:32 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
I can see where I would be surprised at it, but also how it could be useful for me to have someone say thanks for saying no...and for the no to stick, since that's a thing that I have had problems with in the past.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-05 08:23 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Nodding.

a refusal might not offend

Date: 2019-02-06 12:39 pm (UTC)
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
From: [personal profile] vass
When someone draws a clear boundary, it's such a relief. They've just shown me that I can trust them to tell me what not to do, and I won't have to guess. They'll help me avoid harming them by putting up signposts.

This reaction is in a way the opposite of those signs they sometimes have in shops ("please do not ask for credit/change for parking/whatever as a refusal may offend." Which... I mean, I don't mind those signs, because they give me the information I need without having to ask, that's extremely helpful! It's a clear boundary, and that's a gift. But their reasoning still confuses me, because someone who was going to be offended by a refusal is probably not going to be deterred by a sign. Or, perhaps, read it and understand that it applies to them.)

Re: a refusal might not offend

Date: 2019-02-06 11:54 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Toaster says 'I want you inside me' to slice of bread who replies 'that's hot' (consensual breakfast)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
I'm boggling at the 'refusal may offen' on the signs.

It conveys a meta message about delicacy and subservience that puzzles me.

In my part of the world (upper Midwest US, often mocked as Minnesota Nice) the same sign is simply "We only make change for purchases."

Re: a refusal might not offend

Date: 2019-02-07 09:36 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: unicorn line drawing captioned "If by different you mean awesome" (different=awesome)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Wow.

Fascinating how differently the same message can be conveyed.

Part of the US stereotype of Brits is "hoity toity," that is, displaying upper class airs. Principal exposure to British culture is via Masterpiece Theater ("prestige drama" from BBC & Granada) and children's books, thereby skewing the stereotype even more.

(no subject)

Date: 2019-02-06 07:14 pm (UTC)
sfred: Me, with curly hair, looking serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
I like this thing very much. I try to do it but probably only achieve it intermittently.

Excellent!

Date: 2019-02-06 11:55 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: harbor seal's head with caption "seal of approval" (Approval)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
this matches my values and I shall attempt to deploy it!

here via sciatrix

Date: 2019-02-08 07:32 pm (UTC)
hellofriendsiminthedark: A simple lineart of a bird-like shape, stylized to resemble flames (Default)
From: [personal profile] hellofriendsiminthedark
This is a great post! Would you mind if I included it in my own linkspam?

Things like "okay, that's fine" or "that's fair" followed by "thank you for letting me know" also work to the same flavor. I'm super indecisive and renowned for never giving straight answers, and I've found my sister positively reinforcing both yes's and no's this way before.

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kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
kaberett

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