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

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