There’s a thing my family does that kind of drives me bananas. It’s the thing where they ask you why you’re leaving [an event you barely wanted to go to in the first place] after you’ve been there the requisite number of hours +1.
I hate lying. If you know me, you know that I always prefer to just answer with the truth, albeit diplomatically when appropriate.
So when, for example, I’m at a baby shower for 5 hours and I say “Hey, it’s time for me to get going” the last thing I want to be asked is “Leaving so soon? WHY?”
BECAUSE I WANT TO.
That’s my answer. That’s THE answer. But I know my family, and I know that this is not an answer they deem “good enough” to warrant my departure.
The question always lands on my ears like a judgement. I’m not living up to their standards of socialization. I’m not placing a high enough value on family time, or babies, or socially influenced personal milestones.
And I don’t want to have to make up plans that I don’t have.
I’ve learned that in most [healthy, unenmeshed, nontoxic] families, this is not a question that would be asked. People that hail from families like these are the type of people that will look puzzled and suggest that I don’t owe anybody an excuse for why I won’t be attending or want to leave something. I can just say “Decline” and not have to tell them why.
First time I heard that I was like “Wait, what???”
So… I worked with my peer coach today. We decided to try out some of the tools we learned last weekend during the second module of the class, and I brought up this topic to work on, since the holidays are coming (and a couple family weddings) and I feel like I need to have a plan for how to deal with this without defaulting to blatant rudeness.
And, you know what? The tool worked.
I decided at the end that when someone asks me “why” I am leaving, or “why” I won’t attend something, I will just pretend that what they did say was what they probably meant to convey, which is: “I really enjoy your company, and am sorry to see you go.”
See…with that, I can respond “Thank you. It was lovely to spend time with you. I’ll see you next time!”
I will respond to the statement they should have been making, which is kind and fuzzy, instead of the question they are asking, which is rude and intrusive.
Can’t wait to start using these tools on my own clients and see what incredible ideas they come up with to get out of some of life’s pickles!
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