lundi, juillet 12, 2010

The courage to say "no"

It's a good thing that I have friends in real life.

Friends to debate the ethics of capitalism (if such a thing exists) with over a beer or a hot fudge sundae.

Buds to walk with on those mornings when we can see our exhalations mist the chilly air.

Pals to climb along the rocks in the tropical humidity of midsummer.

Middle-aged moms and dads, writers and sextons, seniors and thirty-somethings who laugh at me and hold my hand and sometimes @#!*% me off.

Because if I had come inexperienced and innocent to this world of online relationships, friendships, potential romances and business ventures, I might think that they only needed the touch of reality to melt like an ice cream cone does in your hand on a summer's evening.

Saying "no" to someone you have met briefly in real life -- saying that you don't see a future for friendship or business association -- takes courage.

Possibly, the person on other end of email or phone call may argue with you.

Perhaps they may insult you.

Maybe they won't get it, and it will take a while.

But I keep remembering, whether I have met the person or not, that their emotions aren't "virtual."

And, perhaps most important of all, whether they are down on their luck, or grapple with mental illness, or aren't attractive to you personally, people aren't disposable.

I suspect that those who find it hard to say "no thank you" or to face conflict, or to work something through in real life also find it difficult online. It certainly is harder. But I still (knowing that sometimes I fail) believe it's worth the attempt.

If you can't say "no," then your "yes" becomes a rather cheap knockoff in a world in which authenticity is the rarest jewel of all.

If they aren't getting it?

Pick up the darned phone -- I'm pretty sure that communication is what Edison invented it for.

1 commentaire:

BigLittleWolf a dit…

"No" is so hard for some people, Elizabeth. In person or online. Especially if it isn't an angry no, but rather, a "no thank you."

It's as though they simply haven't learned how. Or, perhaps they've tried no, or no thank you, or thank you no - and been confronted with a hard time afterward. That tends to make a more cowardly (but understandable)silence what results, in its place.

Sad, but true.