Monday, June 23, 2008

When It’s Okay To Say “No” and What’s Your Explanation For Saying It

What happens when someone you know, an acquaintance, asks for your help with something that you shouldn’t necessarily be doing?

Let me give you a hypothetical: An acquaintance of yours is moving (or some other similar event that they would need help with). This is not your best friend, not even someone you’ve known for more than a year. You are asked, along with several other people, in an open invitation, to help them move. What do you do?

I posed this question to a friend of mine recently.

The response?

Leslie, why would you even consider it?

My response back?

Because I’m a nice person?

On the one hand, part of me wonders if I’m there, will they know the difference?

On the other hand, I guess part of me hopes that if I help others, they will help me in return. I know this is naïve thinking, something I’ve known to be untrue for a long time, long before my illness. But I hope that if I ever need help moving, which most surely will happen, people, my friends, would be willing to do that. And I would hope that people would do this for me because they want to, not because they feel bad for me because I am sick…

So, do I give a seemingly lame excuse for my absence?

Or do I get really blunt and say, “I have lupus. I’m not feeling up to it”?*

Again I ask, at what point do people see your illness as simply a convenient excuse for getting out of things?

These types of situations fill me with a ton of anxiety…

I guess we have to learn to pick our battles.

And I’m still having a hard time deciding which battles are worth fighting.

* While I’m getting better at disclosure, I’m fairly certain that there are still few people that know what has been going on. Sure, anyone could Google me and stumble upon my blog. Then they would know. But I don’t just walk around telling people without there being a reason to.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey Leslie. It is not secret that you are a nice person. It's one thing to be helpful to people in times of "need". it's another to agree to do something that may be painful for you. I don't think it would be noticed if you didn't help this person move, even if you decided not to bother with the reason. Probably ignoring that email would make little difference to the person. BUT, if you want to go to be in on the action (as it sounds like a social activity) then maybe you can be sure only to lift light boxes. If there are any...

    Just some thoughts.

  3. well this is why i quit going on the family "vacation"
    first my own family, mother, father, sisters, do not understand that i cannot be in teh sun.
    they do not understand that i need 10 or even 12 hours sleep. and they do nto understand that i don'[t wnat to spend the only "vacation" i get babysitting their kids without being asked or thanked.
    i ended up so exhausted after family vacation that i needed a couple weeks to recover.
    so i quit going. i feel a bit cheated, for various reasons. i really like hilton head. i'd love to go ride bikes on the shady paths and swim and walk on the beach in the late afternoon. but everyone expects me to get up at 9am, play outside during the hottest sunniest parts of the day, then go in at dinner and stay on their schedule.
    i would very much like to be able to lie in the sun, play in the sun and surf in the middle of the day, but it's really not worth kidney failure.
    i would love to have the energy to play with their kids, but after traveling to the vacation spot, i need to just rest. but if i try to do this, i either have to stay elsewhere at a separate hotel, then i get grief for not being around enough or for coming over too late in the day. there is simply nothing pleasurable about that kind of vacation for me, where i can't take care of myself even for a momnet without getting a guilt trip or outright rude behavior.
    i finally decided the best way to win this "battle" was to disengage, and just quit going.
    this year my hubby and i are taking a 4-day trip with *just* my parents. here's hoping they won't give me too hard a time about resting.