In an email interaction with a man I said, "No," to his request. He wanted to record a Q & A session I was facilitating for no pay. I told him I was a member of SAG-AFTRA; the union for film, television and radio performers and I could not be videotaped without a contract.
As far as I was concerned the conversation was over. A bit later I received an email from him asking me if there was any "wiggle room". He questioned whether I was really refusing to let the person I was interviewing have a video for their archives.
I was annoyed. I said, "No." I even explained why but he still felt compelled to ignore what I said and try and get me to change my mind. I contemplated whether to further justify why I couldn't be filmed by saying there wasn't enough time to consult with my union before the event. Then I remembered the saying, "No," is a complete sentence.
While I considered my response I got a third email which essentially said, "Never mind. The person you are interviewing has no problem with no videotape." So now according to my emailing colleague the case was closed. My "No" didn't close the case. The other person's needs were what closed the case.
In a final email he apologized for the "snarky tone" of his previous email especially because he is "pro-union". Notice his apology wasn't about ignoring my initial answer, trying to guilt me into changing my mind or only giving in when another person (a man) was on board.
While I did appreciate some form of an apology I didn't want to overdo my response. "Thank you____" (I included his name.) I almost added, "I appreciate that." I changed my mind because I wasn't entirely sure I did. My desire to overcompensate with more words was about making him feel better. That isn't my job.
Look at the time I wasted monitoring and calibrating my response. "No," is a full sentence. No explanation needed. Thank you is enough especially when an apology doesn't completely address the true "injury". Next I should email him this blog post to clarify what his apology should have been about.
I read an article how the word "just" undermines a person's power.
Yet I began to notice that “just” wasn’t about being polite: it was a subtle message of subordination, of deference. Sometimes it was self-effacing. Sometimes even duplicitous. As I started really listening, I realized that striking it from a phrase almost always clarified and strengthened the message. ~Ellen Petry Leanse
Guess who the writer observed uses the word more? Women. I catch myself typing the word "just" and have to delete it all the time. I often have the impulse to add an emoji to an email or text to soften what I'm saying or lighten my tone. I'm addicted to that emoji face wearing the glasses. I feel like it looks like me. Yes, I said that. I have to stop myself because the clarity of my words should be enough.
It's not my job to manage someone's reaction to a suggestion critique or request. There's a difference between being polite and emoji abuse.
I posted a reminder for myself and others on Facebook:
"Women remember that "No," is a full sentence."
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