Saying the word “no”

September 26, 2015

I have trouble saying a simple two letter word that we’ve all been taught to say during our infancy — the word “no.” I was taught as a child that rejecting someone isn’t a very nice thing to do, and now I’ve developed some sort of fear of doing so. Peer pressure is rarely an issue for me, but I find most salespeople to be an absolute nightmare.

I’ve hit a point where I will go to extreme measures to avoid salespeople at all costs. Chances are, if I spot someone in a distance handing out flyers and luring people into buying products, I’ll either go around the entire building or cross the street. I would rather take the additional risk of being hit by a car than have to get myself into a ten minute conversation on why I should switch to Verizon.

Perhaps it’s just my luck, but I’ve been borderline harassed by multiple people to buy their products. Once they find how unsure of myself I am, they use every ounce of energy they have to basically guilt trip me into buying some useless product. I’m not going to lie, I’ve pulled the “no English” card on many people, and I’ve found that even that doesn’t stop most people from continuing to interrogate me about why I have no interest in whatever they’re selling.

I also stopped picking up unknown phone calls to avoid telemarketers, as it always results in hyperventilation on the my end of the call while thinking of every possible way to reject their offer to fertilize my garden for $19.99 a month. It takes every ounce of courage in me to actually hang up on them, as I feel like I’m going against everything I’ve ever been told my entire life. It’s obviously better than being face to face, but it still has me pacing around and cringing in discomfort.

I never thought that I would be shriveling in fear while ordering something as simple as a beverage. A friendly cashier is usually thought to be a good thing, but for me, it just amplifies the guilt of rejecting an offer. When I’m asked “Would you like to get a large for just fifty more cents,” or “Would you like to try our special today,” with even the slightest trace of joy in their face, it feels physically impossible to get my mouth to form the word “no.” So like any normal person would, I hesitantly say yes and end up with an alarmingly unhealthy amount of soda that I can never finish.

The few times I actually do gather the courage reject them, 99% of the time it’s followed by an “Are you sure?” At this point I start panicking again, and I give in because I have no confidence left.

I’m fully aware of how insane I may sound. Maybe it was the way I was brought up, or maybe it’s just engraved into my personality. I’ve been physically pulled away by family and friends from a persistent salesperson far too many times, often followed by a rather confused stare.

Needless to say, most of the things I own now are ordered online and silently left outside my door in a cardboard box, completely harassment free.

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