Learning to say no is advice I have both got and given on various occasions.
In a moment of reflection and wonder, I started looking at this in the opposite direction.
Did you ever ask yourself, is my subject unable to say no and is being polite?
Peer pressure expressions or passive actions come in various shapes and colors.
So, let’s discuss this made-up story together.
A space enthusiast named Goerge wants to share his passion for science with others.
Goerge picks a great spot that has what it takes to do stargazing and other fun projects.
Gorge pays for a billboard and advertises his newly founded group saying
Passionate about space and science in general? Join us every Friday night and share your passion with like-minded people
Over time, George’s group grew and became popular.
If you’re new in town and showing interest in science, someone will tell you “I think you would really enjoy joining Goerge’s group, they’re called space and science nights and they usually meet every Friday”
Alex is a science person but is interested more in biology.
Alex joins Goerge’s group, and every now and then suggests “Let’s do some biology tonight” or “Let’s break into groups”
Frequently introducing biology to the group decreased the focus on space.
Sometimes Alex’s biology group uses lights and that makes it harder to see stars.
Goerge is conflicted, he wanted his group to be open to all and welcome everyone.
Let’s take a look at this dialog between Goerge and Alex
Goerge: “I think we should have another day to meet for biology, having both on the same day affects the focus and the projects’ progress”
Alex: “I don’t think we will be able to get enough people to attend both”
George: “I can modify the billboard ad, or even rent another billboard, and advertise both days”
Alex: “No, how about instead you rephrase the ad to be space and biology instead of space and science?”
I have cut the conversation here but you get the idea?
It’s not like Goerge deserves the pressure to take control and be firm with Alex.
Yes, Goerge should tell Alex to fuck off and stop imposing.
But also, Alex needs to stop being a jerk.
Taking advantage of someone’s politeness only makes you a jerk.
So learn to say no, but also learn to not push others, you owe it to society to be nice.