Hi, my name is Paula and I'm a grateful recovering A**hole.
I grew up in a home where sarcasm and self-pity were elevated to art forms, and it took me quite a while to actually recognize what tact and kindness were, or that they are usually effective. Even six decades later - I often write a pithy post... then erase and start over because I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that part of ME. However I've also learned that there are a few cases where bluntness is better than tact, and lying is more effective than honesty with gentleness.
Poor poor pitiful me? Well I'm going to get older and older... and only if I'm lucky (or take up bungie jumping
)can I absolutely avoid some of the problems associated with that, but I can hold on to my humor and be grateful for kindness every time I receive it. After all, Protagonist just told me to buy diapers as a way to clean up an oil spill, or a sewage problem - so I've got "plausible deniability" ready and waiting when the need arises
Salesmanship: There are sales courses that advocate never accepting "NO" as the answer, focus solely on the sale, and answer the objection at least six to ten times. This technique works, especially when dealing younger inexperienced buyers... (car dealers in our area go predatory on young sailors - and I'm sure we've all seen a few "sharks" at an RV dealership) I can't stand that technique.
For me, "NO" is followed up by, "I understand this isn't something you want, but do you know someone else who might be interested?" I've also learned how to extricate myself from the grips of the insensitive boor: Just keep it all about the boor: "John, YOUR time IS valuable - and I'm showing you respect by alerting you to MOVE ON to someone who MIGHT buy. I won't."
TERMINATE WITH PREJUDICE
This thread was inspired by two others "would you let someone borrow your Airstream?" and "shortages on Honda 2000 generators". On the latter I recommended calling the company and threatening them with the state's attorney general, the FBI, and the FCC about the problem. Would I really do that? Well? I'm Lazy, and hopeful of an easier resolution, but.... convincing someone that I will followup is at least 50% effective.
My complaint call could contain one small lie "I'm retired and I have the time and writing skills to be a pest" (I'd also sound prepared - I'd Google the NAME of the Attorney General of Illinois, and the station chief at the nearest area FBI office before making the call) - AND I'd ask to speak to a supervisor. Sounding READY to follow up makes it easier to actually do so if threatening them doesn't work.
Lying is a terrible choice when someone wants to borrow your Airstream, bluntness is often the only EFFECTIVE choice. THEY are rude to even ask. Best responses? "What on earth would possess you to think of asking?" isn't bad, neither is "NO. I won't." Objection/negotiation by you as the potential lender? Never! (That's how 15 year olds get pregnant!) Terminate with "NO is a complete sentence." Followed by, "What part of NO didn't you comprehend?" or "NO, frankly you're rude to even ask."
I really like "and I won't lend you my husband either." I'd almost consider marriage just to use that line. Anyone rude enough to ask will NOT be sensitive to the idea that the request is inappropriate. And if they get all huffy when you refuse? If you lose a friend because you aren't a patsy - be relieved! You haven't lost a friend - you've lost a tapeworm.
Invoking a higher power:
Our answering service has on occasion assisted the FBI. We know how to work with them, but sometimes it's just as effective to simply "invoke" them. 99% of our customers are wonderful, but once in a while...Oh boy. We got a new customer who is leasing cars over the internet. After taking 25 calls our staff alerts us that almost all calls are complaints. Quick review? Criminal enterprise. This customer will leave town and use us to get a few day's head start. We CAN turn off the account but we still have a duty to notify the customer we're doing it. My assistant calls and the "gentleman" won't take "NO" for an answer - instead he offers to pay us three times as much (he's corrupt and thinks everyone else will be for enough money.) Next scene: My assistant is flummoxed. I walk into her office, take the phone out of her hand and say the following.
"Mr. X. I own this company - My husband is a retired FBI agent, but they actually never really retire. He still gets all the new wanted lists and photos - just in case, and whenever he hears about a fraud he calls the head of the local office... (Dial tone as Mr. X hangs up). He never cashes the refund check because he did get busted the same afternoon. Not our doing, just a great coincidence.
Total lie about the ex-FBI hubby. I've told it 2 or 3 times in the last 35 years. The first time, the customer came right to the office - and left without even closing the door when I said the key words. I have GOOD customers to CARE for, dog dirt is just something I scrape off of my shoes quickly.
Caught unprepared and flat-footed?
The best reaction? "NO, I don't think I want anything to do with this. If I change my mind I'll let you know."
I confess, I give way to anger too easily, even today. I regret it 99.9% of the time but the best I've come up with so far is to apologize as quickly and humbly as I can without making any excuse for my bad behavior, then tell the truth even when it's almost the same thing minus the anger. When I'm being a little less stiff necked, I can offer "OK, try to confuse me with the facts."
Humor and truth: I really do sometimes pray "Oh Lord, give me patience - and give it to me RIGHT NOW.
In Memorium to the value of charm: From a fondly remembered mentor Bonnie Kennedy who has gone to her reward,
"It is perfectly all right to tell someone to go to Hell, as long as they end up thanking you for the directions.