The weakness of not being able to say ‘no’

Scenario 1

You are the punctual types, and you are generally present at the meeting room three minutes before the meeting begins. People who have occupied the meeting room you are headed to dread your peeking head, when they still have three more minutes to go. But you like to make them conscious, so you trot up and down in front of the meeting room, occasionally raising your brows and looking through the door.

So one day you are headed for a similar ‘meeting’ act, and you stop by to call a fellow meeting goer. He asks you for two minutes telling he will follow. In the same cube is your friend who just came back after maternity leave. You, being your courteous self, say “Hi, welcome back, how’s the kid”. And then the saga begins.

“Hey, thanks for asking. You know what, I feel so guilty leaving my kid in the creche. So what my husband and I have decided is to leave the kid at my mother’s place, which is a few hours drive from here. I go there twice a week, so he is fine.” You start getting nervous, as its not more than 5 minutes for the meeting to begin, and you are still on your way. It will easily take two minutes to reach the next floor where the meeting room is. “So how did you manage dear? Did you have anyone to take care of your kid or you left her in a creche. “? You only hear half the things your good friend has utterred. And you say ” yeah yeah”, partially stealing a glance at your watch. Your friend is confused, she asks to clarify, ” You mean you had someone to take care of the kid or you had to leave the kid in a creche?” No, actually yes yes, but no”. She is not convinced, and shrinks her brows, and continues. “You know what happened the other day, the mothers leave sick kids in the creche and my child fell sick too. And in the evening when I got back to the creche, I saw him lying all by himself. That sight just did not go away from my mind and that’s when I decided I will not leave my kid at the creche. ”  You totally empathise with your friend, but above all you empathise on your self that you are not able to ask to be excused. You cannot be late to the meeting. Meanwhile, you message the meeting organiser telling that you are held up with some urgent work (a lie that you hate to tell) and that you will join in another 10 minutes. Because, considering the level of details to which your friend is taking you, you make a rough estimate of the time left of the conversation, which you forcedly and unfortunately got into.

Then goes the story, of the nanny stealilng your friend’s kid’s biscuits and napkin; and the story of the kid’s habit of shedding mucus being ridiculed. Your tolerance level has reached it zenith and now there is nothing that can hold you from erupting into a “can we have this conversation later” statement. Thankfully, your fellow meeting goer, who just slipped out of his seat to attend to nature’s call is back. “Yes, he will come to my rescue”, just when you thought he will, he becomes part of your conversation, where he shares his experience as a father and bringing up not one but three kids.

But duty comes in between courtesy and you do not want to rudely or abruptly cut the conversation. So you start receeding from the cube one step after another and find yourself in the aisle between the cubes. Given a chance, you would just disappear at a blink. Just as your friend turns back to look for her slippers beneath her chair you scoot. And you herald your victory. And lo, you are ten minutes late for the meeting. A lesson learnt the hard way. ” Never say hi to anyone while you are heading for a meeting” !!!!!


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