Recently there was a Facebook post, it was about a woman who didn’t have children and was not sure how to deal with someone who was pressuring her on the issue. A friend posted asking for suggestions on how to deal with this person who just wasn’t accepting that the woman didn’t want and wasn’t going to have kids.
Me… being me… I responded flippantly. There were tons of responses already I certainly didn’t think I needed to jump into the fray.
The reality is… no one has ever pressured me about it. I don’t have children, I don’t want to have children, and it’s not because I don’t like children. I do like kids, I love my friends’ kids.
People will ask if I have children, I say “no”. It doesn’t ever go beyond that. So, I started to think about why. Why can I say, “no” and be left alone but this other woman can’t?
Lots of the Facebook responses were sarcastic, but the problem is most of us don’t really want to make someone angry, even if the act of putting someone in their place seems satisfying at the moment.
Who really wants the conflict? Generally, we don’t want the conflict and although it might be fun to respond with… “I don’t have ovaries…” well, you probably don’t want to actually damage a relationship by being derisive.
So what do you say?
Perhaps it isn’t what you say that makes the difference. In fact, the more I considered the situation, the more I realized that a large percentage of a person’s response is in how we say it, not just the words we use.
It could be that the woman, who is essentially being bullied by her friend, isn’t being firm enough in her response
Her “no, I don’t want children” response may simply lack conviction.
It’s easy to do, to forget that we need to be firm, because we simply want to preserve our relationships. It might appear to others that we don’t like children if we say we don’t want them, never mind the myriad of other reasons we may have.
Perhaps we are afraid others will look at us differently, although I personally have never felt judged. But then I happen to be very secure in my reasons for not having children, I never sway, and I certainly don’t convey regret.
The lesson of the story is simply this; know your why on whatever the issue is. In this case, our example woman needs to really be clear about why she doesn’t want to have kids. What are the true reasons, and whatever those reasons are, she needs to accept them and own them.
No one needs to know your why, but you need to know it. If you don’t, then your friends, like a pack of wolves will sense your lack of conviction and push the issue. The friends are not at fault here, they just want you to be happy.
The burden of clear communication is always on the communicator. Be clear about not just what you say or how you say it, but also why you say it.