Rephrasing the ask

When I told my mother that I wasn’t doing guilt any more, she laughed. Deep, down, on some basic cellular level, guilt is hardwired into the Irish psyche. It took (and takes) a lot of effort for me not to be guilted into doing something I don’t want to do. [See, it’s even a verb in Ireland.] I’ve had to retrain those around me to rephrase their ask to get the answer they want in a way that leaves me guiltless.

But it wasn’t always so. When I was still doing guilt, the conversation would go something like this.

I’m going into town to do some shopping.
Grand.

30 minutes later:
I’m heading off now.
Enjoy.

15 minutes later:
I’ll go so.

This is where I’d usually cave and go – Okay, okay. I’ll go!!! But since I gave up the guilt, the ask has had to change and all concerned now know that if they want me to do something, the ask has to be explicit.

So me and mam are sorted. I’d forgotten all about it until recently, when this conversation happened…

It’s a lovely day – do you want to go for a drive around the lake?
Nope. No ta. [I was up to my tonsils and happily cocooned in my den, oblivious to the sun shining outside. I was where I wanted to be and I didn’t want to be disturbed.]

10 minutes later:
You sure you don’t want to come? We could check out …..?
Nah, not today. Tomorrow maybe.

5 minutes later:
Shame to waste the day…
mmmmm, whatevs

In fairness, there were no dramatic sighs or annoying tsk tsks, no sound track to accompany the hopeful questions that were clearly not getting the right answer. But then I remembered… they hadn’t had the training and divine inspiration was in short supply.

So I explained about not doing guilt. And about changing the ask from ‘Do you want to ….’  to ‘Will you…’

Invariably, if I’m working, the latter has a much better chance of happening. So we went. To the lake. And got there just in time to see the sun beginning to set. Fabulous.

 

 

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