Yes and no - weighs the same. How do you answer the question?
"Can I give you a ride to the bus station?" - asked Heidi, a summer Swiss friend of our family. I was going to the city from his summer cottage, walk to the bus stop 3-4 kilometers, and then it is still unknown how long to wait for the bus, and from the bus station goes a lot of transport to the city, and I did not want to walk.
I wanted to say: "Yes, give me a ride, please" - but in this case Heidi will have to change his clothes from the summer house trousers, open the gate, drive the car out of the garden, waste time and drive me. And it makes me uncomfortable, so I start mumbling like, "No, don't, I'll probably walk..." Heidi feels the contradiction between what I'm saying and what I want and, a bit annoyed, asks me again, "Yeah, maybe I should give you a lift after all."
I refuse again, trying to be polite, saying I don't want to burden myself.
And here Heidi teaches me a lesson that's been helping me for 10 years.
"You know, in Switzerland they say, 'Yes and no weighs the same." If I offer you a ride, I don't care if you say so or not. I'm ready for any answer you want, it's not hard to drive with you to the bus station, just as easy as staying home. But you make up that one option is more convenient for me than the other, and you choose it, although it's not what's convenient for you. In post-Soviet countries, that's what they often do. But I want you to understand, if I didn't want to drive you, I wouldn't offer anything. If you're given a choice, one answer equals another. So you want a ride? »
And I said, "Yes!" Simple and clear. Because I was much more comfortable and quicker to get to the bus station by car. And I was grateful to Heidi for giving me a ride, and more than that, for teaching me such a simple rule.
- "Yes" and "no" weighs the same - that's what I repeat inside myself, every time I think my answer won't appeal to the other person.
- "Yes" and "no" weighs the same - that's about us all being equal and free.
- "Yes" and "no" weighs the same - not a superficial rule of etiquette, but the basis of a sincere relationship.
- "Yes" and "no" weighs the same - and don't hope the other one will guess what you really want.
When you let yourself be direct and open, you give that freedom to others as well.
To any question or suggestion I have, I am ready to hear both positive and negative answers. And if a friend with the answers is better for me, I will inform my interlocutor about it and formulate the question in a different way.
For example, instead of neutral and polite "Will you come and visit me?", depending on what I want to do, you can say: "Come in, I'll be happy to have tea with you and talk to you!" (Assuming our wishes may not coincide) or "I'd invite you over, but I'm tired today and I want to be alone."
I remember when my relationship with my friend took on a new level of intimacy. She asked:
- Will you be involved in organizing our festival?
- Honestly, no, I don't want that at all right now. I don't want to organize anything. - I answered, preparing internally for further resistance to the arrangements.
- Oh, you know how nice it is, I asked, I got the answer, I went on.
I know. It's the power of certainty.
It's harder when a person is not used to the fact that "yes" and "no" weigh the same. Instead of a simple, unambiguous answer to every "Come with us?" And "Can you help?" Stories begin, there is a difficult day, how much to do, and how a person will try to please everyone, everywhere and everything, not to disappoint anyone. It usually makes me sad to hear that.
And it starts when you're a kid. We learn to guess what the answer is instead of listening to ourselves. We learn early on what to ask, "Do you like it in the garden?" And "Would you like some soup?" - there is only one welcome answer for our grandmother. We'll find that giving up a boring gift or an uninteresting trip to the museum, you see, will upset our distant relatives. We'll find out that we have to be polite and go to meet others. Let's find out that we are asked a question simply by habit and out of politeness, but nobody cares about our real answers.
It's a good thing we've grown up and we don't have to play this shit anymore. And we don't have to teach that lie to our children.
Each of us has the right to simply ask and thankfully accept gifts, offers, help, and love from others, as well as the right to refuse, disagree, close, and defend our borders without feeling guilty.
"Yes" and "no" weighs the same, don't you agree? (And by posing this question in this way, I mean that any answer you give me is equally interesting!)