About 4 years ago I brought a guy I was seeing to meet my son who was 10 at the time. We decided to play cards. After a hand, my son Chad gave me the cards to let me shuffle.
"You want to learn to shuffle?" my friend asks Chad.
"No, thanks," Chad responds politely.
"Seriously. It's not hard. I can teach you."
"No thanks." Chad replies again.
"Oh! But shuffling is great! It's a great feeling and you have control of the game and you don't have to wait for anyone to shuffle for you. It's easy. I can teach it to you in 2 minutes."
"No. I really don't care. I don't want to shuffle. I just want to play cards."
More requests that turn to prodding, until Chad finally says lets play cards and my friend stops.
All the while, I'm observing the interaction, noticing the clear intent of my friend to help, yet also seeing he was pushing and not accepting Chad's answer. I wondered, does he think Chad is weak for not trying? Why is he pushing so hard? I didn't intervene as Chad clearly was able to take care of this himself.
But I also noticed that if this particular person had done that to me, I would have been "back off! are you criticizing me? why do you care? why aren't you listening to what I want?" While those comments have some truth, Chad's way was is so much purer.
Later that evening, my friend's remark surprised me. "I wish I were like him. I'm so impressed. He's so sure of himself and what he wants. And was completely clear about it."
The clearer and truer we are in our self, the less we are swayed by pressure out of insecurity or to please another and so we don't act defensively or reactively. Yet another way I am grateful to learn from Chad when he simply says, "no thanks."
Labels: self awareness