334 – Be Ridiculous with the Persistent

Everyone has limits, so everyone should expect everyone to have limits, but since everyone’s limits are different no one can expect anyone else to know their own.

Unfortunately, many people often presume what other people’s limits are. Don’t assume what is good for others. When other people do that with you, some diplomacy may be in order so you don’t spoil the moment.

Generally, being pushy with the small things is rude. When people tell you no, you need to accept their answer, unless you’re in sales or dealing with a bureaucracy that doesn’t know how much it bumbles. Either case is the same, whether you must say no or someone else gives you a no that you can’t accept.

Gandalf was excellent at politely “misunderstanding” the message when kings and their courts told him no. He dealt with those matters as you should deal with any situation: tact, wit, and charm. Use humor; exaggerate if necessary.

A man sat next me on the airplane. Just after takeoff he asked to use the restroom, the crew told him no. Another man used the restroom and he protested to a member of the crew, who just told him to stay seated before dashing away. Frustrated, he crossed his arms. “Sometimes, it’s easier to get forgiveness than to get permission,” I told him. “Just go. If they object, humbly apologize and say, ‘I didn’t want my seat to get wet.’ They’ll leave you alone.” He laughed, stood, and went to the restroom without incident.

I have suggested ginger ale to many an Asian friend with the flu. They never accepted it, unless I buy it and poured them a glass. Then, they ask where I learned about ginger ale.

If your limits are ridiculous, accept them and act in kind, diplomatically of course. Confront the matter with humorous melodrama so others save face and you save yourself a mess. When your overly accommodating hosts aggressively serve you food that you know will ruin your week, no need to ruin dinner also; just look at them with a twinkle in you eye, love in your heart, two teaspoons of sass, and say, “Are you trying to start WWIII?”

Proverbs 15:1; 25:15, Ephesians 4:15