Once in a job interview I had answered my most noteworthy feature as being assertive. When I had run it by K, he had responded that I would not want others to think that saying No was my best quality. I said how was being assertive equal to saying no all the time. He said, it was corporate speak for being able to decline or deny something when condition needed. That was news to me! Which made me think, what was the big deal in saying no? The word exists for a purpose. It conveys a lot of meaning. It is a very strong word no doubt. But I feel there is nothing so wrong in saying the word. Once my sister in law had received an award and the citation commended her assertiveness. If I go by what K was offering, that means she was quite vocal in her No-s as well. She is a very successful career woman which must mean she is doing something right by saying those timely No-s.
Yes a blatant NO can seem hurtful. I have been privy to such instances a lot given my utter lack of talent to sugar coat things. One such instance which was hurtful was, when my mil asked if we could plan a trip to the local temple one day. She is very pious while piety and I have not met each other. I happened to say no, we will go somewhere else. The word transformed the moment into a Cuban missile stand offish situation. I apologized and peace prevailed, but boy I had learnt my lesson well and good. :D No more no-s that easily :P Another incident I remember of 'no' fouling up everything was once when one of K's very close friends had asked for some cash. K had given the person some loans on and off. I had expressed my reservations regarding the trend. But K had always vouched for his friend. I had to give K the chance to handle it himself. After a point, K himself realised that it was becoming more of a habit than a need. He had to put his foot down and say no. Things went downhill after that and how! It was as if the whole edifice of friendship was based on the some bills of money. There was no immediate resolution. Since it was slippery ice, we decided to take it slow and let things take care of themselves. Time is indeed the best healer, and the said person moved on, has now gotten a family and is very good with his finances. But we did realise how potent the word was. Once bitten twice shy and we vowed to keep finances as far as possible from close friends and relatives.
There is one No which no one can escape nor challenge. Yep. You guessed it. The toddler NO. Shall we brush our teeth? NO. Breakfast? NO. Shall we take a bath? NO. Shall we goto sleep? NO. Wear you coat. NO. Come inside. NO. I think it is the definitive answer to any option a well meaning parent might throw at their off spring :D Huh. Its pure evil how effectively a toddler can use an assertive no to dodge anything thrown at them. I am sure we all started there. Which means we have spent quite some time unlearning this instinctive trait just like swimming :D