Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A few years ago as I went to hang up from a phone conversation with my best friend, she said, "You know, if you have to go, you can just tell me. You don't have to pretend to do it for my sake." Upon reflection, I realized she was absolutely right; I would end every conversation saying, "I'll let you go."

I took her criticism to heart. Ever since I have tried to be straightforward and honest when I don't want to do something. I try not to project my feeling on to others when making a decision or turning down an opportunity.

Of course there still are times when the Hoos and I will purposely place blame on one another. For example if we are with his family and I don't want to do something, he will often accept responsibility or vice versa. This also works if he doesn't want to do something and he doesn't want to offend, laying blame on me. We both accept that this is sometimes the best way to keep the peace.

What I really try hard not to do is project blame on my children. If Dee needs to eat and something doesn't jibe with a scheduled activity, I will say so, but if I am not up for participating and it has nothing to do with Dee or LP, I try to act like a grown-up.

I do this in an effort to teach my girls that 1. There is a polite way to turn down an offer or provide an alternative if you aren't happy or want to influence a decision; 2. You need to speak up and take responsibility for your wants and needs; and 3. You need to be careful assigning responsibility because if everyone isn't on the same page, you can and will get caught and hurt feelings will ensue.

You can't please everyone all the time, but at least if you are honest you can help create a solution instead of whining about the result. What say you blog readers? Projecting - a necessary evil or just evil?


Stamford Talk said...

I suppose projecting can be a coping mechanism, but you're smart to recognize that it can be a crutch and a form of avoidance. I like that you note it can become a habit. I bet we all have little habits like that- forms of lying (that sounds harsh, but you know what I mean) that we don't even notice any more!

Smirking Cat said...

That's actually a pet peeve of mine: people saying "Well, I'll let you go" instead of just saying "I'd like to go now". I like directness and straight-up honesty. And there's nothing wrong with telling someone you need to do something else now. I think the reluctance comes from the age-old "nice girl" idea where everyone else's feelings come first.

Robyn said...

I think it's evil, but I also think it's natural. I try not to do it and I also have consciously tried to stop making excuses. Instead of explaining why I'm late (which is rare), I say "I'm so sorry I was late. I feel terrible for keeping you waiting." It goes over much better than giving an excuse.

KiKi said...

At times, it's a necessary evil. I'd much rather make excuses to my family than have him admit to them that he's had enough of their company - and vice versa.

But I agree that there are times when we have to be adults (e.g. have some courage!) and be assertive about our needs/wants.