just NO

Well, following the last post I decided to just click on "no" and leave it at that. Nothing I could write in the RSVP message box would feel right. Nothing would prevent the party organizers from being bitchy about my not coming. Nothing I do or say will change what they think of me. And really, it doesn't matter what they think of me - by which I mean, I know this intellectually, but have a hard, hard time believing it through and through.

There were lots of polite but not quite honest things I could have said on that invitation response.

"we're so sorry we won't be able to join you" (we're not sorry; we are able, we just don't want to)
"we have other plans" (half-lie - my only plan is to not be anywhere near these people)
"give our regards to the birthday girl!" (I don't actually regard her in either a positive or negative light)
"sounds like fun, wish we could be there!" (it doesn't, I don't)

Any of these "regrets" kind of responses would have been a lie, because I don't actually feel regret.  Thing is, nothing genuine could be said, either, because this is how it would look:

"are you fucking kidding me?"
"I don't actually care about you people, so I'm not coming"
"It's ridiculous that you expect me to spend half a day driving, several hours of my life standing around making idle, uncomfortable chitchat with people who think they know me but really don't and whom I don't particularly care about, then get my kids to bed late in a hotel room because I'm not in your good graces enough for you to offer me a room or a couch to sleep on, then have to drive half a day back home again, thereby losing a perfectly good weekend."
"oh, hell no"
"I would rather swallow shards of broken glass"
"Interesting that I'm only considered a part of this messed-up family when you want to throw a big party so you look like a loving, close-knit clan."
"I will not be a part of this charade"

Yeah...none of those should really be entered into a comment box. It's good to type them out here, though. Perhaps, now that I've sent my just-plain-NO response, I can shake this bitter, ugly feeling and move on.


  1. Claire,
    Thanks for both of these posts. All I have to offer is one of the catch phrases that I keep in my internal supply of emergency mantras (break glass in case of emergency:) never make a person a priority in your life if they only choose to make you an option in theirs.

    I'm proud of you!

  2. I think it is really important to be able to say "no" without needing to explain yourself. Thank you for this post.

    DH and I were able to laugh last night when we were trying to come up with what to say if he ever bumps into anyone from his FOO. We thought and thought, coming up with phrases that just didn't seem right. And then finally he said, "How about this - NO! - and then I just walk away?"

    We started laughing and laughing. But then I thought, "Of course! That's brilliant!" What better way to say NO...then just to say NO?

  3. PS. If it helps, I could show you what I want to post before I posted it. If you disapproved, I wouldn't post.

  4. When I was blogging, I ended up doing the same thing - writing out what I really wanted to respond with. It helped immensley, 'cause it got the sting out. Then I could edit to an appropriate reponse and feel none the worse for sending. I gotta say, I did get a good laugh out of your genuine responses because we all feel the exact same way. :) -S