Jul. 10th, 2016

marsden_online: (write)
I thought I had already written a post on Ask vs Guess culture including an anecdote from my youth, but I am unable to find it. I'm not going to repeat the particular anecdote here because this post is to record and draw out a train of thought which occurred as I drifted into a "nap" this afternoon.

Background: I was a bit miffed at not having managed to acquire a second lotto ticket for the draw this evening (40 million must-be-won Powerball jackpot combined with a 700,00 Strike jackpot. I'll check in the morning). The reason it would be a) the second ticket and b) I didn't already have one was that I purchased the first online[1] then decided I could afford another; only to be informed I had exceeded my spending limit for the week[2].

[1] the one with maximum lines of Strike because doubling my chances in Strike seemed better odds than more lotto/powerball lines)
[2] Which was only like $30 because I set it (as a security precaution should someone get into my account) at a time when there was only one significant draw a week. And takes until the next Sunday for change requests to take effect (sensible). And would still have been fine if I was buying my usual[3] $9.60 tickets (minimum ticket because more than stuff all chance is a chance but still stuff all)
[3] only when the jackpot gets up a ways

While drifting off it occurred to me that I was /really/ miffed about being told "no" by the system. My increased determination to acquire an extra ticket was in reaction / rejection / rebellion against that. Which got me thinking (again) about my issues around asking / responding to being asked. Half-asleep brain made a new connection.

In terms of the previously linked article I would have said I grew up in a Guess culture and my asking habits reflect that. If I don't judge that there is a good probability someone will say yes (typically upwards of say 80%) I won't
- (rationalising) put them at risk of having to choose between an unwilling yes and an uncomfortable no
- (more realistically) put myself at risk of being made uncomfortable by having made them uncomfortable; or receiving a strongly negative reaction
... so I simply won't ask.

I don't usually /consciously/ have problems with a "no" answer
- although I have been known to interpret it as a "try again later in a different way"; a behaviour I hope I have broken myself of.
- the reason this one impacted me was simply that it was so unexpected; coming from a context where I didn't even realise I was asking for something (but of course I was)
- but see my final conclusion

On this afternoons half-asleep consideration though asking wasn't really a thing when I was growing up. The way our life was structured there wasn't really any "would you like to do x?" or would you like to do y?"; "can/may I do x?" or "can/may I do y?". "Questions" were usually just polite instructions: "Can you please pass the peas?", "Have you done [chore]?", "Will you please [task]?" As such a yes (or just getting on with it) was expected; any other response was likely to lead to unhappiness.

It may be one of the reasons I'm so good at politely taking charge; but it simply didn't give me soft skills around ... negotiation for lack of a better term. Or standing up for myself verbally (which may be related to other issues that developed later on). Or saying no because my fight-or-flight[5] response to being asked to do something is to "obey"/comply or rebel (the latter aggressively, probably even when I am not consciously aware that is what I am projecting. So no wonder people may feel nervious about asking for things they think /I/ may say no to.)

[5] The 3rd option, freeze ("play dead") is to vaguely accede and then passively aggressively ignore the request.

By the same token despite my best intentions it is likely I subconsciously expect people to "do what I ask" and get subtly (or not so subtly, just oblivious to my own reactions/projection) upset when "I do not get my own way". The first bit isn't really a problem for anyone but me; the second though would negatively affect other people and that, to my mind, /would/ be a problem.

If I'm being brutally honest the rejection (or possibility of rejection) probably influences my decision making and risk assessment around asking far more than I am willing to admit, even to myself. [It's half-past-midnight as I type this; a fine time for staring into the darness.]

~~~
[aside]
One of the comments on the link I chose for this post talks about experience a "Yes" culture; which from the description I would actually consider
- at best the culture shock of an Asker (the poster self-identifies as) who has found themselves in a Guess environment;
- a toxic outgrowth (or ingrowth) of a Guess culture or two merged Guess cultures
- an outcome of a Guess culture being colonised by unscrupulous Askers.
In my own personal experience, I think there is a third type of culture - Yes Culture. That is, social circles that have the expectation that it is OK to ask for anything at all with the expectation that you will receive a yes. Or, when asked of anything at all, you must say yes regardless of what the request is.
...
But I have witnessed first-hand what I'm calling Yes Culture. Having been submersed in it directly, I have experienced much frustration because my expectations and those of the Yes Culture differ greatly. Likewise, I have witnessed those of the Yes Culture's frustrations in dealing with me. No matter how I explain myself or my expectations, our expectations differ so greatly that I am almost always perceived as rude, selfish, unsupportive or uncaring for saying no (and believing it is OK). And no matter how much they explain themselves, I can't quite grasp how it's possible to expect that any request will/should be granted regardless of timing, workload, responsibilities, etc."

[/aside]

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