Honest Comfortable Exchanges

You just have to say, “I am not comfortable”. That is a reasonable explanation which does not have to backed with reasons explaining your discomfort. This was what I learnt from my friend after our weekend trip to a cosy little beach town. Our trip delivered all that we expected off it. A lazy time roaming around the streets, some time to relax in the beaches and a little bit of fun in one of the many resto bars in the town. Our time there was much more comfortable than we had hoped for until the last night of our stay when we decided to visit a popular night restaurant cum bar in the town. Three men began chatting with us and they were harmless enough, explaining about the town and what they do. We spoke for a while and started feeling a bit uneasy when they refused to leave us alone. We didn’t feel unsafe, that was not the point, but my friend and I wanted to spend time with each other as we were leaving the next day. Discouraging further conversation was clearly not working with them so we decided it’s just a harmless conversation; we’ll be leaving soon anyway. So when they asked for our numbers and how to find us on Facebook, I found myself searching for excuses to avoid disclosing that piece of information. So I began a brilliant banter about how the number I use is official and how I am discouraged to share it for personal use, and my friend simply stated, “I am sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing my number with you”. They were obviously baffled and asked her why and what she thought they were going to do with her number and she replied, “I don’t think that you will do anything terrible, I just don’t feel comfortable sharing my number with people I just met”.

I realised that the fact of the matter is that, it is that simple. We just don’t want to share our number because the idea makes us a bit uncomfortable, and that is a valid explanation. It doesn’t aim to offend the person asking for the number, it is just our state of mind at the time and it is a choice that we are allowed to make. I did ask her later why she couldn’t just lie and come up with something to ignore them and she said, “What is the point of that? He asked me reasonable question and I responded to that. Why should he be lied to for asking something so basic?”

Imagine if every one of us was this reasonable in our everyday lives. Imagine the number of uncomfortable exchanges we can avoid if we could respond in the most straightforward way, and receive such comments at its face value and not as some offensive remark. Although I felt like a complete fool for making up such a lame excuse, I was happy to know that there are people who respect you enough to make your choice.

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