Funny what you can miss by saying no. Or by not saying yes. Or, for that matter, by not asking again.
It dawned on me last night that I forgot my parents’ anniversary. I started thinking about how they almost never had a date at all. My dad asked her out, and at the time she was dating someone else, so she had to say no, even though she was interested. Later, when she and the other guy had broken up, she enlisted the help of a mutual friend to try to get my dad to ask her out again. Easier said than done!
I’m a lot like my dad. Stubborn, and a little proud—or maybe just afraid of being rejected once more. He was determined not to ask her out again, because she had turned him down. He had convinced himself that she wasn’t interested. I can understand his point of view. It took quite a bit of convincing from the friend to get him to ask her out one more time. Of course, that time she said yes, and the rest (as they say) is history.
But what would have happened if the friend had been unsuccessful at convincing him? Or if the friend had been unwilling to get involved? You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog, because even if I had been born, I’d have been a different person. What if my mom had turned him down a second time? Again, there may have been a very different outcome.
I think of my own tendency to pull back after a rejection—or even a perceived rejection. I am not the type to ask for help unless I’m desperate, and I can see no way to deal with the problem without assistance. If I ask someone for help or comfort and they turn me down, or are too busy, or don’t seem to take it seriously, I am unlikely to ask them again. I don’t trust easily, and failure to be willing to be there for me when I need them is reason enough not to trust someone.
I’m not the type to force myself or my company on anyone. If they show little or no interest, I will not continue to contact them. I will never again allow myself to feel as if I have to beg for someone’s time or attention.
I wonder what I might miss by not being as willing as I should be to give second chances…or third, or fourth… I wonder what someone else might miss by not making themselves available when I need them. How might someone else’s fate be changed by our decisions—whether they are based on stubbornness, laziness, apathy, or fear?
What might you miss?