“My housemate wants a lift to the festival we’re both going to. I have room, and he knows it, but I want to be alone. How do I tell him?” – Shona, NSW
I think we’ve all had a moment like this at some point or another in our lives.
I know as well as the next ‘mooch-ee’ what it’s like to have a festie hang on that you aren’t feeling. Don’t be fooled: It’s not just the lift that is at stake here, the camping situation also comes into question. There’s nothing worse than having to spend the whole weekend dealing with someone who you’d rather avoid at your favourite festival.
Dealing with this issue, in essence, is a simple case of establishing personal boundaries and communication, but I believe a lot more can come up for people when exploring those topics in particular.
When it comes to saying “no”, we often have deep-seated patterns stemming from childhood.
From a young age, many of us have been programmed not to say “no” when we want to say “no”.
We are told to share our things even when we have said no, to give hugs or kisses when we have said no, to say please and thank you and sorry when we have said no. Our no’s are often not accepted or loved and usually met with anger and shame from our guardians.
Their responses to our early “no’s” can really fuck us up as teens and adults who desperately need to establish boundaries. Emotional triggers around saying “no” play a powerful part in our adult lives, preventing us from doing what we really want to (often at our own detriment). One such trigger is the fear that ‘I will not be loved or accepted if I say no’ (thanks for that gem, Mum and Dad).
My advice is to start by asking yourself why it is so difficult for you to say “no” to your housemate. If you understand where the resistance to saying “no” is coming from, it will be a lot easier to overcome it.
Once you’ve gotten to the place where you feel able to say “no” to your housemate with confidence and self-love, I would open up a strong line of communication where both parties can share how they feel about the situation, and are able to clear any tension that may come up.
I hope this has helped in some way Shona, I wish you good luck in your big, powerful and beautiful NO.
All my love,