By Cheri Chesley
Re-post from Writing Fortress 2010
This is not a current situation, but something that still holds true.
It’s pretty clear by now I love words. Today, though, I want to talk about one word in particular. That word is NO.
As a mom, I have no problem telling my kids no. I’m pretty good with it, in fact. They’ve come to anticipate the “no” before the “yes.” Not that I’m a mean mom; I just don’t believe in overindulging my kids.
But this is a different no, and I struggle with it horrendously. And as I extend my networks with the intention of meeting new people and getting my name and book title out, I worry that I may be using that word more than others.
Let me explain. Today I got on Facebook to check messages and get updates on my author friends. And immediately someone opened up a message box and started talking to me. In short, he wanted to meet. Immediately I thought of everything we all know about internet safety. For all I know, everything on his page that made me accept his friend request in the first place could be lies. For all he knows, I’m a 40 year old serial killer looking for victims under the guise of an LDS wife, mother and author.
I searched for that instant feeling of foreboding, and it wasn’t forthcoming. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to trust this guy. Just because the spirit doesn’t instantly let me know someone is bad news, as it has before, doesn’t mean this person is safe or harmless—or even honest.
But saying NO outright seemed harsh. What if he’s a nice guy looking for friends? What if he’s got 16 nieces who’d love to read my book? And my thoughts called to mind something I’d heard before, about how women have such a hard time hurting people’s feelings. We’re too nice, and because of that we often find ourselves in dangerous situations. So why is the word NO so hard to say?
I thought about it for several minutes. What’s the worst thing he can do? Un-friend me? Start spreading lies about me? (Okay, I admit—that one gave me pause) Call me names? This is a challenge I’m sure will only happen more as I continue to extend my network.
In the end, I chose to refuse to go meet him. And I told him why. But I did suggest he come to one of my signings after my book comes out, which is no more or less than I would do to anyone I have “friended” on Facebook.
What is the best solution? What do you do? Do you only friend people on Facebook that you already know, or that are referred to you by someone you know? Do you only friend people who say they are LDS? Maybe I’m cynical, but that can be a lie too. And if they post things I don’t agree with, do I “un-friend” them? Just because they do not agree with my beliefs doesn’t make them evil.
Where does using good judgment end and simple judging begin? Thoughts?