Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nice guys finish last

It's a running blog, after all...
Let's face it. It just doesn't feel good to say no. I've been thinking a lot about this the last couple of days. There have been multiple situations where I've been put in an uncomfortable position--where I wanted to be the nice guy, but knew that I needed to say no. I didn't do a very good job at any of them.

Last night, the mother of one of my son's friends called me. She made some small talk and I figured she was just calling to check in on the boys, make sure they were still behaving. But then she brought up the real reason for the call. Her family is going out of town for the weekend, and her son wanted to invite my son and 2 girls to go with them. She repeatedly told me she was uncomfortable with it, hemming and hawing, but wanted to know how I felt.

In other words, she wanted me to be the bad guy. She wanted me to say no. Which, of course, I did. But what I wanted to say to her, "why the f--- can't you just say no?" I didn't, but I wanted to. I do have a filter. Plus, I was walking through the hospital at the time, so there's that.

But truly, this really upset me. I felt like she put me in a bad position, where I couldn't say anything but no. I couldn't tell her how I really felt about her wimpy parenting. And how bad it felt to have to be the bad guy.

Just earlier in the day, I was put in another situation where I needed to say no, but didn't want to be the bad guy. In this instance, I received a message from another blogger, who shall remain nameless. I had never interacted with her before. She told me that she found my blog on another site, and loved the idea of the book club. And would I mind if she started her own running book club?


Who does that?

I checked out her blog, and it's really fancy. Professionally done, with multiple headings and pictures that with a click, take you to another page. She's got ads too, so clearly she's pretty big.

In contrast, my blog is pretty small. I started my blog to interact with other runners and bloggers. I wanted to share my experiences and inspire other runners. My blog is more of a public diary. I don't have ads, and I rarely do product reviews. I have a loyal following, and I'm happy with where my blog is going. I try really hard to have meaningful content every time I post. I don't post just to post. The book club was born out of my love for running, for reading, and for learning. I've had author involvement, which is more than I dreamed of. We've had our 2nd month and so far, the book club has been well received.

But clearly, it's a blog eat blog world out there.

Naturally, I took the easy way out and was nice about it, telling her basically the more the merrier. After I responded to her, I kicked myself all day long. Hard. I kept thinking about how I could have handled it differently. What I should have said was no, or suggested an alternative. Clearly, I'm still bothered by it, because I'm writing about it. For the life of me, I don't know what I would have said, though, that would have made saying no sound ok.

Part of me thinks that there's room for all of us. The blogging community certainly has been supportive of me and my blog! But there are bloggers out there who are looking for only themselves--applying for every campaign, linking to every link up (some not linking back), and loading their blog up with ads. I'm not saying this blogger is one of them. I'd never heard of her blog and never interacted with her before. And she did ask instead of just going ahead with her own book club. All I can say is that it's been a challenge finding ways to grow my little blog.

If you've been following me for any length of time, you've probably figured out that I'm not a wimp by any means. I'm pretty good at asserting myself. I do it in my job, and at home. I'm competitive and aggressive on the race course. If you ask my husband, he'll tell you I drive like I race. I will admit that lately though, it's a little overwhelming how often I'm saying no at home. As a matter of fact, I feel like that's all I've been doing these days. Saying no. Maybe that's why I'm faltering. I just want to be nice for a change.

Saw this on a car yesterday. Maybe I need to grow a pair....Or the more acceptable alternative, a thicker skin.

Been told this too...by my son...

In the situation with the blogger, what would you have done? Am I being too sensitive here? Is it easy for you to say no? 

Because it's so easy for me to be Thinking Out Loud, I'm going to link up with Amanda from Running with Spoons! What a great link up!

66 comments :

  1. In general, I don't have a problem saying no. I suspect that you and I are a lot alike in this respect - when it's my decision to say no (like with my own kids), I say it and I mean it. Done. But in more public situations, I'm really drawn in by the idea of being nice, even when I disagree with the situation and want to say no. That other mom who clearly wanted you to be the bad guy would have pissed me off!
    But as far as the other blogger goes... well, I don't know. On the one hand, maybe it was a nice gesture that she asked you versus just ripping off your idea? But on the other hand, why not just join in with your (obviously fabulous!) idea, link up with you and participate nicely, and do something else on her own? I think I'm going to go with "she's clueless" instead of "she's mean." And that means that you did the right thing. Because if you would have said no, she would have thought you were rude. And you're not, you're awesome! Now, if she chooses the same books as you? She needs to go! :)

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    1. Well, ok! I feel better. I agree with maybe the clueless thing. But it just felt weird...

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  2. In regards to the parenting, I would have told her that she needs to tell her kids if she doesn't think it's a good idea.... As far as the book club, she could have just done it without asking you, so I guess that was nice of her to ask, but I would have told her that since it was your idea, you would prefer that other people do not copy it, but that it is ultimately her decision whether or not to do it.

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    1. My son brought this up at dinner, and he said I'm the "only one" who had a problem with it. I told him about my conversation with his friend's mom and that ended it. It's so hard to be a parent these days!

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  3. I find it odd she asked you. Maybe she wanted you to invite her to co-host the linkup?? Blog ideas and linkups (and posts and pics) get ripped off everyday. There's more than a couple coffee date linkups that I know of. So now maybe if she sees this she'll know you're not wild about the idea.

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    1. I'm glad she did ask, and maybe that's why I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I had no idea it was so competitive out there....I'll need to pick your brain. We may need a lunch...

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  4. I am really bad at saying no! I think I would have done the same as you in both situations, although both would have made me uncomfortable as well. I am really surprised that the other blogger asked you about the book club.I mean, if you had said no do you think it would have stopped her from doing it?

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    1. Well, that's the thing...I'm still scratching my head...

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  5. I spend much of my time at work playing "bad cop" so I've somewhat grown immune to it. Clearly this was an area that upset you, though. I can imagine being frustrated if someone put me in an awkward position with respect to something that does hit close to home. Will be interesting if she reads this post and contacts you back...hopefully there weren't any bad intentions. Some people just get really excited about things and don't think through how their actions may be perceived.

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    1. I think I could have handled it better, tho. I should have said something right away.

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  6. I agree with Pahla. It was polite that she asked you your "permission." Great idea BTW! Keep you spirits up and know that you have lots of friends on your blog that love interacting with you. Maybe because you feel like you've been "bad-cop" so much lately, it struck more of a chord with you?

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    1. I think so....it's tough having to say no all the time. Pity party over!

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    2. It's ok to vent feelings. It makes you more authentic and therefore more relatable to all us mommas out there looking to get support from our new found friends! :)

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  7. Sorry to hear you're having a hard time. You shouldn't worry - from reading the comments on your blog you have loads of loyal friends and fans that wouldn't be going anywhere fast and will be cheering you on. Hope your day is better today.

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  8. I have no problem saying no in a very polite way. I would have either said sure go ahead or suggested a collaboration for the book club to expand the reach for both of you. You could probably still suggest it if you're interested. It really was nice of her to ask. Not all bloggers are that nice.

    Have a wonderful weekend Wendy!

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    1. Thanks for weighing in, Jill. You've been at this a long time, I'm sure you've encountered all kinds of situations!

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  9. I have such a hard time saying no to anything... I really feel like it's something I have to work on because saying yes weighs me down more than saying no does. And I get the irritation of people who steal ideas from you for use on their sites... It happens to me all the time. The thing I use that helps me out is the realization that if I came up with the idea, that means I'm just one brainstorm away from the next amazing idea. I'll always be on the edge of good, provocative content because I can think it up. The people who copy it, they'll always be posting it a week, a month, a year after I do. So why sweat it? LoL!

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    1. Great attitude! I'm going to have to adopt it!

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  10. At least the other blogger reached out, but it almost seems as though she "asked" just to be able to dot her "I's" and cross her "T's." Like Jill suggested, maybe go back and ask if she wants to collaborate with you, which would be mutually beneficial.

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  11. I would have done the same. I tend to be too nice and then you get taken advantage of. At least you know that you were the first one to do it.

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  12. There is a lot of Passive-aggressive here in Minnesota nice. I have a hard time saying No, but sometimes you just have to. Sounds like you are a good example for this other mother to be able to say No.

    I've come across a few running blogs that also have book clubs. I think its great when other bloggers link up to share.

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    1. I agree. I hope if she does it, she lets me know, so we can share and coordinate!

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  13. Wow yep I hate being put in that position. Sometimes I want to say no but then feel like I am the bad guy. Good for you for standing up for yourself. I assume your "friend" doesn't read your blog :)

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  14. Ugh to both of these situations! I hate saying no, too, we all do, but..we have to do it in life. Now as to that blogger, it's really disheartening, in my opinion. As was seeing one of my recipes repackaged and linked up on another (bigger) blog this week. Yes, it's a blog eat blog world.

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    1. Ugh! That's kind of what I was getting at. Seems like there's so many blogs, it's easy to imitate. But to "repackage" a recipe? That's wrong.

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  15. Boo! So sorry you are having a hard time and people are taking advantage of your good-heartedness. I used to struggle a lot with saying "no" but I'm mostly over it now. I'm also an executive assistant so my boss basically gives me all his "no" phone calls and emails so I've been forced to perfect the nice (but firm) no. One thing I've practiced is just saying no and nothing more. When you get into explaining your no is when people throw all kinds of reasons at your reasons and try to get you to change your mind, so just a "No" or "I'll pass" or "I wish I could, but I can't" works and you don't owe anyone anything else. Or when I feel a "no" in my gut I ask for time to think about it--then I can gather my courage or wits or whatever and give the no I need or put parameters around my yes. :)

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    1. I think I'm getting better at and then something like that happens...

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  16. I'm really bad at saying no. For the blogger situation I think you could have suggested she join in your running book club and could feel free to promote it on her website, not allow her to start her own.

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    1. I can't tell her not to do it, but I guess I was just shocked at the boldness of asking if she could host one too.

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  17. Wendy, I would probably be flattered if someone contacted me about doing something similar to something I'd done on the blog - ha! As a book blogger, many of us blog about the same books and, if we've connected to a review by another blogger, we will often mention them in our post and so on. There are lots of book blogging link ups, as well, and like several other folks here have mentioned, that might be a great thing for the two of you to do! It might bring some new readers to your blog! The bottom line is that anyone can do anything they want on their blog; she certainly didn't need your permission, but she reached out to you so maybe she is looking for a connection. No worries! I hope you have a great weekend and a great run!

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    1. It's something to think about, but I don't even know her. I don't think she's a dedicated runner, and I don't know how it would work, collaborating on books. I'm so new to all this. Growing the blog is interesting...

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  18. Great post. I would have been really annoyed at that mom that wanted you to say no because she couldn't do it herself. Grrrrr. And I understand why you were frustrated with the blogger that wanted to start her own virtual book club. In one sense, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - and it was nice that that blogger asked you! But at the same time, I hate to say it but there is no copyright on a virtual book club that I'm aware of. So even if you said no, it's not like you have any recourse on her if she decided to do it anyways, you know? So if it were me, I would have said yes, but asked that she help promote your book club/blog and give you credit for the original idea.

    I also get frustrated with the bloggers that apply for every campaign and sell themselves out with too many ads. I do participate in a lot of link-ups, though, because it's nice to have a set topic to write about. Do you think that participating in too many link-ups is a bad thing?

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    1. Not at all! I think participating in linkups is a great way to grow the blog! It's fun, too.

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  19. Interesting...maybe something happened to her at one point and that's why she asked. I have a friend that blogs and she was very inspired by something, so she shared (copied and pasted a portion) it and noted who wrote it, and then continued on with her own thoughts. She received an email that was laying her out for "lifting" her content. It bugged me because we all are bound to have similar ideas from time to time, and I felt since she noted who wrote it, it was okay to do so, but that's just me.
    Anyway, saying no sometimes isn't easy, but as I get older it comes out a lot easier than it used to!!

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  20. I wrote a post about saying No a few weeks ago! I'm a people pleaser and the eternal nice guy and it's really really hard for me to say no. However I realize that I always end up feeling bad and resentful agreeing to things I don't wanna do. I'm trying really hard to do what's best for me and not others but I I still backslide!

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    1. Can you send me the link to your post? I'd love to read your perspective!

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  21. While I appreciate the fact she asked you first it still makes me crazy she took your idea from you. I review magazines on my site and someone I know asked if minded she did the same thing on her Blog. Like--get your own damn idea and run with it!

    It's hard being put in the position to be the " bad guy" as you say. As women I think it is even more difficult because we are supposed to be nice and relational all of the time. You are bringing up issues for me! LOL!!

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  22. Oh that really sucks you had to be the bad mom, but really, the kids should have known better! I hate that you said yes to that other blogger but she was probably going to start the book club either way.. maybe you can write her back and ask to tag team and trade off each month? She was at least nice enough to ask you... :( Sorry

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  23. No, it's not easy to say no...even though I just did.

    I was raised in a family where everyone pretended everything was great. We all played nice...no confrontation...no assertiveness. Avoidance of anything uncomfortable. I've gotten better over the years. I have teens. All I say is NO. As to the blogger, I find it's hard to get a true sense of what's going on based solely on text and no personal interaction. I'm left to read between the lines.

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    1. Isn't it the truth? Several people suggested that I collaborate with her, but I don't even know her!

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  24. I've never had a problem saying no. That mom should be ashamed of herself trying to make you the bad guy! I work at a high school and it amazes me how many parents just can't say no to their children. It's so sad!

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    1. I see it every day in my job too. So many parents want me to be the bad guy.

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  25. hmm, the mom thing was clearly crap, she probably tried to catch you off guard so you would not know what to say, sad she couldn't say NO all by herself and handle it without dragging you along- UGG! The blogger thing would catch me off guard too I think, I guess it was nice she asked but now we need to keep an eye on her and make sure she is not stealing your ideas!!!!! I hope you have a fun weekend planned!

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  26. I totally understand where you are coming from. We work so hard to find ways to grow our blogs and you find something that works for you, then someone comes in and wants to swoop down and use what you worked so hard to cultivate. I would be upset too, however I'm not sure you could have done anything to stop her or anyone else from doing the book club thingy. It just doesn't feel good. The thing with your son was a definite NO!!

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    1. It's so nice to hear from other bloggers who understand how I feel! Thank you!

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  27. Saying no is extremely hard. It's hard to do it in a way that doesn't sound bitchy. I recently had a brand contact me about working with them. TWO people from the same company had already contacted me and I had already written a post about them, so they clearly they weren't organized on their end and didn't do their research. I wrote out a really rude, ranting email first and then edited and edited until it was nicer.
    I also have a partner at work who is a push-over and ALWAYS makes me do the dirty work. At one point I just told her flat out, I'm tired of being the bad guy. You do it. Hard to do, but necessary.

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    1. I can do the dirty work when I have to (at work) but at home and on the blog, I want to be nice. It's tough being mean all the time!

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  28. If you would have said no to the blogger, she probably would have blogged about you saying no ;) I have a hard time saying no and I definitely need thicker skin. Keep on keeping on. I love your blog :) And I think the book club is an awesome idea. I wanted to do it (yours not mine ha) but haven't been able to fit it in yet.

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    1. No worries about the book club...but I'm glad you get where I'm coming from. And I even worried about blogging about it... LOL...

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  29. oh my. I can't believe that other parent wouldn't just tell her son no. She needs to grow a pair also!
    The book club thing was probably a no win situation. I think your readers will stay loyal to you anyway. I think something gets lost when a blog gets too big. They seem so impersonal to me. I love the interaction and knowing that you also read my blog, we are kind of like virtual friends. With a bigger blog it seems one sided and I am not into that

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    1. I feel the same way. I want to keep my blog little and friendly!

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  30. no way it is so hard for me to say no to things too! I've been in countless situations where I really feel uncomfortable or just don't want to do something but say yes and go along with it. In terms of the blogger...I probably would have reacted like you. Isn't it the worst when after the fact you keep thinking about it and are like, "I SHOULD have said XYZ..." But like Christy above said, your readers will stay loyal to you and your community and that is what matters!

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    1. I'm so lucky to have such an awesome community here! :)

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  31. Oh, I definitely have a hard time saying no...something I'm working on. I think the working together with the other blogger would be beneficial for both of you, and it was nice that she at least took the time to email you...I would take it as a compliment and try to move on or collaborate. This is the first time I've visited your blog, but it sounds from all the comments that you have a great number of people who support you and a nice community here. :)

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    1. Thanks for checking out the blog! I'm still a little new at this, and was just surprised by this. And yes, you're right, this community is awesome!

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  32. I would have invited her to join your bookclub as a partner actually. Would have meant more exposure for you if she promoted through her channels. You can probably still message her and say that since you've already done all the leg work etc. it might be easier for her to just join in? I'm not sure how exactly your bookclub works, but it's something to consider!

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    1. If she had been a regular visitor to the blog, I would have considered it, but that was the only time I had ever heard from her. I'm a little cautious like that.

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  33. I feel ya! It's tough when you're in a position to pilot something original (a rarity these days in the blog-o-sphere) and someone else wants a piece of it who may (or may not) have more success with it. I think as long as she links back to you (which would be a great boost for you!), it could work. Much better that she asked you instead of going ahead and doing it. Most wouldn't think twice about it.

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