BENGALURU: Is it OK to accept a proposal right away? Or should one make the interested party wait a bit, sweat it a little? Is there such a thing as saying ‘Yes’ too early, or too easily? Will your ‘yes’ be valued a little less if it did not have to be really fought for? Or worse, will you be valued less for having said ‘Yes’ quickly - will your reputation be at stake?
If you looked at your own history with these questions, you probably have an answer already, and maybe you have had experiences of holding back your ‘yes’ just because that is what is expected. Where does this expectation come from? Who wrote the rule book on these matters?
There is so much emphasis in our stories, myths and legends of how people wooed each other. Faces that launch a thousand ships, and quests across oceans on one rickety old boat just to fetch than one unique gift that will win the ‘Yes,’ bows that were broken, vows that were made, romantic missives, and sometimes, even romantic missiles. Our stories of love and wooing the one you love are full of hardships, striving and proving to the object of one’s affection how much one is in love really. Naturally then, we are socialized to heavily value wooing and being wooed.
It is the fruit of hard labour that is sweet, traditional wisdom says. Low-hanging fruit doesn’t quite get the respect it deserves, just because it is low-hanging, easy pickings. In fact, in as much as love goes, easy availability actually gets a downgrade, with aspersions on character thrown in for good measure.
The rule book has come down to us from generations of experience, and that does not necessarily mean it is true or valuable. In fact, often times, it is really hurtful. Like in the case of these questions we asked at the outset: Can you really say ‘Yes’ when you want to?
For so many of us, all that this fictional rule book has meant is that we don’t have the vocabulary to express simple desire and simple consent. We cannot easily convey consent nor can we actually have the reasonable expectation that we can express an interest and can have an honest response in return.
Where it really begins to hurt is when people, who are by now used to not hearing an honest ‘Yes,’ start to think that when someone says ‘No,’ it really is only a challenge to work that much harder, show that much more obsession and go that extra mile to prove worthy of the ‘Yes.’
It has blinded so many of us to the idea that a No is a No, and a Maybe is still not a Yes. Of course, it also hurts when you want to say ‘Yes’ but act disinterested, and unfortunately, get taken at face value and end up losing. If you buy into this rule book, then like it or not, these risks come free with it.