Summer is here. I work less, sleep in more, & consume more calories. Life is good. But at the same time, life has also felt really busy and jam-packed too. Sometimes, I find myself holding my breath in fear that all the activities are going to combust. I have done this to myself. Because my schedule seems like it should be more "free," I have tried to hang out with friends, catch up with relatives, and call people on the phone. These are all fine and good things to do, but now I am tired. With friends in and out of town and family engagements popping up right and left, I am realizing the need to practice the beauty of the Chinese "no."
The Chinese "no" is basically an indirect way to say that you are not available for something. Instead of telling someone point blank that you do not want to hang out right now, you say it in a more indirect way such as saying, "Oh, this week I am so busy. Let's try for the following week." And of course, you can guess that the next week comes and goes and yu have done nothing to initiate the hang-out. Another way to say no, is to simply not get back to the person. In this way, you don't even have to say anything; you just let that email or text go unanswered until the proposed time of hanging out has passed.
Is this a wrong way to think about hanging out with friends? I don't think so. I love my friends and family, and I will and do make a point to hang out with them. But sometimes, even this social butterfly needs to coccoon and enjoy the slower things of life. Reading a book late into the night, writing nonsense poems, dreaming about the future, praying about needs of friends and future direction. The Chinese "no" allows space for some of these things and keeps my anxious feelings about an overpacked schedule away.