Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How do I say NO?

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  • #879717 Reply

    Hi guys. I’ve never used an advice forum before, in fact i searched “advice forum” on google to find this one so hopefully I get a good response. On to the point.

    I am a univeristy student who works casually and recently my neighbour asked me to help tutor her kindergarten daughter (who is a bit behind compared to her peer) with her homework and such. She asked if I could tutor her 5 times a week unless I had work (and I didn’t hear how long but I assumed it was 1 hour per day). Which I gladly accpeted. This was before all the COVID-19 lockdowns. Turns out teaching kindergarten is more dofficult than any other grade.

    My neighbours are really nice, even helped me get my job and cook me so many delicious foods, my mum cooks them food too (although not as great in my opinion). One day when I was leaving the dad asked me for my bank details to pay me but I refused. I didn’t mind 1 hour for 5 days (this is before I realised I was spending 1.5 hours per day for 1 homework question) and said “no no, you guys make me so much food I don’t need money”. Ever since that they’ve been making me more food which made me feel kinda gulity, but I didn’t want to get paid still cause that would be awkward, it’s like asking a friend to pay you for a favour.

    The problem beigns when schools shutdown because of COVID-19, which means no more homework but her school work is done at home now. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS BAD. Luckily uni had shutdown for a week at the same time for me and I no longer had work so I had a lot of free time (even though I wished to catch up on my work then). The mum even asked if I could come earlier now. School work is wa,y way longer than homework (which were 4 questions only that I had a week to complete) and now I was spending at least 3 hours a day, 5 days a week at their house tutoring, and teaching kindergarten is so difficult I get too tired.

    Now uni has started and I’m still going to their house spending so much of my time tyring to teacher a kindy kid which makes me so tired and frustrated and I don’t have time for myself to do my own uni work. I can’t blame them because I didn’t say no beacuse I’m too awkward and scared to dney people’s requests. Please teach me how I can do this in a nice way!!! I don’t want to get paid but it’s still really bothering me that I’m spending more than 15 hours a week with the kid and having no energy left for myself.

    My question is how can I tell them in the nicest way possible that I can only attend 1 hour per day for 5 days now? I don’t want to excatly say “no I can’t do this anymore”, I wih I had the guts to, but I can’t. or is there another way to make it easier for me?? I have so many assignments due at the end of this week and I’m so worried

    #879718 Reply

    Ok no. This is pure bullshit. You’re doing serious work here for no pay and that’s not all right, food aside.

    You need to just say to them, to their face, that your uni classes have started up again and your workload is such that you no longer have time for side work, so, regretfully, you will no longer be able to tutor little Olivia. You were glad to be able to help, and hope to be able to do so again when your semester ends.

    At that time, feel free to reach back out and let them know your availability and your hourly rate.

    Do NOT blow off what I’m saying here. They are trying to get you to be their free childcare while the kindergarten is closed. Your time is valuable, and you are not going to be taken advantage of and work for free. You’re a grown woman, dammit, and you need to say what you can and can’t / will or will not do.

    #879722 Reply

    You don’t have to worry about saying it in the nicest way possible, because telling them you no longer have the time to tutor their child for free is not AN UNKIND conversation. It’s just a matter of fact.

    “Uni has started up and I no longer have any free time to tutor your child.”

    Don’t worry about their feelings. Do you think they are worried about the time you’ve spent on them? You don’t have time to tutor. That’s it. It’s very simple. What’s the absolute worst that could happen? It’s not like they’ve been paying you. It’s not like you have been taking advantage of them in anyway.

    #879723 Reply

    Please find some resources to learn how to speak up for yourself because this is slightly ridiculous for an adult. It’s an important life skill to be able to say NO. It’s not rude or unkind.

    #879724 Reply

    And Anonymousse is right, being “nice” isn’t relevant here at all. You’re simply going to let them know the fact that you don’t have time to do anything but your schoolwork, so you can’t babysit or tutor. It’s just the truth.

    #879725 Reply

    You’re probably finding it difficult to say no because you’re afraid they’ll be mad at you, or not like you. And women are socialized to be “nice,” even if you’re being harmed.

    Everyone here is right. You’re simply stating the truth. You don’t have time to be a full-time kindergarten teacher and also be a student. There’s nothing bad, wrong or “not-nice” in what you’re saying. No one would have time to do that, and they had to expect that this was coming. I doubt very much that they expected you to drop out of school to homeschool their kids for free.

    Just say it. “Uni has started up again and I no longer have time to teach for 15 hours a week. I’m still willing to spend an hour helping with homework.”

    #879729 Reply

    Also, it is absolutely reasonable and acceptable to get paid for your time. Making food for your family occasionally (something your family reciprocates) is NOT payment and isnt a fair trade for tutoring and babysitting. Even if you consider these people your friends, it is absolutely acceptable and expected that friends will pay you when you do a professional service for them. A good friend WANTS to pay you. why are you selling yourself short? Seriously you’re letting people take advantage of you.

    “Friends, since my uni classes have started up again I’m not able to spend so much time with Tanya anymore. I can still tutor her for 1 hour a day Monday-Friday starting next week. Also, I’ve been thinking about your offer to pay me for the tutoring and I’d like to revisit that. I’ve realized you were right and it makes sense to charge for my time. I’ve researched the rates and $X/hour is standard for our area, so I was thinking $Y a week. Does that work for you?”

    #879730 Reply

    Letting them take advantage of you is not helpful — to them or to you or to the relationship. It causes problems across the board when you let people use you. You call it a “favor,” but what you’re doing is serious, difficult labor for which people are trained in very specific ways. It’s not a favor. Google “getting paid freelancer.”

    You need to start this right now, because you will have a lot of problems if you don’t learn this. Don’t ever work for free. Ever. Your time is worth something, as you are finding out the hard way.

    I would recommend stopping all tutoring for this child completely. Your boundaries are too poor right now to limit yourself to one hour per day. You would let yourself be talked into more. Just cut it off cleanly. “School has started for me, so I have to focus on my own studies. I don’t have time to tutor anymore.” When they argue and offer you food (for which you will feel guilty), repeat “Thanks, but I don’t have time anymore.” Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t over-explain, don’t justify, don’t compromise. Just repeat the same sentence over and over. That’s how you set a boundary — repetition of the same words.

    #879739 Reply

    It kind of boggles my mind that someone would ask for a tutor for a kindergarten student. My son is in kindergarten. He can read and writes really well, but other kids don’t. There is no expectations that they do. The kids are at all different levels.

    “No, that doesn’t work for me.” That’s a complete sentence. It’s not rude or mean.

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