# beauty # Etiquette

The Etiquette of the High Quality "NO" (and My Favorite Mascara)

Before this week's post begins, be sure to check out my video where I show you My Favorite Mascara, Chanel Inimitable Intense. If you are unable to see the embedded video, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

And now for this week's post on Etiquette:

The Etiquette of The High Quality No

The other day I was in the grocery store with my daughter. It was close to dinnertime and I had a few things in my basket. I was placing the items on the conveyor belt to pay when a lady in yoga pants came up from behind me and asked if she could go in front of me because she only had one item to pay for. I looked at her, then I looked at my daughter, then I looked at my very pregnant belly and was absolutely appalled that she would even ask such a question.

Yes, the etiquette stickler in me was horrified that she would ask to go in front of a pregnant lady. In my head I had a lot of responses I wanted to say to her that were not very ladylike. Clearly this woman thought her time was more valuable than mine. But I remembered my stance on always taking the high road and decided to avoid any confrontation.

I think I was at such a loss for words, I just said, “OK”, and let her walk in front of me. She then proceeded to pay for her item but because she didn’t have her club card, took several minutes filling out a form for one. By this time my blood was boiling and I chided myself for not giving her a ‘high quality no’.

I first learned about the high quality no from the philosopher Eckhart Tolle. He says there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying no. That no is a perfectly acceptable response to any question. The key is to say the no without anger, judgment, apologies or negative energy.

A high quality no requires no further explanation and if I were to go back in time to deal with that lady again I would simply have said, “No”, and went on with paying for my groceries. I didn’t need to tell her that I was tired, it was almost dinner time, my daughter was hungry, we had to walk home and I was pregnant to boot! I simply needed to say “No” because it was my prerogative to do so.

So as we navigate this tricky world of etiquette and high quality living, let us embrace the high quality no and not commit to doing anything that we don’t feel comfortable with.

Blog and Book News

This past weekend I was featured on Rayna St. Pierre's wonderful blog, Bright Copper Kettles in an author interview. The interview discusses everything from interiors to morning rituals to culture! To see the interview click here.

Until next time I would love to know… how are you at saying “no”?

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LMK said...

You were more than justified because of your condition. Taking the high road makes us feel good, and perhaps that kharma we so often speak of will come back 100-fold. She may come back into your life again and be just as kind as you were to her. However, if she doesn't remember you (and I bet you remember HER), then exercise that perogative if asked again, then you know she's just a user. There are times in our lives when no good deed goes unpunished, as you found out. Stuff happens.

Having life experience makes you understand that if you want everyone to like you there's a big price to pay in terms of self-esteem, because alot of people don't appreciate it. Either I'm jadded and cynical, or have found my stride and have become better at discerning who is worthy. First time, shame on you; second time, shame on me.

And my favorite mascara is...Maybelline very black waterproof.


Anonymous said...

We all should feel ok saying no but it always feels like when someone offers a compliment. We usually feel the need to downplay. Or maybe thats just me. Any who.... LOVE your blog and book. Try to wear a little color, it will brighten your day;)

Merveilleux said...

What nerve!!! And then to fill out the club card app? Wow...
The "nice" me would says yes too and I would also be seething.

YanaNYC said...

My God.. MY blood was boiling just from reading this story! Yes, some people are just so.. I don't know... impossible so I just have no idea how to react...

Jennifer, what lip product are you wearing in this video?
Are you planning to do a Bare Minerals review in the future? I know you have a few Bare Minerals products, and would like to know your opinion on them.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

This happens all the time at my market. But to ask a pregnant mother with a small child in tow is rather rude.
Good for you to take the high road.

It's all good karma.

Nanne said...

I can't believe how that lady had the nerve to do what she did! So rude and inconsiderate. But I can relate to your reaction, I'm terrible at saying no. Hopefully I can get better at it with a little practice:)

Anonymous said...

This has only happened to me once before: a young lady asking if she could go ahead of me. I must not have been in the mood that day to take the high road. My response to her, along with a nice smile, was "I don't think so; I'm in a hurry, too." The young lady was at a loss for words while I went about my business.

On the other hand, I have at times said to someone behind me with one or two items "Why don't you go ahead of me; I'm in no hurry today." Their appreciation is worth this small gesture and makes me feel good that I made someone's day.

Loved your book, Jennifer!


Kathy said...

I think that some people just seem to think that they are entitled to get whatever it is that they want whenever they want it. Sad, but true that some people can be so selfish and clueless. I live in Florida where rudeness is everywhere, so I have no trouble politely saying no with a smile on my face. I have also been in line with a huge cart of groceries and let someone with one or two items go in front of me even though they didn't ask. Maybe that makes up for my no's!

I got your kindle book! I look forward to reading it after I finish what I am reading at the moment!

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

I have gotten better about saying 'no' but 'sorry' still peppers my speech!

Oh I cannot stand people like the woman in the grocery store! Rude rude rude. Not that I want to be rude either but sometimes trying to "be nice" doesn't help when people are only taking advantage. No thanks. Been there, done that!

Joni said...

Oo! I was steaming as I read your post. The nerve of that woman. Clearly, she was clueless and should have known better than to even ask you.

Saying no is difficult, though. But as I get older, I find it a little easier -- especially when I have my 4- and 6.5-year-old in tow. I have a feeling that the more we use a high quality no, the more comfortable we'll become with it.

You have karma on your side, and you've learned something from this life experience.

My favorite mascara for some time now has been L'Oreal's Voluminous.

tinkonthebrink said...

A dear friend taught me to just say no, with a big friendly smile. In situations where it will work, she says "No thank you" also with the big smile. One of the best lessons I've ever been gifted with.

suzan said...

i'm very good at saying no. but never knew that it was okay all the time i was thinking that me being selfish helped my family. now i can say good bye to unnecessary guilt.

last year my mean neighbor invited me & my kids for play date. we do this all the time. but i don't have good opinion about them because they steal my vegetable & my herbs from my garden even though i share some vegetables to her. anyway that day she asked me directly like "let's put a gate" so that she will have full control. i was shocked my backyard is my private sanctuary you know. i call her kids over all the time but giving full control to them. that day i just said "NO" no explanation nothing. she is not talking to me like before but its fine with me wow long story

Elukes said...

It is difficult to say "no" without sounding rude or haughty. What would Madame Bonhomie say? I imagine her saying "Don't worry, we will be done soon, " (en francais, of course) with a smile. Best of luck with your remaining days of pregnancy! Enjoyed you book....

Anonymous said...

etiquette? I think that word has disappeared from the dictionary or t least from the population daily encounters!!!

Yes a no would have been more than adequate, I am an old lady you should see what I get, fortunately I am very fiesty which always throws off the offender!!!
All the best with your pregnancy.

Annie v.

designchic said...

Oh, I know how you feel, but certainly feel something good will come from this...so hard to take the high road sometimes though...

Luli said...

I have recently learned the art of saying no with a smile. I am 33 and this is very recent for me. All through my 20s I said yes and overwhelmed myself. Now I just say "non" :). Sometimes I offer an explanation and sometimes I don't. If I was in that market and I saw that lady ask you that question, I would have probably told to step in line. Which I'm sure is considered rude, but nothing irks me more than disregarding pregnant ladies. If this were in France, it would never have happened.

Anonymous said...

This is a touchy subject as I was almost arrested for saying no. A lady at the movies came in 5 mins before the show and wanted me and my friend to move down so her and her friend could sit in our very good seats. I said NO. She was upset, she acted entitled to the seats that we had been in for 20 mins. She got the usher and when he asked us, again we said no. Some creep from the back thought we were being rude for saying no and butted into our situation. He said very rude things to me so I responded in kind. Needless to say the scared usher got the police and we were asked to leave. It still makes me mad. Especially since the "entitled" lady probably sat in MY seat. LOL. I questioned myself for days about whether or not I was right to say no. This article just made me feel better about saying NO.

kim at northerncalstyle. said...

Jennifer, Can't believe that story. That woman really had some nerve. You are so right about the ,"No', without explanation. That is all you needed, but we aren't raised to say no are we? It's really part of our culture and women. We want to please and I have to say I'd probably do exactly as you did and be grumbling after too..

Loving all your posts!

Best wishes with your pregnancy !


Genevieve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristi said...

You are just gorgeous!. I love that description of the high quality no. I am good at saying no, now, but I like the description of saying it with no other emphasis (not angrily or defensively, etc.)
I would love to see more about your wardrobe because I think we have similar styles ... hope your writing is going well. I'm on that roller coaster ride, feel like it's any second, but I could be ridiculously optimistic. Will keep you posted. Best Kristi

Laura Gail said...

Being a girl from the deep South, you can imagine that we rarely use the word "no". It's all about manners down here and even if something is the biggest inconvenience, we will still do it and not say no. LOL. But it was rather insensitive of that lady to ask to go ahead of a pregnant woman with a toddler. I feel like people just don't respect mothers anymore and that our culture just doesn't value children. Anyone who has ever gone shopping with a toddler would know what a feat it is to make it though a grocery store trip without having to leave the store in the middle of a fit with no groceries. But it was kind of you to let her go in front of you and I think that you took the high road by not saying something. I feel sorry for her and her obvious rudeness and lack of manners.

My favorite mascara is NYC in extreme length in black. It's $2 at Wal-Mart and for me they all just look the same once I put them on. But I have always loved cheap mascara. I would rather spend more money on really great tinted moisturizer or my favorite lip gloss because that is how I have my cosmetics budget structured. Plus the NYC brand is very water-soluble and it's easy to remove at night with water and gentle face cleanser.

Blessings, LGC

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry this happened. What if she would have been quick about it, graciously said thank you and then you saw an elderly parent waiting for her. You would have felt great. These people ruin it for everyone else.

It is wonderful you have your young daughter out walking. You will not regret it. I used to walk my older daughter to grade school and her little sister tagged along. Of course, I picked up my daughter after school. In fact, we brought along a few neighbor kids, also. So my little girl at age two was walking at least 2.5 miles a day. Now she has run a marathon and a half marathon. Big sister and the neighbor kids are fit, too. LOL! Oh, yeah, and me, too!

Of course it is good for our minds, too.

I am of the pink and green mascara in Very Black. Capitals are theirs. :) It must be important. :)

Moms are very important!!!


Karen in France said...

Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I have been living overseas now for almost 13 years. The first 8 years were spent living in the capital city of a developing country. There were so many requests of us, it became a necessity to learn to say no in a gracious way. I do not say no easily either!
However, the phrase I chose to use is, "Thank you so much for asking, but not today." While that exact phrase may not work in every situation, a version of it may be appropriate in most circumstances!

Have a great day being a wonderful wife and mother! Thank you for the interesting posts. I love reading them!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Wow, what a terrific response- thank you all for weighing in on this subject! Yes, I was very frustrated with myself. Of course if I could sense an urgency with this woman (an emergency, or waiting for an elderly relative or something) I would have let her go in front of me and not thought twice about it. But that simply was not the case as I found out after she took forever to apply for her club card!

I must give her compassion and move on although I have to say the incident made me very angry. I think it's little injustices like these that give us a thicker skin as we grow older and allow us to speak up for ourselves more.

Thank you for all of your advice. I love your comments- everything from saying "No" with a smile to to the other elegant responses you suggested. They are all high quality nos in their own way.

Some of your stories are remarkable too! Suzan- your neighbor stealing your vegetables (and wanting to install a gate for easier access!) - unbelievable.

And Anon being kicked out of the movie theatre for not moving in her seat. I can relate to that one. I have no tolerance for bad movie etiquette and have been asked several times to move over when a late comer arrives- the answer is always no. If I go out of my way to plan to get to the theatre early and choose an ideal seat there is very little that would make me move! ;)

To answer some of your questions- the (YanaNYC) the lipstick I am wearing in the video is Chanel Rouge Allure Laque #75 (red). It's a lovely lipstick. And yes, I will do a Bare Minerals video one day (hopefully soon). I have gotten many requests for it.

Also thank you all for your mascara recommendations.

And thank you for the well wishes for the pregnancy! All is going well although my stomach is much larger this second time around and I am in considerable discomfort throughout the day. Only three more months to go! :)

Sending love.

Jennifer x

beautywoome said...

Well said... especially in the US, I always feel like I have to be so apologetic if I say no to something so that it always comes out 'no, I'm sorry'! I'm slowly moving away from the apologetic no and feeling bad if I'm not accommodating (what sort of nonsense have we been taught that we always think we have to accommodate!?). The high-quality no is sufficient!

Anonymous said...

While the high quality no, in my book is much easier between acquaintances and strangers, it is the low quality no between good friends that yanks at the very core of my conscience. Often times tangled in subversive language, lies and all sorts of deviation, it is hard to unravel. To unearth the definitive "no" with out the hurtful excuses requires an energy that leaves one to wonder what exactly just happened?
An excellent post!
And I LOVE my Burt's Bees lip color, Fig. A fine recommendation by The Hostess of The Humble Bungalow

Jennifer Baldwin said...

Curiously, the opposite happened to me on Monday morning. I had just dropped off my kids at school, and I went to the grocery store by myself. (It's really quite glorious to do errands when kids become school age.) As I was nearing the only open checkout lane, a woman was approaching from another direction, pushing a semi-full cart and pulling a little red wagon with two restless young boys. I was clearly going to get there first, but I stopped and let her go ahead of me, saying "I'm sure you're in a bigger hurry than I am, go ahead."

Not that I'm the image of grace and patience... because if I'd been in your shoes when Miss Yoga Pants downward-dogged her way ahead in line, I'd have flipped out. The High Quality "NO" will be difficult to adopt, but I'll give it a try.

Shelley said...

It isn't the first thing we are taught to say, is it? No - we women are taught to be 'nice' and 'compliant'. She, on the other hand was being quite selfish. You might have had the option of asking her to do the club card application another time, given that you let her in front of you. That would have been perhaps easier than saying no, or maybe harder, I'm not sure. If it's any comfort, the older I get the easier I find it to be a bit more assertive, to 'take up my own space'. There had better be some sort of recompense for lost youth, eh!?

Anonymous said...

As Lucia says, "Everything impromptu must be sketched out first". I would devise your answer and stick to it in sticky situations, then it'll become what comes to mind first thing rather than eliciting the deer-caught-in-headlights response.

Rose said...

I detest rudeness, I think my colleagues think I'm really old fashioned and odd but where I work no one says please or thank you anymore and I find it really depressing.

That lady was rude, I find checking out at shops can be stressful though, you are spending money but you are made to feel rushed and I don't have a baby or anything!

The Gold Digger said...

I learned how to say "no" when I lived in Memphis. I asked several women if they would volunteer for this neighborhood thing and all of them told me, "Oh darlin' I wish I could! I do! But I just can't!"

It wasn't until I hung up the phone that I realized I had been turned down. But turned down so nicely!

Anonymous said...

I've had this happen at the Supermarket once before, when I was in a hurry and had already started unpacking my basket.

Without thinking, I just blurted out "No" which surprised me because I'm not usually very assertive.

After a second, I did turn back and add "Perhaps you could ask someone in one of the other lines".

(and she did...but no-one else let her in)

Katy said...

I work in downtown San Francisco, and I am constantly approached by people asking for money, etc. I usually cop out and say I don't have any cash, because they can't argue with you about that, and sometimes I'll just say Sorry, no. But then I have to ask myself why I'm apologizing... I find it hard to say no, and I find it hard not to apologize all the time! It's good to realize that gratuitous apologies are not necessary and that we can honor our own time and commitments by not always agreeing to do everything we're asked to!

Jess said...

This is a really great story! An important lesson, for sure. I have people in my life, for example, my sister, who think that it "never hurts to ask," and I am appalled that they would even consider asking certain things! My sister recently asked me if I would write a paper for her, and I told her I would never write a paper for her! Maybe if we continue to say "no" to people who ask for ridiculous things, they might get the message that their requests are absurd!

Unknown said...

Pity that woman for her limitations! One day, when she has children herself, she will think that she is entitled to every seat in the train, to every parking spot nearest to the exit, to always go first, and she will wonder why people are not really helpfull. If she didn't apologize to you for the delay she caused, she is hopeless - maybe the type that think mothers are some sort of vegetating cattle and should make way for people who have real lives and responsibilities. Some of those learn later - and some just never do.