May 1, 2011

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How not to Share your Stuff

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an only child, in part, because I don’t enjoy sharing my stuff. Thinking back on my childhood, I’m still haunted by memories for having to share, split, compromise and/or wait for my turn. It sucked.

selfish ducks How not to Share your Stuff

I spent years sharing with a older sister who got everything first and a selfish little brother who cried like a girl if he didn’t get his way. Sharing with either of them was bad, but admittedly, my sister caused the most damage.

Growing up, I had to share clothes!  Yes, I wore hand me downs!  AND my insensitive sister intentionally made sharing worse. She would take an outfit that she knew one day would be handed down to me, fart in it, giggle and remind me that one day it would be Mine!

Permanently scarred, years later as an image consultant, I know that sharing is good for your image, but I’m still not the sharing type. That’s not to say that haven’t tried to learn how to share. I have, unfortunately, all attempts have failed me. It may be selfish but What’s Mine is Mine and if I happen to share it, its still Mine – just shared!

Luckily, a saving grace – and image tactic – is to embrace your inner selfish-nicity and know that in most adult situations, sharing is optional. Of course, there will be times when you will want to share or when its best to share but that doesn’t have to apply to everybody and everything.

So, rather than learn how to share, your time may be better spent learning The Art of not Sharing and the politically correct way to say No.

If you want to avoid the image of Selfish-nicity, here’s some image advice that I can share with you so that you can keep your stuff to yourself. Appropriately called: How not to Share.

How to not share Tools: Tell them you would but you don’t think its safe because he last time you used it – it sparked and shocked you.

How to not share Books: Tell the person you would gladly loan them the book but it fell in the toilet and a few pages got wet so you don’t think they’d want it.

How to not share Clothes: First, grown men should never share clothes! But if you are against the wall, say it was a Father’s day gift or a Mother’s Day gift.

How to not share Personal items: Try the above or tell the person it was a special gift from someone who is dead and probably not a good idea to share it.

How to not share a Car: Tell the person you care about them but you have a safety concern about the car and need to take it to the mechanic before putting someone else’s life at risk.

How to not share Money:
Money is borrowed, not shared but in case it comes up, tell the person that you are saving up for some kind of needed surgery and they will generally leave you alone. They may even offer to contribute.

How to not share Dessert: First agree to share it, then start talking over it and let out a little cough, apologize and ask if they still wan it. Usually they will say no thank you.

How to not Share with your Kids: In this case, sometimes its better to say yes and then use the fear factor. Tell them, you can use it but if something happens, you’re going to pay dearly. Let their imagination kick in and they won’t want to borrow it.

How to not share Professional Advice: This is a sticky one, but maybe you can adapt my response to your profession. As an image consultant, people ask “How do I look?” I respond with I’d like to help but without knowing more about you market, message and goals™, I’m concerned you won’t the information you need. Would you like to schedule an appointment with me?

How to not Share Personal Information: Say to the person, “that’s a strange question, why do you ask,” that will normally shut them up. If they persist, act like a politician and evade the question.

How to not share Anything at all: Whatever the item in question, you can always use the fallback phases Under normal circumstances, I would, but today is not a good day. Or my personal favorite, I would but my Father would roll over in his grave – nobody wants to see that happen so they don’t ask twice.

The next time someone asks for something, don’t feel guilty about not sharing, not everything is meant to be shared.

Image Tip:
The secret to not sharing is to maintain a positive personal image and at the same time say No. It helps to offer a plausible reason but technically, you don’t even have to do that. But this usually works better than saying Hell to the Nah!

So, how do you feel about sharing?

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