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How Soon ‘Not Right Now’ Becomes ‘Never’

For years my children have heard me use the phrase “Not right now” as their response to a question they had asked me.  I had never took the time to realize what that meant to them, until our daughter brought up the fact that people who say “Not right now” really mean there is a 90% chance your answer is no, it will never happen. Our daughter’s answer made me stop and think.

Why do I use the response “Not right now?” because she right.  I do normally mean the word no. I haven’t given any additional thought to it, it is not a possibility. Since she brought it to my attention, I have witnessed many additional people use the saying too.  I decided to conduct a little experiment to test a theory.  Do people over use the phrase and really want to say no, but chose to use the phrase instead. I have kept track of people and their response to their “Not right now” reply.  My list of people studied spans from volunteers, family, friends, school officials I have dealt with, a doctor, a lawyer and my own family. So, far in every case, the words “Not right now” have meant no.

I have followed up with the people who have given me this answer and asked the follow-up question.  The same question I asked previously and got the “Not right now” response the first time, became a dominate no the second time around.

That phrase is one phrase I am going to try to eliminate from my vocabulary.  If I mean no, I will say it.  “Not right now” for most people is a cop-out phrase.  It means they do not want to deal the question being asked. I am voiding saying no.

Instead of using this phrase I have to retrain my brain to use a direct response.  A yes or a no.  If I really mean “not right now”, I will tell the person asking that I can’t give them an answer at this time and they can ask me at another time or can I get back with them when I have made my decision.

Applying this to my life in an appropriate way has already resulted in positive results.  I feel I am communicating with the outside world with ease.  It has also resulted in positive light dealing with my own thoughts and actions.  When I find myself trying to use the excuse  “Not right now” to answer my own question or suggestion, it gives me a chance to reflect back and find my reason for not wanting to do it at this exact moment.


I have found when I am reflecting back to try to answer why I would give the answer “not right now”  it is usually pretty clear that it stems from a perception problem.  I want to try to be the best person I can for myself and others.  I don’t want to let myself or the people around me down.  So, I give the “Not right now” as an excuse to get out of dealing with it at the moment.  A nice cushy…just don’t give an answer, so that the truth doesn’t hurt myself or others.

The saying “Not right now” has made me very lazy in my time commitment to myself over the past year. I am going to try to turn that around.  I need to get back on the wagon and care for myself and start appreciating the body I was given.  Stressing less about my outward appearance and deal with my mind and make a game plan on what items matter most to me. Do you find yourself doing this? Does “Not right now” become never for you?

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