Replying to "Noticing a Consent Problem"

Offering multiple concrete choices can be a good idea if you notice that the person you’re talking to says ‘yes’ OR 'no’ more than usual.

My sister seems to have the opposite issue that you’re describing here; she replies with “no” to a lot of statements, even if I’m suggesting something she usually likes (like going to a movie). And similar to another reader’s experience, open-ended questions can get overwhelming for her. If I ask, “If you don’t want to go to the movies, what do you want to do this afternoon?” she usually answers, “I don’t know”. But if I say, “Would you rather spend time alone?” she’ll say, “No”. At this point I used to walk away, and I would tell her where to find me when she figured out what she wanted to do. Both of us would feel lonely after this happened.

But a few years ago I changed my strategy. The best response from me is the same as for the consent problem you described. If I offer my sister three or four choices of activities, she can figure out what she wants a lot better. And we can go through options or variations until she can communicate what she actually wants to do. We have a lot more fun when we spend time together now!

The Presumptive Close

The presumptive close is a manipulative social technique. What it means is closing an interaction in a way that presumes that the outcome will be what you want it to be. This can be applied in various contexts with various effects.

In a business context, the presumptive close is a social move that goes unspoken but is often expected as a part of normal professional interaction. Some examples of situations in which presumptive closes may be used:

  • making a deal
  • asking for a raise
  • interviewing for a job

An example of a presumptive close in a job interview:

Interviewer: We’ll call you back if we’re interested in a second interview.
Job Seeker: Great, I’ll talk to you soon!

When the job seeker says “I’ll talk to you soon” rather than something like “I hope to hear from you,” they are presuming that the interviewer will definitely want a second interview. This communicates confidence, which may in turn make the second interview more likely.

In a social context, or in a situation where the person using the technique has more power than the person they’re using it on, a presumptive close can be used to cross boundaries, and make people feel like they can’t say no. In a social context, the use of a presumptive close may also be less obvious, or less conscious.

An example:

Person 1: Can you drive me to work tomorrow?
Person 2: I’m not sure. I’ll think about it.
Person 1: Okay, I need to leave by nine.

It’s worth being able to recognize this technique, in order to more easily maintain boundaries.

Things that may help.

This tells you what acronyms might mean. Before I had this, I had no idea what AFAIK (as far as I know) or LMAO (laugh my a** off) or anything meant. This is easy for me to use and helps pretty well.

Warning:Web page colors might be triggering. It’s bright green over black with blue at the sides.

This lists many American idioms. Idioms are in yellow, explanations in white. The letters at the top are clickable; you can click them and they’ll take you to the letter you’ve chosen.

Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia, and TV Tropes can also be really helpful.

[content warning for brief mention of drug use and self harm]

I want to talk about something that has come up for me when applying/asking for assistance from health care providers, doctors, therapists etc (but I think it also happens with friends, relatives and co-workers/teachers etc). 

I just applied for disability assistance and this involved a fair bit of paper work and assessment of my disabilities, limits and abilities to figure out what I need help with and what I can do on my own. People go through lists of issues and ask if I have them, and almost invariably in these situations they will come to more stigmatised things like delusions, hallucinations, psychosis, and instead of asking me like they did with every other item on the list they just say that obviously I don’t have them and go to the next point. This happened also with things like personal hygiene (I am able bodied; this is probably different with people with physical disabilities) and around intelligence and language abilities and sometimes with drug use and self harm.

This happened usually during the first appointment I ever had with these people, meaning they had known me for only ten or twenty minutes. This makes it extra blatant, but especially as a health care provider you should not make these assumptions no matter how long you’ve known a patient.

This puts me in a very awkward position because the other person has just made it clear that they think the issue in question is somehow too shameful to even ask if it may apply to me, so if I DO have any of those things it has now become extra difficult to admit to them. It is already difficult to admit to having stigmatised health issues, but this makes it ten times harder. 

So you should never skip these kinds of questions or answer them yourself because there is a high risk of people not speaking up and correcting you and ending up not recieving vital care. And these are people who may already have a hard time getting access to health care because stigmatisation and ableism make it extra hard for them to ask for help or even consider that they might be allowed to get care.

Food Delivery

I’m no expert, but here’s what I know.

Most food delivery people use their own method of transportation, and pay for their own gas, which is why a 15% tip is a pretty good standard minimum.  Delivery fees almost never go to the driver, this is especially true of chain stores like Pizza Hut (local businesses may treat people better). 

As for a general how to?  I order online because it’s easier for me to avoid using the phone and it limits the number of times I have to talk to people, I’ll put some links to websites that make that easier down below.  Then I wait.  I have some mobility issues that make it harder to get up quickly so about the time the food is supposed to arrive I get up and wait by the door.

The delivery person should confirm your name or order and give you your food it set inside, then either take your cash (including tip) and hand you a receipt or take your credit card.  If you pay with a card, you’ll have to sign it etc. and either tip with cash or write the tip and total down for the driver.

I’m not sure what else to include, these are all the things I wish I’d known the first time I ordered in on my own.

Most major pizza places will deliver, but pizza is a pretty limited selection and not all other places that deliver have online ordering on their website, a lot of local places are set up with eat24 though.  eat24 lets you see all the places that will deliver to you, when you want it, in one place and then lets you order from any of them.  Here is the link

I haven’t used grubhub before, but it’s pretty much the same thing.  I checked it out, it gave me the same resaults as eat24 but they have less contrast between text and background which may or may not be an issue for you (it is for me) but here is the link:

Just wanted to comment on the ‘instruments and things people are protective of’ thread.

I do martial arts that involve weapons, and when people see my practice swords and staff, they frequently assume that they can touch them or mess around with them. It’s a little known fact that in martial arts classes, we’re taught that our blunted or wooden practice weapons should be treated like real weapons, with a lot of respect; for example, I would never knowingly touch the 'sharp’ side of a wooden practice sword. You even bow to the sword before you use it for practice. 

So you should ALWAYS ask about touching someone’s weapon, even if it’s in a sheath. And you shouldn’t be too disappointed if the person who owns the weapon says no. Thanks!

In response to the staring/eye contact anon. I’m from the UK and I think we might have slightly different rules for politeness, so this may not all apply to the US. But I think staring is sometimes considered rude purely because it implies a desire to get a lot of information about someone. For example, it might mean:

  • You find someone sexually attractive and want to get a good look at their appearance. Most of the time it’s considered impolite to tell someone (even implicitly through staring) that you find them sexually attractive, except in specific situations (for example, I think it’s more acceptable at night clubs and similar places). If you are male-presenting and looking at a female-presenting person, this may make them feel especially threatened.
  • You are afraid of someone, or don’t trust them. If you are watching someone do something but not in conversation with them, it might seem like you want to make sure they don’t do something you don’t want them to. For example, if they are in your house, it might seem like you are expecting them to steal or break something. This would be considered impolite because it (seemingly) involves making an assumption and judging someone negatively based on it.
  • You think someone is strange-looking. This applies especially in the case of visible disabilities such as wheelchair use, missing limbs, etc. Staring at people might make it seem like you are surprised or even disgusted by the way they look, which can be upsetting. But this same rule applies to people who aren’t visibly disabled. Being stared at may make someone feel insecure about their appearance. For example, they might think “Is there something on my back?” or even “Am I so ugly it makes people stare at me?”. Which can be upsetting.
  • There are probably other examples, but these are the ones I thought of first.

Those rules tend to apply the most when staring at someone who you are not in conversation with, particularly a stranger in a public place. But they also apply in a slightly less strong way during conversation and social settings.

Hi Im a low-income vegan with executive function problems so I thought Id try to list some foods that help me get by when Im having trouble with meals.

Oatmeal can be super helpful. It keeps you full for a while, is easy to make (heat water, add it to oatmeal, bam done) and you can throw some fruits and nuts in there too. I personally hate the texture of oatmeal, so I use bulgur wheat instead which is really similar. Im sure you can find some other alternatives pretty easily if you google it.

Frozen vegetables are super cheap (1-2$ a bag) and you can cook them on the stove in around 5 minutes usually. If you can afford it, fresh vegetables are great because you can just eat them raw.

Kale is also cheap, usually a dollar for a big bunch of it, and you can just snack on it raw. If you dont like the taste, put some olive oil and salt on them and pop them in the oven for a few minutes.

Potatoes- cheap and filling. It does take them a long time to cook, but its a simple process. just poke some holes, rub some vegetable oil on them, and stick them in the oven. takes about an hour, just dont forget to set a timer or something! (you can also microwave them in about 5 minutes. not as tasty and you lose some nutrition, but its so much easier)

Trail mix- not much else to say about this. cheap, tons of nutrients, delicious, and you dont have to prepare anything. (you could also make your own)


When I have extra cash I try to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, theyre a pretty important part of your diet and you can just keep them nearby to eat raw whenever you dont have the energy to cook.

For times that you do have the energy to cook things, make double the amount so you can have leftovers that you can quickly reheat later. Rice and beans are a good choice because combined, they make a complete protein, plus they are super cheap.

Check to see if your grocery store has a reduced produce section. You can get slightly bruised/old fruit for about half the price. Some places have reduced grocery too, and they mark things down really really cheap just because the box is a little dented etc.

An answer about messages

NOTE: I didn’t write this. It’s a submission. I haven’t tried doing it this way, but it seems to me that it would work:

To effectively leave a phone message:

  1. Write a list of what you need to convey - if you get nervous on the phone this is a good tip in general to call, because you might end up forgetting what you need to say as soon as that person picks up – happens to everybody!
  2. The most important things to include are your identity (name), reason for calling (to make an appointment? because they called you first but you missed it? to inquire or speak to somebody in particular in the building?), and your contact details (your cell/mobile or telephone number, email address).
  3. For example, your list could say: my name is John Smith, inquiring about doctor’s appointment, call back on xxx-xxxxx, evenings.
  4. Listen very carefully to any instructions you’re given on the answerphone. If you didn’t catch it the first time there is no harm in hanging up before the beep, calling, and listening again. Keep a pen to hand to make notes in the meantime.
  5. State your answer in the clearest way possible; you may be nervous, so aim to speak slowly and clearly. You won’t sound silly: the other person who will receive the message will be grateful that they can hear you clearly. Repeating certain details helps a lot too as hearing a number twice will allow the other person time to copy it down accurately.
  6. For example: “Hello there, I would like to make/ask about booking an appointment. My name is John Smith. Please call me back on my cellphone, my number is (speaking slowly) xxx-xxxxx. That’s xxx-xxxxx. I’ll be able to answer your call between 4 and 7pm any day of the week. Otherwise my e-mail address is john[at]email[dot]com. Thank you, goodbye.” Don’t hang up without an end greeting.
  7. You can alter this formula for informal things too, such as calling friends or family. If they already know your number just let them know that you’ll respond to a text more quickly, or when you’ll be available to receive a call.