Just Say No

Everyone has heard of how you should be positive, have a life where you say “yes” all the time. Banish the word no, it’s negative. You can sometimes feel you need to say yes in social situations. “Yes, I’ll go out tonight” when you don’t want to, “Sure, I’ll do you this favour”, “Of course I can do that”. You end up saying yes to things you don’t want to because you feel obliged to do so. We’re too nice! But saying yes can cause problems, sometimes hilariously so (for those looking on from outside!) and this article looks at why a firm “No, sorry but I don’t want to” is important in life.


We’ve all been asked to do things in life we don’t want to or don’t feel comfortable with. Sometimes it’s because we are lazy and just can’t be bothered, sometimes it’s because it’s awkward. I bet everyone reading this has said yes to things, events, people and situations they didn’t want to. Whether it be a night out, wearing fancy dress, eating something, going somewhere, we all get roped into things because we don’t give a firm enough no. However, it can be a problem. Recently a friend of mine was asked to be a God Mother and said yes. Then she realised she needed to be baptised but wasn’t. She is not a religious person, in fact, she is far from it. She told the parents that she wouldn’t be able to go ahead with it if that was a requirement but they persevered with asking her until she felt under pressure to say yes. Being too nice to say no (repeatedly) resulted in her saying she would get baptised despite not liking or even agreeing with religion. She has since put her foot down and declined the role but only after getting in an awkward situation (though the rest of us found it amusing).

My dad always said that we would have no more pets. We were a pet free house for about three years until mum found a stray kitten and took it in. Dad, Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 23.57.21knowing he was up against mum and three daughters who were in love with the fluffy bundle of cuteness, knew he would be ignored so didn’t bother saying no even though he didn’t want it as a pet. He should have said no though. Turns out the kitten was pregnant, we now have a house of eight cats. He didn’t say no to keeping the new arrivals even though he wanted to give them away. Us women are very persuasive!

It’s something we have all done. I have said yes to things that I have had doubts about, didn’t feel comfortable with, didn’t want to do. I’ve lost count of how many times I have gone out to events I didn’t want to or seen people I didn’t feel in the mood to see and it can be awkward. I’ve said yes to things I knew I shouldn’t have and it rarely works out well. If you think long and hard, you too will be able to list many occasions you’ve fallen foul to saying yes instead of no.

Why Do We Do It?

Social acceptance and expectancy means we end up feeling rude by saying no when really we should. No one likes doing things they don’t want to do yet we also don’t want to be the person who lets others down, is considered negative or never bothers. Saying yes is important on occasion so you show willing, but knowing when to say no and make sure it sticks is also important for your own happiness. By being too nice you end up in sticky situations which then become awkward and out of control. Sometimes we need to do things for ourselves and not others and if that means saying no once in a while then so be bit. If you don’t, you end up living a life where you try to please everyone else all of the time and your needs and feelings get pushed aside and that’s not fair. Don’t be scared to say no and don’t be upset when others say it to you now and then, we all need some no time!

~ Image source for no: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-g-uk ~


3 thoughts on “Just Say No

  1. Hi Nikki,

    This was a great post on an important topic. I personally have been one who always used to say “yes”. I guess it’s because I love building rapport and relationships. However, there were times when I would say “yes” and wish afterwards I didn’t. Hence, I’ve been getting better at saying “no”. Life is to short and there’s no point agreeing to certain things that don’t make us happy.

    • Hi Hiten,

      I think that’s true of most people. We feel roped into saying yes even if it’s against our best interests. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. The older we get, the more comfortable we are to be firm, especially with people we know.

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