No, Thank You

An ex-boyfriend of mine used to keep a fortune from a fortune cookie in his wallet that read, “The world belongs to those who know how to say no.” The idea of this was so incredibly foreign to me, at the time. I was 23 and used to juggling 10-15 different people’s needs and mine never came into play. Well, I suppose they did – I was happy if everyone else was. Unfortunately, you can’t make everyone happy all the time, unless you’re dealing with a group of children who ALL want to watch Bambi. But even then, they’re all gonna cry at some point in that movie or need to pee or something. So, yeah, point proven.

Anyway, back to no. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in a position where it is easier to say yes. Four of your friends want to go to eat Indian food and while you may not be in the mood, you’re probably not allergic. So you say okay, all the while moving pieces of food around the plate deciding on which fast food joint you’re going to drive through on your way home. The entire meal you’re probably obviously distracted and no fun for your friends. You’ll self-consciously pretend to chime in when you realize that you’ve been judging a burger contest in your head for 10 minutes. This, however, will make it even more obvious that you haven’t been paying attention, because you’ll probably throw a “that’s so funny” in at the end of a heart-breaking story of euthanasia. The horror on the faces of those around the table will only, if you’re anything like me, make you laugh harder than when you were faking it. You might have solved the original problem by no longer being invited to dinner, but you will also most likely lose a few friends who now think you’re a secret serial killer. They will, on their drive home, not be stopping for food, but instead re-evaluating their friendship with you. Your obsession with Bones, Law & Order (all of them), CSI (all of them), Without a Trace, Cold Case and Criminal Minds is no longer cute, now it’s research.

While I might highly recommend this on certain occasions, this might not be what you were looking for. So, unless you are trying to eliminate certain people from your life, let’s find an alternative.

There is a fine line that separates selfish from self-aware, one that I would suggest you walk carefully. The older you get, the more you will come to appreciate the friendships you have. Lovers, husbands, wives, f**k buddies and prostitutes (if that’s your thing) come and go (no pun intended, but awesome anyway) but your friends will hopefully be there always. I’m fortunate to have a billion siblings that I consider my closest friends but not everyone has that and we certainly don’t choose them, so friendships are super important to maintain. It’s Saturday morning and I would much rather be watching a Law&Order marathon on TNT (because Lord knows they KNOW DRAMA) but one of my best friends in the world, Sophia Rossi, is expecting my latest random rambling for HelloGiggles so here I am, staring at this screen instead of the beautiful one on my wall that is tempting me with all its beautiful colours and stories.

I am, as I type, thinking about how I could just make this a PART 1, a lovely compromise between BFF and TNT, but I know that’s a cop out. Ugh, cop… everything is telling me to turn on the TV. Too bad I already wrote a post on procrastinating. Then again, this isn’t procrastinating, this is just me being distracted. Okay. Back to work.

Knowing how to say no. Yup, that’s what this is supposed to be about. So, I say NO to TV and back to where we were before.

If your attention span is anything like mine, you’re probably drifting away at this point so I will cut to the chase. Knowing when to say no is an art, one that I am still trying to learn, I make lots of mistakes but at the end of the day, I’m not as exhausted as I used to be. I’ve stopped making everyone happy at the expense of my own sanity. If I know that saying “yes” will turn into “Why on earth did I agree to this?” I try to explain why I won’t. Here is a list of justifiable “No, thank you”s:

  • Sky diving for those afraid of heights and not in some cognitive therapy program.
  • Scary movie marathons.
  • Never say yes in a work situation unless you know you can. Everyone loses.
  • Anything when it comes to sex. (My boyfriend hated when I used his fortune in that setting.)
  • Being a bridesmaid. Think long and hard before this one. There is A LOT of annoying stuff involved.

Feel free to add your own. Until next time.

  • Leah Moran

    Totally agree! I always say yes to everything and wonder why I end up tired, cranky and disinterested… I need to give myself a break more.

    We can’t please everyone, but why do we try?!

  • Annette Sanchez

    I suck at saying no. I constantly find myself trying to get myself out of things I should have said no to when I was first asked!

  • Jenny Lazo

    i never say no, and i really need to work on that. it’s not that i don’t want to do the things that i say yes to, it’s just that i really don’t have the time or the money. i just feel bad saying no. it’s terrible really. i have no time for myself now as it is, so i do need to work on that two letter word. thanks for this!

  • Mónica del Pilar

    wow.totally agree!!

  • Michelle Buckland

    We say yes because we have big hearts and we find a reward out of relationships and contribution. Caring is a virtue, but we just need to make sure we care for ourselves first and foremost.

  • Karoline Onsrud

    I was thinking of Indian food the entire time while reading this

  • Becky Goble

    Sad fact is, the people who we say yes to so as not to offend are often the ones who are the first to adamantly tell us no and care less about how that affects us. That has been my experience more times than I care to count!

    • Samantha Ronson


  • Nefarious Newt

    ‘No” is the single hardest word to say, and the single most important word to say. As a parent of a six-year-old daughter, I would much rather tell her “No, we cannot have a swimming pool” and deal with the temper tantrum that generates, than reduce the quality of my life — and hers — by working myself to death to afford to have a pool put it. The single greatest lesson we teach to others is that the idea you just had is not always the best idea. But ‘no’ should never become reflexive; it should always be justifiable. Otherwise, you simply sound like a Republican in Congress.

  • Tati Barrionuevo

    Oh my god! This came just in the right moment for me! I never say no, it makes me feel terrible, but then I always end up being kinda lonely, because I’m surrounded by people who, well, they say no maybe too often…

  • Mo Diaz

    Holly McDonald, there’s no need to bring up dirty laundry from the past…
    I used to be a yes-girl. I put everyone’s happiness and needs before mine, friends, family, you name it. If a friend needed financial help I’d help in any way I could, even if I was broke. I always had an open ear to listen to their problems and then would try to solve them.
    Then, I had a nervous breakdown at the age of 23. It was then that I realized that I had to learn to say “NO!” in order to regain my sanity and happiness after 18 years of saying yes. It was easy at first because Zoloft made it easy for me to not care but once I stopped taking it, I had to make a conscious effort to remind myself that no ones gonna love me less if I say no sometimes.

  • Christina Castaneda

    Im actually in a “I should have said no” situation as I type.. I hate baby sitting yet here I am doing it.. I really need to learn the word no, besides sUing it to my children.

  • Jess Ripley

    Here are a few more things you can say NO to:
    – Loaning friends money.
    – Baby/Petsitting if you are afraid of children/animals.
    – Going out every Friday and Saturday night. Sometimes you just want to stay home. Sometimes more than others. Ask your friends to come over instead!
    – Going to college. It’s not for everyone and, contrary to what some might say, doesn’t actually guarantee you a better lot in life.
    – Being a taxi service to friends without cars.

  • Frances Whipple

    I think a lot of women do this. Another big one is apologizing for everything!! We’re taught that we’re supposed to be nurturing, helpful, and accommodating regardless of what we really feel. I think it’s really important for peace of mind to be able to say no and not apologize for it!

  • Maria Inés De Carli

    “Being a taxi service to friends without cars.” Felt Identified with

  • Tina Garza

    I understand that taxi service thing. Happens more often than I would like. Great blog helped me realize sometimes it’s okay to just say no thank you!

  • Irene Ana Crusats Sans

    Hello !!!!! For my live experience : The most important for me is the sincerity & talking : 50/50 : Is possible !!!!

  • Irene Ana Crusats Sans

    A little question ? In TNT existing tv comercials ? You are a good friend & person & Shophia its a lucky girl for meet you !!!!!! Hughes !!!!!! Ah , thanks America for that TV SHOWS !!!!! bONES , lAW % ORDER … i’M A A DICTET …

  • Renee Menning

    Things I should have said ‘no’ to in the past couple hours: working for someone, ice cream krunch cone, double cheeseburger and fries. Only regret the first one, altho I know I will do it again

  • Randee French Kicks Wulf

    I just spent my entire last therapy sesh on this exact topic! I’ve now scheduled days to myself during the week. No texts/calls, just me, the cat, and good ol’ tv!

  • Amie Stepp Wiley

    Friend” Do you wanna watch _______ movie with me?”
    Self : ” No”
    Friend: “You hate me don’t you?”
    Self: “Seems as if I do”
    A real friend sticks with you, even when you say no and then you’re a total jerk!

Need more Giggles?
Like us on Facebook!

Want more Giggles?
Sign up for our newsletter!