No, Thank YouSamantha Ronson

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.

comments

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  1. his is my to begin with time I have visited your website. I found plenty of helpful information and facts in your own web site.

  2. If I say no to my boss request, he’ll have my head on a chop-block. And by that I mean like Peter the Great dealing with Boyars. word.

  3. Hi, can post your songs?

  4. I used to be all yes, all the time. I realized I was stressing myself beyond any good point, so I’ve kind of hit the other direction (with some people/situations). I’m finally figuring out a good balance!

  5. Learning to be assertive is a big thing for me. Often I will agree to something just to please somebody else, or because I am scared to say no. Of course it’s good to be sensitive to others, not rude, but being able to say no to something when you really don’t want it is an important thing.

  6. I’ve only just recently decided that I had to stop spreading myself thin and running around trying to make everyone happy. I have to stop saying yes to everything and will only go out of my way to do things for people who would do the same for me.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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 …

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

  12. 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!

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. ‘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.

  20. 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!