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.