From Our Readers Saying No Will Open Up A World Of Yes From Our Readers

How many times has a friend asked you for a favor and before you can stop yourself, your mouth is muttering: “sure!” Then, in the middle of said favor, you’re silently cursing yourself (and your friend) as your back is breaking because you’re carrying a mattress up ten flights of stairs. Clearly, I speak from experience.

Saying “No” is something we all struggle with. I think we’re just programmed to be agreeable and appear helpful (or god forbid we give someone a reason to say something bad about us.) I have certainly struggled with saying no – it just simply wasn’t a part of my vocabulary. I would rather cut my own arm off, than deny someone something. Not a great way to live.

Last year I had to say the biggest “no” of my adult life when I ended an engagement. Everyone thought I was crazy – I had a friend ask: “What about your dress? Wait – what about the ring” (for the record, it was gorgeous), but I knew if I didn’t say “No” at that moment, it would be a lot harder to say it down the line.

After that, everything changed for me. Suddenly when my boss asked me to hangout after work, I had more confidence to say: “I’m really sorry, but I need to get home and walk my dog,” (the poor pup is stuck at home for 10 hours a day… come on!) I mean, I had just said No to something I had given a hearty yes to the year before – saying No to an errand just seemed trivial.

Something pretty great happens when you aren’t so eager to please – a lot of opportunity starts to come your way. About three months ago I had to go through what us Hollywood assistants deem the “terror zone” when I was out looking for work. For the non-freelancers, there’s a thought that gets stuck in your head – almost as if Leo himself had “inceptioned” it, that you’ll never work again. I was frantically running from interview to interview and turned down from job after job. And then something crazy happened, I actually got not one, but two great offers. Now, as someone in my position (remember, I was literally sobbing into my pillow that my career was over), you would think I’d have been ecstatic. But, I wasn’t. I was lukewarm at best. So, going against everything I was taught and felt up until that point – I turned them down. I said the dreaded “No.”

Again, friends swore I was crazy: “What happened to freaking out about never working again?” they scolded me.  And then something even crazier happened – the next day I had a job interview with someone who I deeply admire and respect and he hired me… on the spot! I wouldn’t have even had the interview if I had said yes to those other jobs. Just like, I’d probably be in a not-so-happy marriage, if I had continued to say yes to my relationship.

Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t go around saying “No” to everything now. That would just make me rude. But, I do think a lot harder before jumping straight into the “Yes.” Maybe we all should.

You can read more from Joelle Garfinkel on her blog.

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  1. Saying “no” has always been very difficult for me to say it. I don’t want to sound rude when I’m saying this 2-letter word. But sometimes, I don’t have the choice and I need to make myself heard.

    Thanks for this great article!

  2. At last! An article about not having to say YES all the time. People actually think that saying “No” means missing an opportunity when it’s not always the case.

  3. so TRUE!