NO, a simple 2 letter word that some people won’t use

I was chatting with one of my friends the other day and she and I broached the subject of the word NO. Like me, she has always had a hard time telling people NO. It gets both of us into a lot of trouble sometimes.

How do you tell someone NO when you don’t want to say YES?  

I looked this dilemma up and found “How to Say No”, “When to Say No” and “Why You Need to Say No”. It would appear that my friend and I are not the only people on the planet suffering from the word NO! I decided to read each of the articles I found and try to condense my search gatherings into something simple and easy to follow here.

First of all, I think it might be helpful to think about why you have trouble saying NO to others. Helpful people, people that like to be nice to everyone, are the ones that suffer. Eventually, n’er-do-wells figure out your penchant for being magnanimous and they are the ones that can cause you considerable grief over time. They will take and take and take until you have nothing left to even give yourself and then they will still want more! Telling them NO would save you so much heartache and sometimes it will even save your bank account. Think of it like saving pennies for a new hat when you tell these scoundrels NO!

Don’t misunderstand! Just because you have a problem saying NO, it doesn’t make you a weak person. No siree! You are kind, generous and well meaning. You simply don’t like to hurt people or hurt their feelings. Those are traits to be admired. That is something others can aspire to.

The only thing you lack are stronger personal boundaries.

After taking in a considerable amount of information on the how’s and the why’s of saying NO, this was my conclusion. It’s not saying NO that makes the difference. It’s how you feel after you tell someone NO. That’s the real improvement. If you feel empowered, fresh to start on a new path, lightened, or free, then you have mastered the art of saying NO.

I read several good suggestions on how to say NO without being defensive or offensive because, let’s face it, since we are people that love to see others happy and avoid the conflict of trying to defend our stance, how we say this new word NO, is very important. The last thing you want to end up in is an argument about why you’re saying NO.

The overall information gives the suggestion that making the refusal about yourself is the best route.

“No, I don’t want to do that right now because my schedule won’t permit the extra time. I hope you understand.”

Then stick to your guns and don’t do the extra favor for them.

“No, I really don’t want to do that right now, but you might try asking so and so.”

Be kind though and don’t direct them to someone else that has a problem saying NO.

Saying No doesn’t have to be the end of a friendship. If it is, then the person really wasn’t your friend at all. A good friend will respect your time and not impose if you tell them NO.

Never feel the responsibility of explaining why you are telling them NO. The refusal should be enough. When someone pushes you for an explanation they are simply looking for holes in your reasoning so they can manipulate you into telling them YES. Watch out for those people! The best defense is telling them you really don’t have the time to explain it to them, but you’ll keep their request in mind. Then make your exit.

Learning how to say NO will broaden your horizons and free you up to do other things. Perhaps it will give you the free time you want to try something new, or to become a stronger person. Saying NO will be a hard thing to do at first, but once you get those first few times under your belt, you’re on your way to living a life with a whole lot less stress.

Good luck out there and remember; Saying NO is not a bad thing, it just means you respect yourself enough to know that NO is the best answer in some cases. Say YES to yourself!

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to NO, a simple 2 letter word that some people won’t use

  1. No is often the hardest thing to say. I have to practice sometimes, when I know it’s the word I need to use but I also know I might give in and change my mind. I make other people practice too, by throwing questions at them. I’m evil that way.


  2. Thanks for the nudge. Hard to remember it is ok to say no. Blessings, Barbara


    • Thank you Barbara. I have always had difficulty telling someone No, but with practice it has become so easy now. The biggest NO I have learned how to say are these…
      NO, you do not get to talk to me that way.
      NO, it is not okay for you to treat me so badly.

      Those have been life changing.

      I thought I’d end up losing a lot of friends once I started saying NO, but what I lost were people that really didn’t give a crap about me at all. What I have gained is more room to appreciate the people in my life that are good and do care. That’s been the reward of saying NO for me.


  3. Pingback: Say ‘Yes’ to Life | Jesse Noseworthy

  4. jessenoseworthy says:

    Thanks for the link, Madeline. I’ve done the same.

    As for your piece: It was very well written and I quite enjoyed your insight! Although our posts both vary, I think one reoccurring theme is the power of strength within your actions.

    We need to understand that something simple, like a two or three letter word can be rather significant in our lives. What I took from all of this is that some people have a problem saying NO too much and some have a problem saying YES too much.

    We need to find neutral ground. I think for myself I always strive to improve my shortcomings, and one of those is understand the power of my own actions and my words.

    Nonetheless, thank you very much and I look forward to seeing more of your work!



  5. Oprah Winfrey had the best advice about that. She said whenever you feel like you aren’t going to be able to say no to someone you can always say “Give me some time to think about it and I will get back to you.” This gives you an immediate “out” so you don’t revert back to that primal people pleasing urge to say yes to something when you want to say no. Later on you can say you thought about it and no, you aren’t available. Easy peasy, light and greasy!


  6. Pingback: The art of looking within thyself | Jesse Noseworthy

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