I Said No

Saying, “No,” can be extremely difficult, especially if dealing with friends, family, and loved ones. The difficulty can stem from feeling an obligation to help or feeling bad for not helping. These are understandable, but I do not believe they are legitimate reasons for telling someone, “No.” There seems to be a bigger issue of concern when it comes to people’s inability to say, “No.”

When we are asked to do something that we don’t want to do, can’t do, or simply don’t feel like doing, we have the right to turn down the request. No, really, we do; no matter who it is, where it is, or when it is being requested. The problem people have with saying, “No,” is rooted in an insecurity.

When we oblige to do something we really wish to say, “No,” to doing, it usually comes from the fact that we worry about what that person may think of us. Don’t believe me? Then why do we feel the need to justify our decision to say, “No.” People will go so far as to make up a lie about a death in the family to avoid telling someone, “No.”

You know someone who has done it. You may have even done it. Here is the thing; you don’t need to justify your answer of “No.” I don’t have to explain myself to anyone but myself. That doesn’t mean I act like a jerk in my rejection of your request. “No, can’t do that. Thanks for understanding,” works just fine.

If you noticed, I also didn’t say, “Sorry,” in that kind example. Why should I be sorry? Nothing wrong was done. You simply did not feel like doing the thing, didn’t have the time nor money, or don’t want to do it. Regardless of the real reason, there is nothing wrong with any of them, thus, nothing to be sorry about.

Some might find this approach a bit harsh. Obviously, I don’t. It seems to me to be a worst sentiment to feel forced, judged, manipulated, or pressured to do anything. Honestly, if I asked an individual to do something for me and they said, “Yes,” when they wanted to say, “No,” I wouldn’t want their help. That is not meant in a petty way but rather, I don’t want anyone to do something for me they don’t want to do.

On the flip side, if anyone were to try and make me feel bad for saying, “No,” and pressure me or judge me, I am not sure I would want that type of person in my life. Funny enough, this is typically the response most people have when you decide to say, “No,” without giving a reason. It’s a reaction that most people spontaneously have because they aren’t accustomed to hearing, “No.” I am okay with that initial reaction, but if you keep pressing me about it, that’s when it becomes a problem.

It’s about setting boundaries and being comfortable with and within your boundaries. As Dr. Crystal Jones so eloquently put it, “My boundaries weren’t created to offend you. They created to honor me.” If my boundary at the moment includes saying, “No,” without feeling the need to justify myself and my response, respect it and let’s move on.