No. No thank you. Nope. Pass. Aren’t those all such beautiful sentences? And the most exciting part is that they don’t need a justification! One thing I learned from living in Japan is that this happens to be such a taboo expression. Instead of saying no, we were trained to say maybe, I’ll let you know, and everything else that implies that you don’t want to respond just then. I spent years learning to read between the lines and hoping that others would too. But after moving away from Japan and back to reality, I had a rude awakening that people will hold you to your word.
Do you also struggle with saying no when really all you want to do is scream, “Why on earth would I want to do that?” I’m putting my hand high in the air, so don’t worry if you are that person too. It can definitely be hard to be the grinch and put a damper on things. But here are reasons why saying no isn’t that terrible at all.
People aren’t mind-readers
I actually smirked at this one because it was basically the excuse I had for being kuuki yomenai or KY. This is basically a term given to foreigners in Japan that just can’t ‘read the air’ or take a hint. I tip my hat off to the Japanese. They are amazing at reading body language and using their superpowers to read people’s minds. The rest of us don’t have that power, and that is okay.
So what do you do when you are a commoner that has to use actual words to communicate? You have to use your words to communicate! It’s as simple as that. If you want to make sure that your message is being well received, articulating it properly is a must.
You do not owe anyone anything
A lot of the times, we tend to do things begrudgingly so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. That is definitely not a bad thing to do except that you are constantly putting others above yourself. At times it is necessary, but if we are completely honest, that is not always the case. If you are forcing yourself to help your friend out, good on you. We need more people like you in this world. But if you are just going to a party or something of the sort because you feel like you have to, there really is no obligation.
I have to reiterate that saying no to something that doesn’t quite add any value to life is not a bad thing. It is really important for our mental health to make sure that everything we do is intentional. Intentionally good and purposeful, that is.
Sometimes you need to follow your gut
There have been a few times that I had agreed to do a certain thing or go to a certain place and then backed out at the very last minute. Of course, I didn’t feel great about backing. But something in me just kept on insisting for me to stay home. And would you believe that something terrible happened to those that went?
Another incident that has me in shudders is the 2011 magnitude 8 earthquake that happened in Japan. At that time, my dad and sisters were moving back to our home country and I really wanted to stay behind to hang out with my friends over the spring break. They had planned to spend a weekend in Okinawa, just relaxing on the beach amongst other things. Feeling a sense of duty, I said no and proceeded to head home with my family so I could help them unpack before heading back for my next semester. And just a few hours after our plane took off, the earthquake struck!
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had convinced my dad to go without me…
It is not rude to say no
Do you avoid saying no because you feel like doing so is rude? I know I have! If you ask me, not saying no in the first place can be ruder than saying yes when you don’t mean it. Most times, I say yes to an event but then don’t end up showing up at all. Or I say yes and then create excuses when the date nears. And what is worse is that my colleagues are probably the ones that have experienced my inability to commit to events the most. I am a working mom and I shouldn’t need a reason to just relax at home. So why do I still do this?
Before you bash me, I am fully aware that it is horrible to say yes to something then not show up. I am also aware that my ‘no show’ may end up costing money. I’m not perfect and I have been working at it. The reason I’m sharing this much with you is just to show you that it’s very common not to want to do something. In cases like mine, saying no can actually be the more correct thing to do.
“No” is a full sentence
Yep, that’s right, no is a full sentence in itself. If you are not in the mood to do something or it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, just say no. If you want to sound polite, you can add a “thank you” to that. But you don’t need to give reasons for turning events down. You don’t need reasons to avoid situations. And you surely don’t need to make up for turning something down – but if you would like to, go for it!
Most of the time, I say no to parties or night events because I want to stay home and watch series. Hanging out in large crowds adds to my anxiety so I avoid it as much as possible. But communicating this to people who do not understand anxiety can be lost in translation. Think about it, you’re invited to a party and you say, “No, I’d rather watch Bridgerton instead”. Or how about, “No, I don’t feel like it.” What would you think?
So to avoid any miscommunication, you don’t need to justify it – just say no.
As a mom, I can hide behind the excuse of taking care of my toddler. So I will milk it as long as I can!
I like that no is a sentence, I get many messages on the socials asking me partake or be involved in things. Some I ignore, because if I was to respond no, there will be a reply. And not into back and forth if my answer will not change. Sometimes I just say “sorry, I am unable to do this”. But it really depends on what is being asked and who is asking.
Azilde Elizabeth says
I have read women tend to say sorry many times. We are too nice at times! Your right we need to out ourselves first! Another great post ❤️
Yeah I say sorry to be polite
Azilde Elizabeth says
Me too 😆
Shelly DS says
😂😂😂 same 🙈
I so agree
I love that you point out that you don’t need to justify yourself for saying no. People always seem to want an explanation. They should mind their own business.
Shelly DS says
Agreed 100% the only issue is that we sometimes give the explanation without being asked. Then the lies come out and we feel embarrassed. At the end of the day we can only be responsible for our own actions and decisions
Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) says
Yes! “No is a sentence”. I love that! I have definitely struggled with saying no in my life but I’m getting better, even if it does make me feel guilty.
Shelly DS says
Lol guilt is just horrible, but finding yourself doing something you don’t want to do should be is worse. Especially when you take from your “you” time to do this. It’s an easy word… repeat after me… No!
I really struggle to say no with work and often take on tasks for other people that I really shouldn’t be doing, which then makes colleagues think they can dump anything on me and i’ll do it. I am getting better at being more assertive and even have assertiveness training coming up!!!
Can really relate to rather staying in with Netflix, than going to a party xxx
Shelly DS says
Geez I would love to work with you! I’d give you all my work 😅 but yeah, you really need to stop doing that 😂
Cindy Georgakas says
I always say… hmmmm thank you… Let me think about that or get back to you.. works well! I mean if it’s a no, it’s a no. but best not to have to back throttle after a yes.. now no one asks.. it’s perfect lol… except for work!❤️
I hate when people tell me “yes” but then they don’t follow through. I wasn’t raised to be polite and say things I don’t mean, so I’ve always been honest with my choices to attend or not attend events. I’ve always felt like I had to explain why I can’t, if I am choosing not to. That’s something that I’ve worked on as I’ve gotten older because I’ve realized that I don’t need to explain myself to anyone.
I can definitely relate to this. Saying no feels rude and harsh but I know it is way better in the long run instead of lying to yourself and others. Saying yes to things I don’t mean to do can impact relationships and give people a negative impression of you. Best to say no upfront.
However than can be easier said than done for me but I’m learning.
Delicate and brutal says
Learning to say No is important for our mental health and setting healthy boundaries. It can take a lot of practice since we’re conditioned to say Yes out of guilt, pressure from society, or not wanting to disappoint others. We can live more free and content lives by saying No.
Shelly DS says
Yes indeed! It’s a hard thing to start doing but very rewarding once you put it in place 😊
I just love this especially your point about it NOT being rude to say no. I think we are conditioned to think that the word ‘no’ is rude. When I hear someone just say ‘no’ it does seem rude to me. I often try to soften it by saying ‘no thanks’ … but even that sounds rude. I wish I didn’t think the way. I think people should have more confidence and not be scared to say no to people (family, friends, anyone). If you are uncomfortable then you should say no. Because at the end of the day, you are what matters.
This also reminds me to personal boundaries and how when people may try to hug us they may get offended when we don’t want to. But if we don’t want to, then we shouldn’t have to, no matter who they are. It is our body and we have the ultimate say to it. But because many people feel that they can’t or shouldn’t say ‘no’ in matters pertaining to their own bodies, … that is what is wrong with society. We should teach the younger generation to always say no and stick up for themselves. I’ve told my daughter to say no if she doesn’t want to hug or kiss anyone. It is her body and her decision.
Basically we shouldn’t think of saying ‘no’ as rude but as a way to protect ourselves and put ourselves first. At the end of the day, we are what matters. If we don’t take care of us,then who will?
PS–there’s a typo in your graphic. You have a ‘d’ in the word guilty
Shelly DS says
So insightful and spot on! It really is up to us to advocate for ourselves, especially when our security or mental health depends on it. It took a while for me to realise that it’s not an obligation to say yes to everything, and man is it freeing! Give it a try 😉
Thank you!!! I’ll edit that picture now 😂
i love the part where you said ‘No is a sentence”. it sure is! and the biggest and hardest sentence too. all my life i have been a people pleaser….. and i got nothing in return…. nope not true! i got disrespected and insults in return….. Saying ‘no’ is still tough for me, but ive learnt my lesson! and will get there.
Shelly DS says
Yikes that’s not fun… but better late than never! It’s always the nice people that have the worst stories to tell :/