Ten Things I Say to Myself to Avoid Saying No

  1. Honestly, it’s not that big a deal. I’ll just do it and get it over with.

  2. I can do this and they will really appreciate it (or not), but that’s OK, I don’t mind.

  3. It’s easier for me to do this than the resistance I will have to deal with if I say no.

  4. I’ve already said no so many times. I’ll just do it and get it over with.

  5. So-and-so does it and they are way busier than I am! If they can do it, this is the least I can do.

  6. It’s not like I have much of a choice, I’ve always done it before. I kinda have to do it.

  7. It’s the right/ kind/ correct thing to do. This is family/ community/ people in need.

  8. I’ll just suck it up for a few hours (days, weeks) - it’s fine.

  9. They won’t understand if I say no. They’ll think I am mad at them and I don’t want to turn something small into a big deal.

  10. They’ll get upset - and they’ll leave me.

This last one being the truest. If saying Yes to another means saying No to myself - then I’d rather deal with myself. If I get mad at me we will eventually work it out. I mean, I might eat too much or get pissy with the people around me or deprive myself of something I want because I’m feeling crappy - but, whatever, I’ve been there before and I’m still there in the morning.

But if I say no to someone and they get pissed enough with me - we’ll end up arguing and there will be ramifications. The relationship may end or at the very least, shift. I may lose whatever it is that I get from this relationship, including the relationship itself. There’s a risk there.

Besides which, I wasn’t built to say no. My no’s are clumsy at best and nasty at worst. They range from a reasonable ‘that doesn’t work for me’ to a messy, tear-filled breakdown about how overwhelmed I am so that I can justify saying no (because saying no requires justification).

Which is why I’ve spent time learning and practicing my no’s. These days, there’s a buffer between me and my responses. It’s called ‘thank you, I’ll get back to you.’ Then I hang out with the request to consider if it’s a yes or no for me (and if it’s a maybe, then it’s a No for Now). If I’m still a yes, I will run it by my bestie, whose nose knows when I’m avoiding a no.

In the end, what comes out is the answer that is true of me. A wholehearted yes or a reluctant, but firm, unshakeable no.