Sunday, March 1, 2015

So Why Don't You Just Say NO?

Why do so many of us think it is a "bad" thing to tell someone else no? And why do so many people have such a hard time telling others NO?

Picture this. A friend, colleague, coworker, family member, etc. comes and asks you for a favor. It's something that you could do if you rearranged your schedule, dropped something previously planned, etc. How many people do you know that would tell this person "yes", and inconvenience themselves, just because they don't want to say no?

A lot of people seem to have this huge problem telling others no. In my experience women more than men have this problem. Whether it be a big thing, or a little thing, telling someone no is just not something that they do. Others may be able to say no to the big things, but not the little things, or vice versa.

I love the movie 27 Dresses, my friends like to joke that I am "that girl from 27 Dresses". Mostly because I have been a bridesmaid six times. One of my favorite scenes is the one in this clip.

How many of you can relate to her personally, or because you have a friend, family member, etc. like that, someone who just can't tell anyone else no?

Believe me, I am definitely not immune from this. I have certain things that for some reason I just cannot say no to. 

Imagine this. A group of your friends are going out to dinner. You are invited to go along with them. You like all of them, you like food, etc. but you just aren't quite in the mood, for whatever reason. How many of us just say yes and go anyways? Sometimes it all turns out just fine and dandy, you wind up having a great time, enjoy the food and company, etc. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes you wind up wishing you had just said no and stayed home, or done something on your own, but feeling like it would have been rude to turn down the invitation and say NO. 

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, it is okay to say no thanks, I won't be joining you this time. And you know what? Everyone will be fine. There probably will not be some gaping hole in their night because you said no. Not trying to make anyone feel unimportant, but if a group of several people are already getting together, one person not being there is not going to leave them without anything to do or talk about. Any if you are anything like I can be when I just need alone time, they might even enjoy the evening more without your antisocial mood hanging over the evening.

With that being said, why would it be rude to turn down that invitation? Frankly, I don't see how it is. You have the right to say no. You also do not have to explain to someone why you said no. If your answer is no, you have the right to say that and not feel like you have to give someone a reason or explanation as to why you are saying no. 

I have been wondering why we have this belief/mindset that saying no is rude or unacceptable. I have two different trains of thought on this. The first one stems from the fact that most of us growing up are taught not to tell our parents or other adults no. Growing up if an adult asks you to do something, you are supposed to do it, and telling no is not allowed. You parents ask you to do something, and you're supposed to do it, no refusing allowed. Sure, most people go through a rebellious stage sometime during their youth where they do say no and refuse, but maybe that early training sticks with them keeping them in the mindset of saying no is not acceptable as they get older. 

I don't know if that's true or not, but it seems like a possible explanation to me.

My second train of thought actually stems from a book about introverts and introversion I read. The author discusses how we are living an era of personality. In the present world most people judge people and base the worth of others based off of their personality, how they come off to others. Prior to this was an era of character. People were judged based on their character, who they really were, not who they seemed to be. So, if we today, are assessing people based on their personality, then someone who says no to people, invitations, etc. they may come off as a killjoy, a wet blanket, etc. They may be seen as not being as fun or flexible as someone else thinks they should be, giving the idea of saying no a bad rap.

Once again, this is just another thought of why we may be anti no in our culture today. 

*ETA* I wrote this post for my other blog, Inspiring Women to Empower Others.

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