Why Saying No is Hard and Why You Should Say It More Often
To friends, family
“We’re going out Friday night, right?” a friend asked me through the phone.
“Sure, let’s go!” I said, out of reflex.
I didn’t know whether I could make it. I didn’t know whether I had another plans to go out with my parents. I said “yes,” because why would I say “no?”
We were going to a club, I think. Some sort of celebration, perhaps it was a birthday, perhaps it was a friend graduating. There was always an occasion. Always a reason to go out and party.
But as the day arrived my parents told me that we needed to go out of town. Just a short one day back and forth trip, though. And so I said “okay.” I knew I had some plans for Friday night. Yet I still kinda said yes, probably out of reflex too.
I couldn’t go out late. I called my friend and apologized.
“Sorry I couldn’t make it,” I said, “something important came up.”
“There,” I thought to myself, “I said no.”
But quickly I realized even though I said no to my friends, I still couldn’t say no to my parents.
I suck at saying no to people.
Why is it so hard to say no?
For me because I always think like this:
“What am I going to lose really? I’m going to have a grand old time with my friends. I’m only going to spend a few hours — hell, not even more than two, sometimes.”
When I got home I quickly realize how wrong my thinking was.
Because just as I arrived home after a day of hanging out with friends, all I want to do is chill on the sofa, to watch YouTube videos from my favorite content creators.
Sometimes I even put off taking a shower because once I take off my trousers and sink in the sofa, I don’t ever want to get out.
When I finally get up and look at the clock, I see that it’s already 9 p.m.
I just spent an hour (that I could’ve used to do something productive), doing nothing.
And this is why I should say “no” more often.
Because when I keep saying “yes” to everyone, friends or family, that means I’m saying “no” to myself.
I’m saying “no” to doing the things I want. I’m saying “no” to doing the things I love. And I’m saying “no” to doing the things I desperately need to do.
I’m saying “no” to practicing. I’m saying “no” to learning. I’m saying “no” to improving myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my friends. I love hanging out and talking with them for hours. I live for those moments.
But sometimes, there are moments where I’m out spending time with friends but my mind wanders back home. Physically I’m there with them, laughing and cracking jokes, but all I can think about are my laptop and my books.
“I want to write…”
said a sound in my head, louder than the sound of my friends’ laughter.
“I want to read…”
Maybe that’s me from the future, 10 years from now, sending me a message through a time traveling voice mailing device or some shit like that.
Telling me that I’m turning 23 next month. Telling me that:
“Yes it is fun to hangout and meet your friends everyday, but you’ve got a goal to achieve, my friend!”
And to do that I need to start saying “no” to others.
So I can start saying “yes” to myself.