Guest Post: Just Say No!

I found Nicki a few months ago.  She has become a treasured friend as well as someone I look up to and seek advice from. On her blog, Nicki’s Nook, she discusses everything from politics to recent drama with her children.  Enjoy her delightful take on saying no!

The beginning of a new year brings all kinds of people setting all kinds of expectations for the upcoming 365 days. While most of these expectations will be along the lines of broad, sweeping changes – reducing stress, losing weight, having more time with family or for self, people should realize that practicing one simple word would help in many areas of life.

Learn to say no. That simple little two letter word, when used properly and when meant, will do more to free up time, reduce stress and possibly help lose weight than a lot of other things can do.

Women tend to be nurturers. We tend to want to please people and take care of people. Because of these traits, it is hard for us to say no. We also like people to like us and, generally speaking, telling someone no is not what we think as a way to build good will.

Studies have shown that saying yes – or not saying no – gives buzz. The reward center of your brain feels happy when you say yes (Cosmopolitan, January 2010). Unfortunately, if you really didn’t have the time for whatever you just agreed to, you will be unhappy after the buzz wears off.

Another problem with not saying no is that it puts you further and further down the priority list. When you agree to chair that PTA committee, it takes up time that you may need for exercise or reading or playing with your family.

I know that as a work from home mother friends think I am available throughout the day. I may have five minutes here and there, but unless I plan to take time off by working later or on a weekend, my days are work days. This is not to say that I don’t rearrange my schedule but when I do, I do it because I want to do so, not because I accepted something I don’t really want to do.

Try to nurture yourself this year. Help yourself reach those resolutions of more family time or more you time. Say no when you really don’t want to work on something. Say it short and simple. If you have problems, practice saying no. Realize that saying no is good for you and your family.


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19 responses to “Guest Post: Just Say No!

  1. Pingback: Lights on but Come Over to Amber’s « Nicki's Thoughts, Art & Friends

  2. Great advice, Nicki, as always! I remember once being told that, before saying yes, always stop to think about what you’ll have to say no to. I never seem to remember to do that, but reminders like that one, and like yours, help me to say no without apology more often.

    • Nicki

      Women, more than most men I know, have a real problem saying no. I was up to my eyeballs in volunteer stuff about five years ago. I wanted more time for me and my kids. I learned no the hard way.

  3. Nicki, you are so right. Saying “no” is often the more courageous route, not to mention the sane path. Yet women all too often feel like they must say yes to the friend who makes a request, to the child who wants to go to the mall, to the latest volunteer drive, to the overflow assignments at work, to whatever the significant other says he wants / needs.

    Learning to say no at the right moments can be empowering. Something I imagine you had to learn as a mother of six, just to survive.

    Terrific post.

  4. You’re right, Nicki, and the biggest trick is to not say “yes,” realize I’ve overextended again and then to switch to a “no,” but to say “no” in the first place. It’s not winning me any popularity contests but if I keep my eye on what I really need to do, what really needs to get done, this should all shake out right in the end.

  5. I only recently learned to say no and it was only after hearing someone else say, “Ask Kelly, ‘No’ is not in her vocabulary.” That inflamed me — and made me realize that people will take advantage of a person who never says No.

    So now I say it more often than not. I really never had the time and I have even less of it now that I’m working full time with my toddler home every day. So I only say yes when I really mean it. People aren’t as happy with me, but I’m much happier with myself.

  6. A friend overhead my conversation with another lady who was trying to get me involved with something at church. For very good reasons, it was not something I was able to do (or wanted to do, for that matter.) Later she sent me a note about a bunch of things but ended it with say, I have great respect for a woman who can say NO.

    It can be hard to say NO but it feels so good when you do.

    • Nicki

      Rebecca – Thanks for coming over to Amber’s to read my thoughts. It is good to know what we want to do and what we don’t plus what we are able to do. Then, when we say no, it seems a bit easier.

  7. Nicki

    Thanks for having me over, Amber!

  8. I am working on this. It is still hard for me, but I’m getting better. It was either learn how to say no or invent a cloning machine.

    • Nicki

      Charlotte – with six kids, it is imperative to learn to say no. This past fall I managed to say no – sort of – by not chairing any of the committees involved with my son’s drama club performance. I did work ticket sales but just sat and sold.

  9. This is something I definitely need to work on–thanks. I will try to put this into practice.

    • Nicki

      Glad I could be of some help, Yvonne. I am beginning to think it is an art form and we all need to practice it.

  10. Pingback: People Pleasing « Nicki's Thoughts, Art & Friends

  11. Eva

    Amber, I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m really liking it. You write about some great topics. This guest post especially caught my eye. I wrote a few weeks ago about Saying Yes. Funny!