Why do we say “yes” when we want to say “no”?

I don’t know really. I’ve been such a yes-er that I don’t know any other way. Well, of course I say no, or I may have said no very often in the past, but in a way that may have got people rattled. I know that I become aggressive, my tone, my body language, my intention everything reeks of a giant scream – like “I want to be heard, my opinion needs to matter, and I matter. There, take that you scumbag.” – where the the receiver of this giant no reels back a few steps and doesn’t want to ever deal with me again.

So the challenge is to say no in a manner that is firm but not off-putting, that gets you heard without provoking someone into socking you, and where you get the response that you want.

I’ve always been a scaredy-cat, always. I’ve always been afraid of rejection, of being found out that I may be unworthy of the other’s attention, affection, friendship, anything.

a) “Want to grab some Chinese? It’s the other end of town, but it’s a great restaurant.”
My response: Sure, why not? I luuuuuv Chinese.
What I’d really like to say: God, that’s so far and I detest driving all the way in traffic.
Why can’t she ever come to my side of the world?

b) “Hey,what you doing this evening? I’m free, you wanna meet?”
My response: Sure. See you in half an hour.
What I’d really like to say: Dang it. Why do I always have to meet you when you’re
free? Why can’t I just say no politely?

c) “Doesn’t this look cool? What an awesome snap!”
My response: Awesome! It’s brilliant. Tell me more about this.
What I’d really like to say: Yikes! It’s awful, you’re a lousy photographer
and no, I don’t think it’s cool at all.

d) “So could you give me the write-up by tomorrow?”
My response: Er…that’d be a tad difficult. But I will try.
“I need it. It’s urgent and I”m sure you can turn it around.”
My response: Okay.
What I’d really like to say: If it wasn’t for the money, you could
go climb a tree for all I care. Why does this
happen to me? Why don’t you go check with a
fancy agency where you pay big bucks if they’d
give you the presentation in a day? Damn!

So well, I do this so often that I really don’t know what it’s like to have a spine any more. And the irony is that my friends think I’m this strong, domineering, assertive, loud mouthed, someone who can be downright rude, person. What I really am is a needy, low on self-esteem, desperately trying to feel worthy and accepted, kind of person. There, that’s an honest confession!

What does one do if you’re like that?
1) Say “no” at least once a day or disagree on any one thing.
2) Observe and record what happens to you in your head, heart and body.
3) Learn to say “no” politely, be manipulative and diplomatic, sly and shrewd all at the same time. It won’t kill you because if you didn’t, it surely will.
4) Learn to accept a NO too, without standing on judgement. Everyone has a right.
5) Don’t be afraid of who you are. If you don’t like or agree about something when the whole world is cooing about it, stand your ground and make your point if asked. It’s absolutely okay to not go with the herd.
6) More often than not have legitimate reasons for saying ‘no’. Not because you’re out to get her or him and be a bitch and you love tripping people up.You’re not House and he’s almost always right, however abominable he may be.
7) Observe your relationships as you begin to say ‘no’ where earlier you were perceived to be the ‘good, cool, one with the girls (or guys) kind of person’. If they’re not being as warm and receptive to you, you know they aren’t worth your time. What a waste of precious time all these years.
8) If you’re saying yes when you actually wanted to say ‘no’, question, analyse and go the core of who you are. It’s called an inquiry into self. Be ready to be amazed at what you discover.

It’s time for me to walk the talk. Will keep you posted on how goes it. In the meantime if you think this makes sense, have tried it, share, share, share. Sharing is caring and if I or any one else can benefit from your experience, Hallelujah!

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