The Magic Word

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(image from sugarbones.net)

 

Okay, so this post is very near and dear to my heart and will mainly consist of me rambling about society and how it needs a serious reality check. Feel free to grab popcorn because this may end up being the length of a feature film.

How many of us use the word ‘no’ on a regular basis?

I know I use it quite a lot.

“No, you cannot climb into that cave, Joshua.”

“No, Brendan, you cannot sleep through finals week.”

“No, grandmother. That is not how you turn on the television.”

‘No’ is pretty much a solid piece of my every day vocabulary. However, I rarely say no when it comes to people asking me to do things. If you ask to borrow my laptop, chances are, I will say yes. I will give you two dollars to buy a soda. I’ll edit your essay. I’ll let you steal some of my chips.

Bottom line. I am not good at saying no to people. This is because society has taught me that no does not mean no. In society, no is just another word for maybe.

But that’s not true. There is nothing wrong with saying no and I don’t need a justification for it. I am a human being with rights and one of those rights is to say no. I don’t need to give you a five page essay detailing why I do not want to go see the new action movie. I don’t need reasons to not want to do something.

This stigma affects everyone. But mostly, it affects girls. And to be perfectly honest, it pisses me off. In this day and age, the male species should be well aware that no means no. You shouldn’t have to spell it out for them.

One thing that I really hate about dating is that idea that you “should never say no.”

Um. Watch me.

If a guy asks me out and I’m not interested or I don’t feel comfortable, I am not going to say yes. I’m not going to just plaster a smile on my face and say, “Sure, let’s go out” because that’s the ‘nice’ thing to do.

Saying no does not make me a bad person. 

Saying no does not make me a bad person. 

And one more time for the folks in the back.

SAYING NO DOES NOT MAKE ME A BAD PERSON.

I don’t care if I can go with three other couples to make it less awkward. I don’t care if my best friend is across the table from me. I care if I am comfortable in that situation or not.

So, rule of thumb. If someone asks you to do something and you genuinely do not want to do it, don’t. You aren’t under any obligation to make anyone else happy at the expense of your own feelings.

You never ever ever have to justify yourself for saying no. No is a full sentence. It is a complete thought and it does not need an explanation.

Once upon a time, a guy asked me out. I, being me, panicked and said yes even though I was completely and utterly uncomfortable. After one horribly awkward date, it blew up and I found myself in a very unsettling situation and basically no way out without hurting someone’s feelings. Then commenced the avoiding of texts and calls and Facebook messages. After a month or so of this, I was continuously on the edge of a mental breakdown every time he was in the room because I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting anyone, but it was killing me. People would tell him that we were just friends and he wouldn’t accept it. Finally, I got so desperate that I messaged him on Facebook and clarified that we were just friends. Things got steadily worse after that particular declaration and the mental breakdown that had been tugging at my heartstrings came out in the form of a full blown panic attack.

Moral of the story. If I had just said no in the beginning, none of that would have happened and maybe I wouldn’t still feel so guilty about the entire situation.

But I was literally terrified out of my freaking mind to tell this guy no when he asked me out because in my experience, no has never meant no. It has turned into “convince me.” And most people are more than willing to accept the challenge.

Society has turned a simple word into a twisted “read between the lines” situation and it’s not okay in the slightest.

No means no. That’s really all there is to it. You don’t have to explain yourself and you shouldn’t have to fight to make someone accept a negative response to their request. If you ask to borrow my laptop and I say no, just take that at face value and move on. I’m sure I have a reason, but the fact is I shouldn’t need one. Sometimes, you just don’t want to do something.

There was a quote on Tumblr that really stood out to me. “Don’t say maybe if you want to say no.” It’s okay to not want to do something. Sometimes, you’re just not in the mood to go anywhere or do anything besides watch Netflix. Sometimes, you don’t feel comfortable saying yes. Sometimes, you would rather do something else. It’s okay to say no. It doesn’t make you a bad person and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.

No is a full sentence. And the world needs to realize that.

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