On Saying Yes (And Knowing When to Say No)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Based on past statistics, the chance of me turning down an invitation to do something or participate in something was probably three out of four. A self-proclaimed Queen of Excuses, I'd tell myself that I had better things to be doing, which usually revolved around reading or writing. While those things could be considered "productive," they aren't necessarily the same sort of interaction that hanging out with friends could give. I've said no to jobs because they seemed too hard or I just didn't want to put in the effort. I've said no thousands of times without thinking twice about what I was missing out on.

Well, until recently. I haven't gone through any weird class or started reading self-help books like some sort of Yes Man in real life situation. I've just come to the realization that sometimes but utilizing my ability to say no, I'm hindering myself from simple (or potentially dramatic) life experiences. Saying no to everything erases so many chances for you to explore life, even in its simplest sense. It takes away your chances of exploring friendships, places, stopping life experiences in their tracks before they can even leave the starting line.


Saying yes to absolutely everything isn't possible. There's a line, of course, but sometimes it's okay to push boundaries. Go to dinner with your friends, pick up spontaneous lunch, accept that invitation to hang out for the night. Say yes to that party, say yes to that trip down the line, even say yes to sitting out in the living room for four hours watching Catfish or Law and Order. Don't deprive yourself of these little moments of friendship and bonding because you think that you have better things to do.

I was asked a few weeks ago if I was interested in a new job, something else to add into my already busy schedule. For a split second, I almost reverted to my old tactics and said no. I nearly turned down a really cool job opportunity because I thought that I couldn't handle another couple of days taken out of my schedule. Like, what? 

Needless to say, I didn't turn it down. Instead, I inquired about it, got in contact with the owner, went in for an interview, and now I have a second (well, technically third) job. Even my job on the newspaper was a product of me saying "yes, I want to do this for myself" not "no, responsibility scares me." And now I'm the proud owner of three pretty sweet jobs that I love dearly, all because I learned that saying yes doesn't lead you down this terrifying road of time crunches and stress. I mean, sometimes, but I'm fully convinced that that's just because I love being stressed out.

Now, on the other hand, there are times when sometimes you just need to utilize that two letter word. One of my favorite pieces of advice is knowing that "No" is a complete sentence. You are under no obligations to do anything and and should feel comfortable knowing this. There are times when it will be more beneficial to yourself if you say yes, like in the case of jobs or friendships, but I think if it genuinely makes you uncomfortable then you have every right to say no.

As I said, this isn't some Yes Man sort of situation where you have to do every single thing that is asked of you. It's all about finding the perfect balance. If you're turning down things left and right, maybe there's something to change there. There's absolutely nothing wrong with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little, especially when it will be beneficial for you in the long run.

Do you ever find it hard to convince yourself to say "yes" to more things in life? 

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