The Art Of Saying “No”


How many times have you made plans with someone as a direct result of a forced interaction, or committed to something out of pure obligation? I can’t be the only person who breathes a sigh of relief when a friend calls to cancel something that I was not so secretly dreading anyway.

That being said, why is it so damn difficult to just say no outright? And I’m not talking about coming up with some lame excuse as to why you can’t make it. I’m talking about literally saying, “No, I genuinely don’t feel like it” or “Honestly, I’d rather watch Netflix and sleep, so no.” Just as the truth will set you free, so will the word no.

I’ve definitely been caught up in the web of lies I’ve spun to try and excuse myself from an event. Recently I’ve realized that it’s simply not worth it. I have far too much trouble keeping up with the fake plans that I make in order to escape the real ones. Plus, I can’t “have dinner with my parents” every night (my go-to excuse.)

I think that when it comes to committing to something, whether it involves helping a friend move or penciling someone in for a coffee date, you should only do it because you truly and sincerely want to. Of course, there are certain situations to which this does not apply. For example, if your best friend calls you drunk at 3AM and asks for a ride home you should go pick up said friend, even if you realllly don’t want to, and also feed him or her pizza on the way back (real life scenario.)

Anyway, I am incredibly guilty of spreading myself too thin. I try desperately to find time in my schedule for anyone who asks; even if that means using my lunch breaks to let someone vent to me over a bread bowl at Panera. But, truthfully, that time should be reserved for me and me alone.

And speaking of time, your time is the most valuable thing you have to give, mostly because it is the one thing you will never get back. Why waste it doing anything other than what you love? Be frugal with your time and give it only to those who actually deserve it.

Start saying no to a few things and see how freeing it is. I guarantee you will end up happier, less stressed, and with a lot more time on your hands.