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Curly Nikki

Hey…It’s OK To Say No Sometimes

By January 27th, 202118 Comments
Hey…It’s OK To Say No Sometimes
by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

Remember when Beyoncé sang ‘the first time I said no, it’s like I never
said yes’? Well it seems that some of us are still wary of the
challenges that answering those around us with a defiant ‘no’, can
presents us with.

Just the other week I was faced with this very dilemma. A friend of mine
who I had not been in contact with for some time, asked to meet and
catch up – to which I obliged. Everything went plain sailing, and I was
actually pleased that they had taken the time to get in touch again –
until they asked to borrow a large sum of money a couple of days later
that is. Now, my head was telling me that the ulterior motive could have
been there from the start, and the desire to ‘catch-up’ was just an
opportunity to soften me up. My heart however, had its strings pulled
vigorously by my people-pleasing nature, and my fear that this person
would be angered if I dared to tell them that I wouldn’t be lending them
the money on this occasion. According to Social Psychologist, Susan
Newman, Ph.d, it is that need to keep those around us happy, that makes
saying no so daunting:

‘Wanting to keep others happy at their own expense, wanting to be liked
and included, women forget that they have absolute rights.’

She also states that our inclination towards saying yes, can also stem from our conditioning of obedience from our childhood:

‘NO has been drummed out of us to the point where using it has negative
connotations and imagined backlash. When you were a child, you were
probably sent to your room for refusing to share your toys; as a teen
your curfew was cut back if you disobeyed a parent’s rule. Agreeing and
saying yes is ingrained, particularly in women who were raised to be
nurturing and available, but you can retrain how you think. Saying NO is
a learned skill, one that allows you to refuse without hurting or
offending and without feeling guilty.’

So how do you say no without feeling guilty?

Think of the times you sad yes
Acknowledging all those occasions that you have done favours for others
will help to diminish feelings of guilt, by reminding yourself of all
the good that you have already done.

Have faith in the other person
Assuming that the person making the request will lose favour in you is
the main fear for a people pleaser. Try giving them more credit and
trusting that they value your relationship as much as you do. After all,
why would you feel guilty about not helping someone who may not think
twice about
saying no to you?

Putting your love for yourself first
There are people in the world who wouldn’t think twice about taking
advantage of your kind nature. By  putting your love for yourself  and
your entitlement to respect first, you will not allow yourself to say
yes to people who view you as a doormat.

Accept that you can’t please everyone all the time
Setting yourself the task of keeping everyone happy, is often an
unrealistic one. Time may be limited, and money does not grow on trees.
Recognise that you can not always please everyone and allow some of the
weight to fall off your shoulders. Make sure that you have enough time
for things that you want to do, and make decisions about how you spend
your time and money wisely.

Sometimes we try to take on more than we can deal with in order to save
face and refrain from disappointing others, but it often results in us
forgetting about our own needs, and being blind to instances of
manipulation. There is nothing wrong with wanting to please those around
you, it is just about getting the balance right – something I am also
trying to figure out. Oh and in case you was wondering about the
friend…the answer was no.


  • Tea Wash says:

    absolutely! its about how you say no also and if you say it kindly and the person still cant accept that youre not interested in whatever the proposition may be then thats just too bad

  • marianela says:

    This article was great! I have such a hard time saying no to anyone in my family. I wish and hope everyday that I could muster up the courage and say no I really don't feel like doing that for you right now. I am going to try better next time. Thanks for the article.

  • watkinsabob says:

    i am a people pleaser but i have no issues with saying no! haha!!

    I think the article was great but still you have to be balanced and analyze what your motivations are because thats how you will grow not just from the simple act.

  • Anonymous says:

    I really appreciate this article. It's so hard for me to NO some times even when in my heart of heart I know i shouldn't. I had to learn the hard way to say no. It's still a work in process but it's do about.

    Thanks for the reminder that it's ok to NO!!!

  • Unknown says:

    I have recently just learned how to say the word no! I am never going back lol

  • Anonymous says:

    Yup..learned to little to late. Constantly caving in to family needing to borrow money, compromising on things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go to accommodate everyone else, always taking on more than my fair share…Yes, saying yes all the time comes at a high price… it silences your inner self , it dimishes your goals, erodes self confidence and chips away at your conviction that your decisions, your goals, your time are important.
    As women, especially black women saying yes, is a nervous habit, an addicition almost, we know it's bad for us but we keep doing it. It's not good for us but really it's not good for the friends and family we enable and emasculate emasuculate by not allowing them to fall, and fail and learn and grow.

  • Anonymous says:

    I always joke with my co-workers that I should create a workshop called, "No! Is not a four-letter word" so don't be afraid or embarrassed to say it.

  • Bonnisa Gillings says:

    Hey Ladies

    Thank you for joining in the conversation guys!

    I can definitely relate to some of your comments; not wanting to come off as mean has always played a part in my awkwardness of saying no to others. With that being said, I have come to value my right to stop someone from manipulating my kindness 10 times more!

    I guess that with every 'people pleaser', we will eventually have that moment when we realise that saying no can be for our own good,as well as for the good of others…

    Thanks again for commenting!


  • T Monique says:

    Right on time. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown exactly a week ago. Sooooo needed to read this. I cant be everybody's everything. Im no wet nurse.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love how you don't hear from people for eons, and then they reach out…to ask you for something. I reserve a little bit more than a no for these types of folks. You can try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard not to be suspicious of their motives.

  • Girlventures says:

    I don't have a problem saying no because I've always believe it was an acceptable answer and I see no reason to aplogize for not wanting to do something (I'm grown). Sometimes when I ask a friend something I remind them that this is not a hostage negotiation, they can say no

  • LaNeshe says:

    This is a great post.

  • Anonymous says:

    This hits do close to home. Great article

  • Jeannette says:

    I remember years ago on the show Girlfriends the character Joan played by Tracee Ellis Ross there was an episode where Joan had to learn how to say "No." At that time I was going through something similar where I was called mean by People when I didn't want to do something and they couldn't control me. So I would give in and end up doing something I didn't want to do or couldn't afford to do. It was watching that episode that made realize that saying no is okay, even if I am viewed as mean or the b-word. Recently I told my Five year old Nephew no for something that he couldn't have. He told me that sometimes I'm mean. Because I'm wiser now, I didn't fall for it and told him just because I don't give him everything he wants, it doesn't make me mean. I told him that in life, he cannot have everything he wants. I'm noticing that now that I say no when I cannot do something or don't want to, People don't try to control me by calling me names. And I don't even think about being mean because I know in my heart that I'm one of the most generous people one can ever meet but I give on my terms not someone else's. Now they either respect my stance or don't ask at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    lol I meant to say #peoplepleaser but not anymore!

  • Anonymous says:

    I can sooooooo relate! #ex-peoplepleaser <—- BUT NOT ANYMORE!!! Thanks for this!:)

  • LifenotesEncouragement says:

    After you've done all of the above sometimes you just have to practice verbalizing the word. Stand in the mirror and say no with various tones and inflects, and then also come up with different phrases that essentially mean no – "i'm sorry, this is not for me; i'm taking a pass, etc." as with everything practice makes perfect.
    I used to have a problem saying no…since i'm a practical person the actual how to, plus the steps in the article has helped me alot.

  • Anonymous says:

    This was just what I needed to read today. Thank you.

    Nicol C.

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