Learning to say “no” is truly one of the most powerful lessons a girl can learn. And while it may seem like a simple thing, it can actually be a pretty difficult skill to master because it’s most likely wrapped up in a whole lot of fear and people pleasing. You’ll be practicing this skill for years and years to come, but to make it a little less difficult, we’re debunking a few myths around the “no” word. Here are 5 times it’s totally okay to use it.
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1. When you’re afraid someone won’t like you/you’ll let them down
This is where the fear truly lays when saying “no.” Have you ever really NOT wanted to do something? Like you’ve never been so sure of anything in your life, but you end up saying yes anyway? Why did you do that? You’re most likely afraid you’ll hurt someone’s feelings or they’ll think less of you. If your friends don’t understand or respect your decision to say no, maybe they’re the ones letting you down… When faced with this situation, stop putting someone else’s opinion of you over your well being. It’s truly freeing. Plus, we bet when you say no, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their kind reaction. We tend to over dramatize these situations in our heads.
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2. When something looks perfect on paper but your gut says “no”
Maybe you’re deciding on whether to take an internship or not. On paper, it looks perfect: it will beef up your resume, it pays well, and your parents will be so proud. There’s just one thing, your gut is screaming “no!”. This is very important: your intuition is worthy of your attention. The sooner you learn to listen to yourself as your guiding compass instead of outside forces, the sooner you will find the path that truly fulfills you. So go ahead, be brave and say no to something even if it looks picture perfect on paper.
3. When you’re afraid it will make you look lame or uncool
This one brings us back around to fear. Let’s say your friend really wants to see a horror movie, but you literally hate nothing more than horror movies. Against your better judgment, you go along with it because you’re afraid you’ll look uncool if you say anything. This is a recipe for disaster. By not speaking up and using your voice, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and to your friend. If you say, “Hey, best friend in the whole world. Can we go see Bad Mom’s Christmas instead? I have horrible nightmares when I watch horror films,” you’re not only being true to yourself, you’re letting your friend in on your vulnerabilities as well, which is basically the magic ingredient for great, long-lasting friendships. Speak up! If someone thinks you’re uncool for being honest, well… they’re uncool.
4. When you’re just not sure
What if you don’t know if you want to say yes or no? Learning not to say “yes” right away is just as important as learning to say no. If someone asks you do to something, and you’re truly not sure if you want to, use these magic words: “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” This magic phrase works with relationships, friends and even jobs. You should never feel pressure to answer something before y0u’ve had time to think about it.
5. When you need to recharge
I have a “no” stored away specifically in my “self-care” folder. Maybe I really do want to see that movie I was just invited to, or talk my friend through her breakup, or take on that new project, but I’ve learned to say no when I know I’m about to burn myself out. That movie, or project, or phone call will still be there for you when you’re well rested and not in danger of bringing on a total breakdown.
So remember, just say no. Even Beyonce’s into it:
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