A verbal slap. An emotional dropkick. An intangible war zone. Saying no is a cataclysmic concept. It stings, it scars and it’s friggin’ scary, right? And yet, we’re all faced with the need, the desperation, to say it.
But we just don’t know how.
It’s weird when you think about it because it’s probably the one thing that binds us as a species the most: the autonomous desire to refuse. To deny. To turn down. Most of us, most of the time, want to say no to something for some reason. But we falter, we hesitate, we feel bad: and so we say yes.
Well no more.
Not today. Not on my watch. Not in my house. No longer will we succumb to our polite and societal conditioning that “saying no” is a no-go. It’s not taboo. It’s not forbidden. It’s not wrong to disagree or shake your head.
But I get it, it’s tricky. It feels sticky and uncomfy and a little ghkghldfhugslju saying no to somebody. It’s hard and unheard of and we’re wildly unfamiliar with the execution (which is exactly what it feels like. An execution).
So. Let’s practise, shall we?
Try these out for size:
- No, I don’t want to meet up today — sorry, I’ve got carpal tunnel and I can’t open my front door.
- No, I don’t want to FaceTime — I can’t, my nan is seeing demons again.
- No, I don’t want to pop out for a pint — ah man, I only drink in metric units.
- No, I won’t be buying your product — yes. And on a completely unrelated note, today is Opposite Day in my culture.
- No, that dress does not go with those shoes — have you considered staying home today?
- No, I’m not free tonight (I mean, I am, but not for you) — my psychic told me I’d die last Tuesday, so I’ve got a couple funeral arrangements to cancel.
- No, I don’t want to marry you — *severs all fingers rendering it impossible to wear a ring.*
- No, I haven’t done the assignment — my homework ate my dog. Honestly, it was a nightmare. Sticky notes engulfed him whole. I could hear him choking on the bibliography. The spiral spine from my notebook wound around his neck, paper cuts tore into his fur, his whimpering was masked only by the sound of the stapler sealing his mouth closed. It was a massacre. I just…. I mean…. I might need an extension and possibly three months of counselling if at all possible?
- No, it’s not a nice lasagna — did I mention that I only eat vertically arranged foods?
- No, I don’t want to come in for a cuppa — I cannot pass over the threshold unless invited in by the founder of these here lands.
- No, I don’t think Game of Thrones is a good show — my opinions mean nothing in the context of the great and vast cosmos in which we shall all one day meet our existential demise. You know?
- No, I don’t want to attend your baby shower — I’ve only got experience with baths.
- No, your stand-up performance was not good — *grunts whilst on a pogo stick to mimic the sound of laughter.*
- No, I don’t want to try your homemade pâté — I’m sorry, the only spreading I do is of my legs.
Granted, these suck.
These are stupid. Unrealistic. Will likely make the situation worse.
But just think! If you can survive a couple of these, then you can definitely say no to that mini golf invite you’ve just received in aid of staying home to shampoo your chinchilla (not a euphemism. But it should be).
These are silly, whimsical but hopefully prompting examples of how to say no without having to say no. Because though that minuscule but mighty word can leave quite a resounding wound in its place, it’s not a bad thing. If you figure out alternate ways of saying it, you’ll see.
Fancy giving them a go?
(This is the part where you nod your head along the horizontal access. Well played, son).
About the Creator
I’m a writer, a storyteller, a lunatic. I imagine in a parallel universe I might be a caricaturist or a botanist or somewhere asleep on the moon — but here, I am a writer, turning moments into multiverses and making homes out of them.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented