It’s Time to Say “No”

Next week is Thanksgiving, and the season of weird requests begins.

“I’m bringing my friend along to Thanksgiving dinner. She doesn’t eat meat, milk, eggs, wheat, vegetables that begin with a “b,” or anything red or brown. You won’t mind, will you–cooking her a special meal?”

“You are going to his parents this year? We have a tradition that you always come here for Thanksgiving, but go ahead. We can eat alone.”

This is the time of year when you brush off your spine and develop the ability to say, “No.” Even better is saying “No” and meaning it.

Of course you want to be compassionate, friendly and helpful. But right at the 9168751-black-orange-white-private-property-hanging-signedge of those characteristics is a boundary. And the boundary marker is “No.”

If you have trouble saying it, you can add, “I’d love to help, but . . .No.” You do not owe explanations past that one word. It takes strength and courage to say it, and I’ve failed many times. And each time I didn’t honor my boundary, I paid a price. Sometimes I overextend what I can do and regret it. Sometimes I cave and say Yes and then do a bad job, which is worse than saying No.

You do not have to say, “I need to spend a whole morning in bed, so I can’t bake six pies for you,” because the other person will not accept that as a good reason. So don’t give a reason. Simply stick to “I’m so sorry, but No.” The holidays will run a lot smoother. And you will feel a lot healthier.

-Quinn McDonald knows the power of paying attention to your limits.



16 thoughts on “It’s Time to Say “No”

  1. Don’t you love the emotional blackmail and/or flattery that often comes with some requests? As for saying no, I find that saying . . . “this is awkward, but no.” It seems to work if you acknowledge it’s not always an easy thing to refuse and I find it works if I have to say something that may sound harsh or negative to the receiver . . . even though it’s not.

  2. Yes. “No” is a hard word word to say. I need to practice more. I’ve already added one pie to my list of baking for Thanksgiving. How did you know?

  3. I always say, “No” is a complete sentence but it’s so hard to say. Why do we always want to offer excuses or justify our reasons for doing or not doing something? I have gotten much better at saying, “No, I won’t be able to make it but I hope you have a wonderful time” BUT when I have to decline family gatherings, then I am always scrambling to give the “right” excuse or reason.

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