I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No

In addition to my Dad’s big feet and curly hair, I have also inherited another characteristic; his basic inability to say no. It would seem that my Dad has now handed that particular family torch over to me, and frankly, I think I may be destined to be a perpetual reluctant volunteer for the remainder of my life.

I have been roped into babysitting, shopping, taxi driving and cooking; and anyone who knows me realises that I am neither a gifted nor an accomplished cook. I have lent money with promises of repayment which never actually materialise. I was once invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house thinking that a girls’ night was in the offing when in actual fact, I babysat her toddlers whilst she went out and didn’t return until the following afternoon.

Most recently one of our elderly neighbours said that the person taking them to the airport had pulled out at the last-minute, subsequently I ended up getting up at 3am on my day off to drive them to our not so local airport a couple of hours away so that they could catch a flight to London and then onto Dubai, first class all the way. To be fair they did offer to reimburse me for the fuel used and my Dad said that he would feel more comfortable if he knew that they both got to the airport safely. Enroute to our destination we called into the motorway services so that they could get something to eat and whilst there they bought me a burger. As I dropped them as near to the terminal as I could and secured a trolley for their luggage, the old lady said that as they’d paid for lunch, I’d now been fully recompensed but could I please ensure that I was punctual when I picked them up on the return journey. Clearly she was under the misapprehension that shelf stacking is such lucrative employment and my bosses enable me to work flexible hours in order that I can accommodate any friend requests.

So the very next time a friend asks for a favour, I’m going to shut up and sit on my hands because saying no, does not make me a bad person. What about you? When was the last time you were taken advantage of or have you a magic formula for deflecting unreasonable demands?

no

57 thoughts on “I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No

  1. I can say no. I learned it at an early age, really I think I never got over my ‘terrible two’ phase. It’s easy, but you must practice. Whenever anyone asks you something, tell them ‘Oh, I’m not sure, can I think about it?’ and then you go think about how to say no. Whatever you do, avoid replying to their request, unless you want to do it, or unless you can say no.
    Oh, and practicing before a mirror does help! Each time you see one, just say no!
    Good luck 😉

    Like

  2. So, do you feel you walk through life with a big sign above with the word ‘Sucker’ and a finger pointing down to your head? Best to surround yourself with people who don’t know you – your family, friends and neighbours know you and your dad too well 😉

    Like

  3. Aaaahhhh, the elusive “no”. Haha. I TOTALLY understand. It’s taken several years to cultivate, but I must admit, I’ve become pretty good at saying “no”. My philosophy is that if it feels like an obligation – I will most likely say “no”. I know that seems simple, but it seems to work for me.

    Like

  4. I’m no at all surprised, I figured you were the kind of person who couldn’t say, no. And I fully understand because I have trouble with that too. BUT… If I feel someone is taking advantage, then I have no problem saying, “NO”!

    Like

  5. It took a hard lesson with a foster child’s bio-parents for me and my husband to learn to say no. The key was that we could say no without an explanation and that is sufficient. They don’t need a reason why you can’t/won’t do it. A simple no is just fine.

    Like

  6. ” I am so sorry I cannot help you” is my favorite way of saying no…it does get better the more you say it…..and just shrug off that little guilty feeling you might get…..it does go away….

    Like

  7. In all seriousness, don’t you have airport shuttle services in the UK ? I use them constantly here in Cape Town. OK, you do have to pay, but it takes all the aggravation out of getting to the airport.

    Like

  8. If they can fly first class to Dubai … they can take a taxi to the airport. Or airport bus … there is limos too. A hamburger???!! You know, I would have said that I wouldn’t be able to pick them on arrival. You better sit on that hand in the future, I’m willing to help, but there are limits – and you better talk to your dad about not to offer your services. That was an insult.

    Like

  9. I think saying no is so hard because we were raised to be polite and considerate. I know I have a difficult time with saying no, but as I get older, I’m getting better at it.

    Like

  10. With shame, I now realize I used to say ”Yes!” because I had (have?) an inflated view of my own abilities, ”Of course, I can do that!” I would not factor in whether I had time to do it, should be doing something else more important or that doing ‘x’ or ‘y’ wasn’t in MY best interests.
    Eventually Mother Nature visited a severe chronic illness upon me (to teach me these realities, I believe) and I could honestly say, ”I am not able to do that.” As better heath approached I would over commit myself again . . . and suffer the health consequences. After some 20 years, I learned to manage my store of energy to optimize the quality of my life.
    I pray you learn to say ‘No’ before circumstances teach you the hard way.

    Like

  11. I went on a course to learn how to say no once. It comes easier to me these days than it did when I was younger. Just say ‘sorry, I can’t’ and if someone tries to plea with you don’t argue and just repeat the same thing until they listen.

    Like

  12. Yup – I’ve been roped in to help at the towns annual medieval fayre on Sunday, my first day off in 2 weeks. I’m more than a tad concerned about the costume they’ve said they’ll provide… D’oh!

    Like

    • I trust that there will be pictures to follow!!! I did get roped into playing the back end of the pantomime horse at the last church panto; clearly someone thought I had the legs and the Kim Kardashian booty for the job

      Like

  13. A simple “NO” is a bit abrasive for my tastes. I like the ‘sorry, I can’t’ approach, or the “wish I could help but I’m not able to” reply. Agree with what others have said about giving no reasons or excuses. I used to have that “sucker” sign on my head, but NO more. Ok, well, there is one friend I can’t say no to (because she has done so much for me, usually without me asking b/c I avoid asking for favors), but whatever it is she wants, I try to postpone it until I have time. I’m trying to train Jerry not to volunteer me for things, so I have that problem, too.

    Like

  14. Good golly, they figured a burger would pay for the petrol to drive a couple of hours?!? Amazing. I think you need to pin that button to your shirt everyday, so you can just point at it each time someone asks you to do something.

    Like

  15. My problem is I say no too much and I do get called out on it. I need to learn to be more generous and open to things, but I’m afraid I can be very selfish!

    But it sounds like you could definitely benefit from saying no more often. It’s so liberating when you do!

    Like

  16. I have a friend who has a difficult time saying no. In fact, I was just teasing him about that exact thing via text message recently. Me…not so much (except to the people that mean the most to me).

    Like

  17. Great post, Dallas. The problem is a serious one, but I am confident that you have what it takes to overcome it. All you have to do is use your imagination, and your sense of humor, which you’ve already demonstrated in abundance. When someone asks you to take them to the airport on Wednesday, you could answer, I could do it on Tuesday, before nine in the evening… but it could be later because I have to sleep at night. Invent complicated answers. Occasionally, you might just want to give an answer that doesn’t make sense at all… Soon people will realize that you’re not the sort they want to depend on for such missions. As writecrites says, it’s easier to say ‘sorry’ than to just say no. But first, go to work developing a reputation of someone no one wants to ask anyway. And when I mention humor… it’s not to amuse those who make requests. It’s to amuse yourself. If you burst out laughing, just excuse yourself, saying… I was thinking of what a mess I’d make of that…

    Like

  18. I also need to learn saying no. Specially, to my boss who often asks me to work over time or to work on my days off 😦 I guess I need to learn to turn my cellphone off too on my days off.

    Like

  19. I have never had any problem with people asking me to drive them somewhere or have me make them any food, They know that I am a terrible driver and a terrible cook. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Here is what I think – you are the type of person who is a kindred spirit. You bring life to every party discussion, workplace. You have an ability to know how people feel and react. You make our world a better, joyful place. In a word, you bring hope. People instinctively gravitate to you because they like to be with you. The problem comes because there are those who simply have been gifted with an extraordinary amount of selfishness. I always think that a “no” well placed and said with a smile, helps them come to understand that they need to participate in life. Move from being and “energy vampire” to a life affirming global citizen. That is a gift that will keep on giving and giving!

    Like

  20. Like you I sometimes say yes when I should not. Over the years though, no comes more easily. Here are the reasons why;

    No, I do not have time to drive you to the airport. You are flying out of town in first class while I am staying behind to take care of your children and you would like me to pay, out of my pocket for gas, parking, tolls and babysitting while I drive you. NO.

    No, you may not have a child with that floozy blond while you are still married to me. Nevermind, here are the divorce papers. NO.

    No, you may not borrow another $5,000 from me. You are fully employed and didn’t pay back the other $1,000 you borrowed. I don’t believe you when you tell me you have medical problems that have prevented you from paying me back or that you need this money to prevent you from losing your home. Not only that, I don’t care any longer. NO.

    Sometimes, you simply have to take a long hard look at all the ways in which you have been taken advantage of because you are kind. Even if the person in front of you isn’t intending to take advantage of you, just remember the others who have because of your inherent kindness and your inability to say no.

    Just like the neighbors who assumed a burger was sufficient payment for you to wake at 3am, drive them 2 hours to the airport using your petrol. It was not sufficient payment, they should have at least reimbursed you for the gas! Then they assumed you would be picking them up. That my friend, is taking advantage of anothers kindness, you didn’t agree to a round-trip.

    Like

  21. It just shows what a very kind heart you have Dallas. I also find it hard to say no, but I have Jack as a back stop, he always say you can tell them I won’t let you…..

    Like

  22. I’ve always been one of the first to jump straight in – but lately, I have been trying hard to both sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut. At least it seems to be working SOME of the time!

    Good luck, Dallas!

    Like

  23. Dallas, I submit that you are a member of Tom Shadyac’s new army, young and old alike (but more young than old) who understand and believe that cooperation is the key to survival on this planet. (I have met Tom and heard him speak to young people on several occasions.) You are in the right. You are not being taken advantage of. You are doing the right thing. Of course, there will be times when you have to say “no,” for example when your own sis, ma or da needs you, but blessings are being stored up for you, Dallas, and when you show generosity, it makes the world a little bit more livable. So, feel GOOD about your service. “The ultimate profit is to serve one another.” Someone has to start that process for it to catch on. You may not change the old couple, but you will and ARE changing others. 🙂 Watch this, and you will see what I mean. http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/the-writers-room–tom-shadyac-bruce-almighty-liar-liar-ace-ventura/517ed05f78c90a0b24000107 – Kaye

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s