“Just say no”. I seem to remember this was a slogan for some “don’t drink/have sex/smoke/something” campaign in the 80’s or 90’s.

Just say no. How easy to say to someone. And how difficult for someone to do. And mean it. And stick to it.

For some reason especially for women, saying no is impossible. No to a boss that requires unbelievable accomplishments, no to a child that want’s to have that 3rd candy bar in a crowded supermarket. No to a friend who wants to unload umpteenth time about marital problems. No to a husband that is too lazy to do anything himself.

I’m not saying no should be the standard answer, although it would be beneficial sometimes.

I’m talking about the no you’re not saying when you should: when you have to extra, give extra, bend over backwards, always prioritize someone else than yourself.. when you have to “sacrifice”.

An example:

A woman has split up with a no-good hubby, who was unemployed, lazying around the home, depressed, drinking, not wanting help in any shape or form. The woman stays with him a long time, trying to help, but then she’s had enough and she leaves. Moves out, starts a new life.

Then the parents of the man cry out for help (the parents that haven’t been in touch with the man for a decade): “He’s depressed, he needs someone to be with him, to take care of him, make sure he’s okay! And no, we can’t do it, we just booked a two-week cruise. So you should come and take care of him!”

And she doesn’t say no. Instead, she moves in for the two weeks, taking care of the man, who’s still depressed, lazying around the house, drinking, not wanting help in any shape or form.

She’s unhappy, she’s angry with herself for not saying NO, I WON’T DO IT.


It is hard not to help when asked, but does it have to be at price of one’s own well-being? In the example case is the man more important than the woman? She gave him already many years and then called it quits – does she still have to jump up and help if need be?

Why is it so difficult to just say no? “Not my problem anymore, I don’t care, thanks for calling”. Is it a sense of duty? Of guilt? Of culture? Of manners? You just don’t say no when someone asks? Or is it being a martyr?

But if you never say no, doesn’t it border on stupidity: you get taken advantage of, you’re being used?

Isn’t NO an important part of your boundaries – that you and everyone should respect?

Of course help needs to be given when needed. But should it be given at any cost in any situation?

It’s okay to say no sometimes!

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