SecondIron's Blog

Sharpening Iron to Live Second

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

My mornings used to be a stressful time of the day. After my feet hit the floor, I stretch out all the kinks and sore muscles from sleep the night before. Let my dogs out to go potty and my cat in from his nightly scampers. I would sit down in front of my laptop to catch up on the world that I missed while I slept.

Don't Be Afraid to Say No

Photo Credit: Diego V – Fotógrafo via Compfight cc

I open up my Outlook (email service in Windows for you Mac users) while it was loading I pull up my Facebook feed. Between all the terrible lies being sold as the truth on the interwebs and the spam in my inbox, I would get lost chasing rabbits down the information highway. I receive hundreds of emails daily because at some point I bought what they were selling. I thought it mattered to them if I did, so I did.

If you are anything like I am you have spent most of your life saying ‘yes.’ I bought products I have never used. Have ebooks in will never read and still am bombarded with emails I never had the heart to unsubscribe. I even have a timeshare that we barely have time to use because I could not say ‘no.’ (Willing to sell if you are interested) I spent so much time clicking yes that it became a habit for the rest of my life.

For many years I was a yes man, I would take the path of least resistance and say yes to everyone. After years of being manipulated and taken advantage of financially, somewhere along the way I had enough.

Growing a spine later on in life can be a bit painful versus letting it form naturally. Usually, it will cost you friends, relationships and even family. All of it is worth it however once you learn the easiest, yet one of the most powerful words in the English language, ‘no.’

Ways to say ‘No’ without seeming rude

1. Someone invites you to a gathering you have zero interest in attending, yet have been known to guilt you into things in the past. Simply reply, after looking at your calendar, “that you are sorry but you have a prior commitment.” Even if that commitment is you on the couch binge watching Netflix, it is better than going just because they asked or hurting their feelings with the truth.

2. Would you like something to eat? If you come from an Italian family, you are likely out of luck. However in any other case, “no thank you”, or “I am full”, or “I just ate” all should suffice. Well, mother-in-laws usually don’t care either. Eat until you are full, gluttony is not a return for being polite.

3. Someone tries to sell you something that just sounds too good to be true. This goes for cars, timeshares, direct marketing programs and more. If it sounds that way, it likely is. Tell them you “need to discuss it with your better half.” Even if your better half is your mirror, they usually understand. If your better half is with you, tell them you “need time to sleep on it.” High-pressure sales are like sharks looking for blood. The first sign of weakness and it’s a feeding frenzy.

4. Just because it’s free! Nothing is ever free, sign up to get an e-book and get emails you don’t want. Give away your information for the free seminar so we can up-sell and pester you afterwards. Don’t be afraid to walk away, click away. Unless you want it and can’t live without it, it is probably not worth the ‘free.’

The word ‘no’, will garner you respect amongst your peers, it shall serve you well in the business sector too. Granted you may lose some friends and family that were used to getting their way. You will be better off without them anyway.

I spend my mornings unsubscribing and unfollowing the people full of spin and spam. If you only read what provides you value in your inbox or Facebook feed, you will have so much more time to do the things that are important.

In learning the habit of being able to say no, you free yourself to say ‘yes’ to your dreams and gifts to share with others.

I would love to hear what habits or words you struggle with that if changed could make your life easier? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and join the conversation.



About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

9 Replies

  1. terrygreen397

    I’m learning more and more to say no so I don’t continue to amass the programs and ebooks and other stuff I’ve purchased but never used or read. I’m getting better and better about unsubscribing to. One thing I have learned in the process is not to go in for those goody give-a-way events because they almost always require you to opt in to get their freebie (the ones I never read or use), which is like pushing the send me more and sell to me every day button. Thanks for a great post!

    1. Thank you, and yes the opt-ins seem to be endless these days. Whenever it sounds too good to be true it usually is, there is no such thing as free any more. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. As I was sitting at my desk this morning, I was just thinking about all of the people I say yes to because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so this post is right on time. I’ve come to the realization that I need to say “No” to others in order to say “Yes” to myself, freeing my time for things that nourish my spirit and bring fulfillment to my life. Oh and I’m working on eliminating the “it’s free so why not,” train of thought as well.

    1. It can be difficult to tell people no, I used to say yes all too often and found myself miserable. Now that I can say no without regret my schedule has become much easier to balance. Thank you for commenting.

  3. Candace Crosby

    Great insight here!

  4. Charles, such a good post. I’ve doing a bit of unsubscribing lately myself.