When I was a kid the whole “Just Say No” thing was really big.
This slogan and D.A.R.E. created a solid 20 years of thoroughly deceptive and ineffective anti-drug education.
There may be something to it though.
By not saying no, we all make things harder on ourselves than we need to.
Someone asks us if we would like to do something.
We really don’t want to.
Not even a tiny little bit.
So we say…maybe.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Are we trying to buy ourselves time?
Are we trying to minimize the hurt caused by giving them a straight up no answer?
Are we just cowards?
It’s a weird thing. We know we have no desire or intention of doing this thing, yet we are afraid to state this.
This causes all sorts of issues.
We end up using the very limited amount of time we have on things we hate, or we go through this sad process of scheduling-cancelling-rescheduling-cancelling until the whole thing just kind of goes away.
The funniest part is that in trying to spare someone else’s feelings, we make it harder on them and probably hurt their feelings even more by allowing the thing to die a slow death instead of never letting it be alive in the first place.
What is wrong with simply saying no?
Are we obligated or required to spend our time on things we aren’t excited about, or even interested in?
Look, I get that there are some things that we will end up doing that we don’t really want to because it’s what we do. I do not see myself ever being excited about kids sporting events, but I will go.
Don’t judge me, the kids aren’t even good at it. They can barely walk right, why do I want to watch them try to play soccer or basketball? I don’t even like baseball when grown men on steroids hit the ball into neighboring states, why would I want to watch kids bump it off a tee before waddling to first base?
I’m just kidding.
Kids sports are every bit as awesome as doing something I actually like.
Apart from the things I do for my family and the people I love, I do try to say no to the things that do not interest or excite me.
And me saying no tells you nothing about the person inviting me or the activities themselves, only that they are not a priority for me.