Oct. 14, 2020

Getting Better At Saying 'No'

Saying ‘no’ doesn’t come easily to a lot of us. (The world likes it that way.) But when you’re seething with resentment because you’re running the school auction by yourself, AGAIN, might there be a better way? Here’s how to get better at saying no.

Saying no is a lot harder for women. We’re conditioned to be compliant; studies show that by middle school, girls shy away from expressing authentic preferences in order to fit in. And when we do say no, the world holds that against us more than it would a man.

Perhaps that explains how we might find ourselves running the grade school bake sale *again,* and being resentful, when we could just have said no in the first place.

In this episode we discuss

  • the difference between a hard no and a soft no
  • where to practice your no
  • how to decide once what's a no
  • why you should say you “don’t” want to do something, instead of that you “can’t”

In order to let go of our people-pleasing tendencies, the best place to start might be by looking within. Are we really the only one who can keep her finger in the dam in this particular situation?

If not, saying 'no' might be worth the discomfort; it makes more room in our lives for the things we want to be there.

Here are links to the studies and other writing on this topic that we discuss in this episode:

Jackie Ashton for Washington Post On Parenting: The art of saying no: How to raise kids to be polite, not pushovers

Jessica Bennett for NYT: Welcome to the 'No' Club

Brené Brown for oprah.com: 3 Ways To Set Boundaries

Meghan Keane for NPR's Life Kit: How To Say No, For The People Pleaser Who Always Says Yes

Sarah Mendekick for LA Times Op-Ed: Men can’t hear it, women don’t say it — the everyday importance of ‘no’

Katharine Ridgway O'Brien: "Just Saying "No": An Examination of Gender Differences in the Ability to Decline Requests in the Workplace."

Samantha Radocchia for women2.com: LEARNING THE ART OF SAYING ‘NO’

Kristin Wong for NYT: Why You Should Learn to Say ‘No’ More Often

...and finally, the legendary E.B. White, who never had any problem saying no, reading Charlotte's Web

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