I'll set the scene, a friend asks you to run a race for charity with her. You say yes. You wanted to say no but what kind of out of shape jerk says no to running a charity race? Besides, your friend loves running and it would make her happy to have someone to run with. So you start running with her after work three days a week. Your body aches, you hate running, and you spend most of the run thinking about all the things you could be doing if you weren't running. You tell yourself that you are doing the right thing. You are making your friend happy. You are doing something for charity.
Meanwhile your friend starts off very excited that you agreed to run with her. She thinks you are loving it in the beginning because you always show up to practice with her. Then she starts to notice that you seem a little crabby as the practicing goes on and the runs get longer. She hears you complaining about all your aches and pains and how getting to practice is hard because you had so much else to do. She starts to feel bad that she asked you because you don't seem to be enjoying yourself.
By the time the charity race happens, the two of you are feeling strained and distant. You resent her for roping you into running because you really hate running. You have spent a bunch of time preparing for something that you didn't get any enjoyment out of and you wound up with a sore body and a big resentment.
Your friend has started to regret asking you to run with her because you are so negative about it that it is uncomfortable to be around you. She wonders why you continue to show up and run when you seem so miserable about it. She starts to resent you because you are taking something that she loves and making it a negative experience.
The two of you finish the race with fake smiles plastered on your faces and go your separate ways, with both of you probably saying "never again". There is now bad feelings between the two of you and things seem weird. All because you said yes to something that required your participation and time when you wanted to say no. You were not honest with yourself and not honest with your friend.
Scenario number two could go something like this...Your friend asks you to run a charity race with her. You feel like that would be a bad idea because you really don't like running and you don't want to. You are busy and do not want to commit to the training it will take. So you tell your friend that you are so happy she thought of you but that you aren't interested in training for or running a race. You tell her that you would love to cheer her on on race day but that you will not be running. Nothing personal, it just isn't your thing. She tells you that is okay, she understands that it isn't your thing and that she would love to see you at the finish line on race day cheering her on. End of story. No resentments, no pretending, no time spent doing things you didn't want to do.
Friends, I'm learning to say yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no. I want that level of honesty in my relationships. When I say yes when I mean no, I'm betraying both of us. Things will go badly because my inner upset will come out somehow and you will feel it. Then we will both feel weird and bad about it all. I'm not doing anyone any favors by trying to make them happy by denying my needs or wants. Miserable people don't make others happy. I think it is science;)
So if you are used to me saying yes and then experiencing weirdness because I'm acting like I really don't want to do it or have a negative attitude about it or am just pouting, things are going to be changing. I may not get it right all the time but I'm going to try really hard to be honest with myself and honest with others. You might be getting some no's from me. It isn't because I don't want you to be happy. It is because I want us to both be happy. I'll be saying yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no. I hope you will do the same for me.