Why It's Okay To Say No

Why It's Okay To Say No

Take Back Your Life
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It's Thursday night, and you have a huge test in the morning that you have neglected to study for all week long. But, your friend just asked, no -- demanded, that you go with them to the club. “You need to get out and have some fun,” they say, and you cringe internally. Dancing sounds entertaining, but then again, so does passing this class you spent an exorbitant amount of money on. You know you need to say no, but they make it almost impossible to do so. Instead of studying, you get dragged along, and you're probably driving too because you couldn’t say no to that request either.

It's halfway through pay periods, and you have slim to nothing in your bank account. You drive up to the gas station, counting quarters to buy enough gas to get back and forth to work. You have some money in your bank account, but you’re saving it for when you really need it. Your friend texts you, telling you yet another sob story about how they’ve consisted solely on ramen noodles for the past three days, and they just need a few small items from Walmart to hold them over until next pay day. They’ll promise to pay you back. You’re eating ramen too, but you oblige, yet again. (Clearly you say yes, too much). Now you have no money, and they used what cash you gave them to take their friends out to Chipotle. You’re such a good friend.

You’re packed up and ready to go home for the weekend. You long for a comfortable night’s rest, free food, and showering without flip flops. You’re almost out the door when your friend calls you and begs you to go to to a community service event with them. “We’re low on hours this semester, it will be fun! If you don’t go, I can’t possibly go, PLEASE?” They beg and beg until you slump in defeat. You throw your bag onto your bed, longing for a home cooked meal. Maybe next weekend, you think glumly.

Do any of these sound like you? If not, do they sound like someone you know? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have some news for you. You or your friend may have the "Need to Please" disease. It isn’t a bad thing, let me assure you, but sometimes you need to use that magic two letter word to save your sanity. Saying no is healthy, and sometimes completely necessary to get through life. But if you don’t know how to say no quite yet, I’ll give you some tips to help you along the way.

1. Acknowledge that you are one person, and you can’t accomplish everything.

If you’re saying yes to everyone, you’re more than likely saying no to yourself. You want to read that book you’ve been dying to read? Do it! Saying no to at least one person means you can say yes to yourself. Try telling yourself that saying yes to things you don’t want to do is impossible, that way it's easier to say no.

2. Reflect on your inability to say no. Why can’t you say it?

Is it because you feel like you’ll insult your friend by saying no? Are you afraid that this person will stop talking to you if you’re not bending over backwards for them? Chances are, if they are your friend, saying no won’t affect your friendship at all. In fact, down the line, they may even have more respect for you. I’m not telling you to say no at all points in time. By all means, if it's an emergency, help them! But, if it's something as simple as hanging out or going to the mall, feel free to say no, and you may have some time to take that bubble bath you’ve been craving.

3. The more you say no, the more you can say yes – to the things that matter.

If you’re too busy bending over backwards for everyone, you may miss what’s actually important. You’re probably overbooking yourself. As we learned from Spongebob when he tried to help Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Patrick, people get mad if they feel they're placed on the back-burner because of your poor time management. If he couldn’t get everything done, you probably can’t either. Selectively saying no gives you the option to pick and choose what you’d like to do, and are able to do, for people.

4. You may feel guilty for saying no, but you don’t have to; it's your life, not their’s!

People can come up with the most fantastical excuses about why you have to help them. It may make you feel guilty, so you give in. But I'm saying, don't! Just be firm and calm, and explain why you can’t help them. Don’t over-apologize, because they might take that as a sign of weakness and beg until you break. Keep a firm stance, and perhaps give them ideas on how to fix the predicament on their own. The more you say no, the easier it will be.

5. Tell yourself you’re not being selfish.

You’re helping everyone all the time, whether you want to or not. People know you aren’t selfish, so you don’t have to feel like you are. You matter the most, and it's okay to think that way. Only you know what you want and what you don’t. You have to make these decisions for yourself, no matter how other people will try to make you feel. If someone is trying to make you feel guilty for not helping them, even after explaining the reasons why you can’t, do you really need this person in your life? Probably not.

Now that you know how to say no, you can say yes—to yourself, and the things you want to do!

Cover Image Credit: Ashley McNamee

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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