Why It's Okay To Say No

Why It's Okay To Say No

Take Back Your Life

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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Dear Little Sis

Focus on yourself rather than boys.

Dear sis,

This is your first year of high school and you are about to be 15! I remember my 15th birthday like it was yesterday. Two years later I left for college and left high school behind. I wish I would have had some of this advice when I was your age. I would have slowed down and enjoyed my life, in the moment. I took for granted a lot of the small things around me. I hope you enjoy the life you are given because you only get one! So live it up.

Always search for volunteer opportunities. Helping others will help you become a more open-minded caring person. it builds character and will bring you happiness in ways I can not explain.

School matters more than you might think.

Every college has a certain grade point average, but you should always strive to get the best grades you can. Studying now will pay off in the long run. If I could give you any advice when it comes to school it is that learning multiple studying tips are very important.

Keep a small circle of friends. You watched me in high school so you know that it was always me, Brenda, Michaela, and Summer. I still talk to all of these girls today. One day you will be attending your first homecoming with your girlfriends then you blink and you are attending your senior year prom. You and your friends will fight from time-to-time, but they will be the ones to console you after a breakup or scream with you when you get into college.

Be nice to mom as much as you can.

Mom is the one who will drive you around until you finally can. Then when you can finally drive she will be always worried if you are okay and what you are doing. She will bend over backward trying to find a meal that you want to eat to make you happy. One day you will be in college and realize nobody cooks a pot roast or macaroni like she does. I always regret raising my voice and fighting with her, because all he wanted was the best for me. She will work her butt off to give you the things you want to be mindful the next time you get mad because you want the newest makeup or iPhone. Be grateful for the little things she does, because one day you will be eating ramen and calling her to ask what dryer sheets are.

Focus on yourself rather than boys.

I promise you the person you like at 14 will not matter to you by the time you graduate. At your age boys are immature and the most important thing to them is video games and what their friends think. Always have the confidence to tell yourself that you deserve better.

Get involved in extracurricular. This will allow you to meet so many people that might not be in the "circle" you run with. It is important you are accustomed to people that might be different than you. It is also great for you to be involved with your school so you have memories to cherish for years to come and comes with great opportunities.

Life is what you make it!!

Cover Image Credit: Alicia Steels

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Back To Reality

Only six more weeks of school!

Unfortunately spring break has come to an end. Fortunately, the weeks that follow spring break before summer are some of the fastest you'll ever experience.

If you're a senior in high school, you'll be shocked to see how fast your last year of high school went by. Prom will be coming up, and you'll start to say your last goodbye's to people you've virtually spent your whole life with

Similarly, if you're a freshman in college, you won't believe that you graduated high school a year ago already.

Lastly, if you're a senior in college, get ready to be thrown into the real world real soon. The only way you can delay that is if you're leaving college just to go back to continue more school after (yay for higher education @MedStudents @LawStudents).

These weeks for college students will be filled with the middle round of exams, and then final exams. Finals will hit us like a bus as they always do, but at that point you have three months of not thinking about school once, what's better than that?

The weather will start to get warmer (hopefully.... @Syracuse), people will start to hang out more outside, and you can almost taste the freedom. You see the light at the end of the tunnel, if only you could get there sooner.

Once these weeks go by, I will enter my third year of college and no longer be an underclassmen. My big will graduate and it will just be my little and I in our sorority, and will (hopefully) be getting ready to study abroad.

Back to the reality that is school, it sucks that spring break is over. When you first get back, it's going to feel like the days are dragging and you just can't fathom how you're supposed to get through another six weeks of school.

As you get back into the rhythm of things, you see that March blends into April and once you're in April you realize finals exist again, and then next thing you know it it's May, you just finished your last exam, and you're moving out of school.

Another one gone, another year bites the dust.

The time between Spring Break and finals is actually my favorite. You feel the energy of your school go up because you're in the home stretch of finishing up for the year and everyone just seems happier. Even the chronically stressed take a step back and appreciate all the hard work they've done in the year.

Take these weeks with a grain of salt because before you know it it'll be over. Life goes on and time doesn't stop for anyone, so enjoy your time in the places that you are while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Anna Russo

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