Social Question

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

Why can't I say "no"?

Asked by QueenOfNowhere (1868points) July 30th, 2011

For example, when a guy tries to kiss me, I can’t say no. Although I don’t kiss but I just smile and try to get away with it.
Another example is when a friend asks to watch something, I say sure even though it’s the last thing I want to do.

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11 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It takes practice.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

You have been socialized to play weak, to say yes, to be agreeable. You have also been scared out of your strength, as a woman, when you’re next to a man. You have been made paranoid about what would happen if you did say ‘no’ and, sadly, that paranoia isn’t always unfounded because he has been socialized to not take no for an answer or to think no means yes. Reverse this madness, learn to say ‘no’, it’ll help you in all angles of life.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

You’re not sure yet where to draw the line with what’s polite and what’s ok for you to object to. Like @ANef_is_Enuf writes, it takes practice. Keep in mind, especially with men that there are people who count on others to react with politeness in order to get what they want even if they already know you don’t want to give it.

rebbel's avatar

Start your course Saying No! by beginning to say no to relatively simple questions and requests.
Like the one that you provided in the details of your question: the one about watching something.
Or think of things like: Do you want a cola? No (I rather have a Sprite)!.
Say no to things where you feel strong about, there must be something(s) of which you have no problem saying no to?
After a while saying no will prove to be easier, it will strengthen your confidence which in return will make it even more easy to do so.
Now, reply to me right away ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

Choosing to accomodate a friend about a TV program is reasonable if you get to pick half the time.

Choosing to be kissed when you don’t want to is a very different matter. What are you trying to get away with? You can never please everyone without compromising yourself to the point where “yourself” may disappear.

Practice in the easy areas. “I’m not interested in watching that, thanks. I’ll catch you later.”

Being a door mat will not make you happy, strong, confident or even popular. We give you permission to define yourself and act on the decision.

“No kissing, sorry.”

rebbel's avatar

@QueenOfNowhere :-)
Well done!
Keep it up!

Aethelflaed's avatar

It takes practice. Lots of it. And deep breaths while telling yourself that those people you just said no to probably don’t hate you, they’re probably not planning on slashing your tires, and it probably didn’t even register with them, just as it wouldn’t really be a big deal if they had said it to you. Practice not just in real life, but in your head if there’s a big rejection you’re dreading – for instance, telling your mother that you won’t be coming home from college for Thanksgiving this year, but are rather going to your new boyfriend’s place. Picture her reaction, and you holding your ground. Or in this case, picture a guy trying to kiss you, and you saying no, and the possible reactions he might have, and how you would respond to those reactions, while holding your ground.

JLeslie's avatar

This is a very good question. Many people gave you good answers above. Start practicing now, because as @Simone_De_Beauvoir mentioned, it will help in many parts of your life. Unfortunaltely what happens to women over time is they go along with what is asked of them so often, that they fail to know what they want for themselves. Lose touch with who they are as individuals. There is nothing wrong with doing what a friend wants to do once in a while, but it should not be every time at the sacrifice of what you like to do.

One more thing to consider; you might be more of a follower than a leader. The leader types generally are dictating what is going to happen, and it is up to a follower in that situation to say yes, or stand up against the flow and say no. If you sometimes take the role of the leader, you are not in the position of having to say yes or no. Just something to think about.

Kardamom's avatar

Because you haven’t yet learned how to stand up for yourself and what you want and believe, in a manner that is polite and/or non-agressive.

Most women grow up being taught how to please other people by being accomodating. And they were most likely punished, in one way or another, if they did not act that way. Being accomodating is a good thing, to a certain extent. The problem comes in, when we start to grow up and want and need certain things, but we don’t know how to ask for them. Or we ask, but we don’t know how to ask for them without coming across as being mean or bitchy or ungrateful.

Learning how to ask for what you want, or saying no to those things that we don’t want (meaning: things that are not good for us, or are dangerous, or potentially detrimental, as opposed to things we don’t want just because we are being lazy or selfish) is one of the most important skills to learn on your way to becoming a mature and independent person.

The first steps in learning how to say no, is figuring out what our core values really are. Then figuring out ways to politely, and directly say no. It helps to have information to back up your “No’s” when you have to use them, otherwise it confuses people.

For example: If you don’t want to kiss a particular fellow, you don’t want to jump up and shout no in his face. You have to know in your heart, already that this particular fellow is not someone that you are interested in kissing because of several reasons that you need to realize in your own head and heart, before you ever get yourself into a position where someone is likely to try to kiss you. You might not want to kiss anyone at your age and point in your life. If that is the case, then simply let the fellow know that.

You don’t have to be rude or mean. You can say something like, “Doug, I’m just not at a point in my life right now where I want to become intimate with anybody right now. I don’t want to tempt myself by kissing you or anyone else right now.”

Or if you don’t want to kiss this particular fellow because you aren’t attracted to him, again, you don’t have to be mean. You could say, “Doug, I like you and I consider you to be a friend, but I don’t feel the same way about you, so I just can’t kiss you. Come on, let’s go get a glass of iced tea” It’s a really good skill to acquire, to have an alternative activity in mind, so that you can quickly change the subject and do something else, immediately so that the other person isn’t left hanging or feeling like cr*p. The goal is simply to not have to do an activity that seems wrong or out of place for you, not to embarrass or shame the other person.

If you are constantly saying yes to your female friends about movie or TV shows or outings to the mall or whatever, come up with some real reasons ahead of time, so they’ll already be in your mind for when you politely decline. You could say something like, “Amanda, would you mind if we went rollerblading instead of watching this movie? I just feel like we need to get outside for awhile.” or you could say, “You know, I’ve enjoyed watching Fame, but we’ve seen it about 5 times, do you think we could maybe pick another movie? I’ve heard about this really cool movie called Shawshank Redemption, maybe we can check it out.”

If you have a friend or a relative that is constantly trying to get you to help her out with projects, or to volunteer time or something like that, you will need to come up with some pat answers for why you can’t do these activities (only make sure that you don’t always try to get out of the activities or else you will indeed start to offend people). One of the best things to say is, “Jean, I know I helped out with the bakesale the last two times, but this year, I just feel like I want to relax. I enjoyed doing it, but it really was a lot of work and I think I’ll beg off this time. I hope you don’t mind.” or you could say, “Jean, I would love to help you man the phone banks this year, but I simply can’t. I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and I just don’t think I can add another thing on this time. Maybe you can come over tomorrow and we can just sit down and have some lattes. Would that be OK?”

What you want to do, is try to disarm people with your words. You don’t want to tell people how stupid you think they are or how bad their breath is, or that they are way too demanding and annoying. Even if all of these things are 100% true.

So get out a pad of paper and a pencil and just start writing out dialogues for certain situations in which you find yourself, the ones where you’ve had trouble saying no in the past. Then get a good friend (not one that you need to say no to, of course) to help you practice saying these lines out loud. Make sure that your friend has some good come backs and further questions because you often have to make more than one pass in these situations. Such as if the bake sale lady comes back and says, “But @QueenOfNowhere I was counting on you to help with the bakesale!” You have to have your reasons already in your mind as to how to counter something like that. In this case you could say, “I’m so sorry, I really enjoyed doing it last year, but it really took a lot out of me. I just don’t have the mental energy, or time, to do it this year.” And just keep repeating and repeating the same types of things, politely, but clearly, until they give up.

Good luck : )

Hibernate's avatar

@Kardamom great answer for the time you spent typing it :P

@QueenOfNowhere I wish I’d have your way of getting along with some people. I say NO way too much.

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