Are you running for mayor?
June 13, 2018

If you’re no longer in the business of getting approval from people you don’t (1) know, or (2) like, congratulations. You’ve passed the first test of being a grownup. That’s why you say “yes” when you mean “no,” right? You want to people to like you. At some point you realize it’s more important to be genuine than to be liked, and that you aren’t running for mayor. You’re still a nice person. You’ve just added yourself to the list of people you’d like to please.

So when someone asks if you want to do something you don’t, just say, “No, thanks.” Or, “It was sweet of you to think of me, but I’m going to pass. Thanks, though!” Whatever your version of “no” is, as long as it doesn’t include an excuse. An excuse gives the other person something to counter, and you aren’t opening a discussion. You’re closing one.

If it still sounds harsh, I hope you’ll consider how much harsher “maybe” is. “Maybe” inspires the person to keep asking, and eventually to feel a bit foolish. Worse is “yes” when you really, really want to say “no” -- and you seethe your way through whatever it is, as if the other person won’t notice.

Doesn’t “no” sound so much kinder now?