The Word No

The word “No” must be one of the most used words in the world.  It crosses nations and languages like my dog’s smelly farts cross a room.  (sorry, he just cut one and it was an accessible analogy :-)).  It’s a word I hear daily, and I’m always amazed at how freely we toss it around.  Sometimes NO is the right answer. And it protects us from ourselves.

I must say that  I’m not the best at using the word No.  I often say Yes (although my husband would challenge that), but I don’t like to turn people away.  As a result, I get overcommitted and frustrated which leads to pissed off and irritable.  And that’s a short step away from insanity, where I lose it and scream bloody murder.  SO what’s the big deal?  It’s not a bad word.  As my cousin would say to me ” What’s Your Problem Girrrrl?”  (She has NO problem with NO…lol…)

I’m not saying I’m a doormat either.  But I do use it sparingly, only when I know I really can’t commit.  Recently when after working with a client, we decided to turn them away.  I just couldn’t do it, it was too much vampire energy for me in that relationship.  I’d be exhausted after a phone call, running in circles and circles.  That felt freeing, it was like a literal cord was cut in the universe.  Released from the mothership. >Snip.>

My son uses it like a brick wall.  No, Nope, Never, Not.  I often think that he uses it too much because he shuts down opportunities as quckly as turning a faucet off.  Simple, quick, but sometimes painful.

My husband has no problem with the word either. There must be a happy medium, but I guess it’s all in the way we manage ourselves.  It’s different for everyone.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I don’t like to disappoint people.  Or perhaps its because I really WANT to be helpful and believe at that moment, I can do it.

But one of my favorite coaches, Cheryl Richardson, wrote a newsletter article one week about saying No as a daily practice.  I must say I did enjoy cutting the cord in my example above.  It’s easier when it’s not kids or family, but still, it has its place.

Being nice is good, but being honest is better.  So let’s hear it for the word NO.

Hurray!!  N N N N N N NO!


  1. says

    Sometimes you just have to say the word “no.” I know, if you’re like me, it feels horrible to actually say it, but sometimes tough love is an important part of life.

    Amanda Alexander PCC (ICF) Professional coaching for working mothers

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