Posted by: Kathy White | July 15, 2010

What We Mean When We Say “yes”

I’m finding it complicated to say no to anything since I’m kind of stranded in this unreal world known as my living room. Not that I need to say no, but when I find an offer come that I don’t really want, it seems rude to say “nah, that’s okay.” Like I’m in a position to reject anything. What, cause I have a better offer?

On the other hand, saying yes has it’s own set of rules. We say yes to a lot of things we may not want to out of obligation or guilt or maybe just not having a good excuse for no right away. We’re caught off guard and  yes seems like the right response. Later, maybe not so much.

If you’re in this situation, I suggest several thoughts:

  • Say yes only when you truly mean it — as in you immediately feel “yes” to whatever is offered.
  • Say no when you truly mean it — as in your stomach tightens at the prospect and you KNOW you don’t want this.
  • Say maybe to hedge your bets but put a time limit on your true answer (at least in your head) — gives you time to think.
  • Don’t ever say whatever pops in to your head without some editing because that can be a disaster you can’t fix sometimes. Ex: “Are you kidding me? Why the hell would I want to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon trapped at your second cousin’s third wedding to a dude she met 3 months ago?” Stop, wait — say “Ah, very sweet of you to invite us but we’ll be … blah, blah, blah, blah.”

I offer this advice only because I have stuck my foot in my mouth, have ended up at occasions that made me want to rip my toenails out, and have seen others tell me their woeful tales of time spent in ungodly situations.

So, to recap: Yes if you mean it, no if you mean it — and always wear a smile no matter WHAT response you’re giving.

This goes out to all my friends who will get emails and phone calls from me wanting visits, outings and general comforting as I heal. It’s okay to say no. But you better be smiling.


  1. I’m getting tattoo’s on both wrists; Left is ‘yes’. Right is ‘no’. Inside my lower lip will be ‘F… Y…”

  2. Yes!

  3. Personally, I grimace and scratch my balls with every reply then pretend not to notice their response. …I’m easily amused.

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