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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stamation

The YES / NO Conundrum

For some people the act of saying NO comes easy. For others it is a terribly uncomfortable position that creates such a conundrum, they end up saying YES when they want to say NO.

Do you find yourself saying YES when you want to say NO?

Did you say YES to: A request for a raise? An ill-timed vacation request? Or say YES to dining at a Chinese restaurant when you wanted Italian? An activity with the in-laws? The examples are endless, so why do we do it?

Why We Do It

It’s no risk to say YES, the other person gets what they want and they’re off your back. No risk of conflict, no risk of losing the relationship. If we say NO the perceived risk is our world will blow up and we’ll lose the relationship. So, what’s at play? Losing the relationship. Here are some examples of why we say YES:

The Downside

What’s the cost of always saying YES? It starts with being too busy and overbooked and ends with you feeling angry and resentful. Here are some downsides:

The Stretch

Say NO to something twice this week. This may be a challenge, so start small with low-risk situations where you can safely say NO and you can convince yourself the relationship won’t be at risk with this stretch.

Want more ideas on how to say NO? Pick up one of Jim Camp’s books on the subject. No. The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home by Jim Camp (2007) is the one I studied.

Next week will continue the Yes / No Conundrum exploring how trust is undermined when we always say YES.


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