N is for No in the A to Z Challenge. Previously, I wrote about No in How to Create an Absolute No List. That post is based on Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self-Care. And she has a whole chapter on why saying no is good for you.

I know some people get anxious about saying no to requests. Aren’t we supposed to help others? But it’s ok to say no to things that drain your energy, steal your time, drag you down, and don’t benefit you in any way.

The perfect example of the last one comes from a Reddit Forum called AmItheAsshole AITA for short. People post about their real-life situations where people are telling them they were wrong for doing something. Then the readers respond back, telling them whether they are NTA or they are, which is YTA.

In this particular post, the father shared how his daughter’s high school PTA planned to do a fundraiser for the Cheerleaders, which his daughter is one of. The PTA asked if they could use his property for the event. Even though it would be a hassle for him, he willingly agreed since it would benefit his daughter.

At the next PTA meeting, they were told the football team needed new equipment, so the PTA voted to change the fundraiser to benefit the football team and not the cheerleaders. The father withdrew his property for use for the fundraiser as he was only doing it to benefit his daughter. The PTA was mad at him, and he’s pretty sure he’s getting kicked off the PTA. He asked the forum if he was TA for doing it.

The forum had his back and told him he was NTA because he was making a donation of his place to benefit the cheerleaders. Once they changed it to the football team, he absolutely did not have to let them use his property. And it didn’t make any sense for him to have the hassle of his property being used and wasting his time and energy on something that he didn’t originally plan for.

He said no. And even though it pissed some people off, it was the right thing to do.

It’s ok to say no. No matter what others think.

I made the mistake of saying Yes to something I really didn’t want to do. It wasted my whole day. A co-worker asked a few of us to help her move. She said she had a moving truck and was all packed and ready to go but needed help. She was older, so we understood the request. We were younger at the time and thought, sure, we can do that in a few hours.

Queue, the lies (or should I say half-truths?) When we got there around 8:00, only a couple of things were actually packed. And, while she rented a moving truck, she was afraid to drive it, so expected one of us to go get it. We then spent all morning and early afternoon packing up her apartment and getting things into the truck. It was close to 5:00 by the time we were done moving her. And someone still had to drive her moving truck back.

I wished I’d said no. It actually changed our relationship at work. And guess where she moved to? Into the apartment below mine. Made for awkward moments until we moved into a house a few months later.

What if you’re not used to saying no? Maybe you say yes all the time because you’re afraid to hurt people’s feelings. Then you need to practice saying no. Read Disappoint Others by Learning How to Say No for advice on different techniques you can use.

And download this Journal of No to help you decide what’s important in your life. And what you want to say Yes to. It’ll help you free up your time and your energy.