I Disagree With Saying ‘No’. We Need To Start Saying ‘Yes’ More Often.

July 20, 2016

Rest when you’re dead.

There’s no denying the fact we glorify the hell out of being busy.

It’s like we’re all competing for a gold star in the race of who can work the longest, go to the most social events and spend as many of their few remaining minutes as possible working out like we’re auditioning for the next Hollywood action blockbuster.

I get it. We’re all exhausted, time poor and desperate for a moment of reprieve.

But you know what? I don’t care how tired you are when it comes to maintaining relationships. Because when I invite you out for drinks or arrange a trip away, I expect you to say “yes”, really mean it, and not start immediately formulating a plan to back out.

On more occasions than I can begin to even remember, I’ve had every reason to say no to something. I’ve been overworked, surviving on snatches of Valium-fuelled sleep and nursing the end of a cold; and I’ve still said yes.

The problem with the movement toward saying no more often, is the fact it’s given us all license to start becoming really shitty friends who are missing out on incredible experiences in the process. Saying yes is what life is all ABOUT. We weren’t put on this planet to turn down opportunities to make memories and have amazing moments with people so we could all stay in and watch Netflix. No one ever said “If only I’d binge-watched the new season of OITNB one more time…” on their death bed.

Before the days of being expected to answer our boss’s emails at midnight, we showed the hell up to stuff. Whether we had a busy week, other commitments to juggle, or were just feeling generally not up for rolling off the couch and getting dressed, we pulled up our socks and threw on our shoes and hot-footed it to make an appearance at events where we knew the presence of our faces meant something to someone. And we made incredible once-in-a-lifetime memories while doing it.

I’m not suggesting we all start burning ourselves out or turn into doormats, but I am suggesting we all start saying yes a hell of a lot more often – even when (in fact, even more so when) we don’t feel a hundred per cent up to it. Some of the greatest moments I’ve had in my life have come from agreeing to do things I was only half interested in at times I felt totally spent.

Call me crazy, but I still front up to friends’ birthdays if I’m sick, agree to take on interesting extra projects at work I in no way have the time for, and regularly quash my urge to conjure up an excuse when people who aren’t even good friends ask me if I want to join them for a drink. On almost every occasion, those people have become pivotal people in my life I’m glad I took the time to get to know, my work projects have led to large promotions and pay rises, and being at birthdays of friends, well, those are moments that simply can’t be repeated.

I feel genuinely sad for the people in my life who regularly say no in favor of curling up on the couch with their SOs or their Netflix. Life is so short. We don’t know how long any of us will be here, as much as we want to hope and pray it’ll be for a long time to come, nothing in this world is for certain; except for the fact that you only have one life to live. One life to be the best, most fun, loving version of yourself. One life to explore all those whims you’ve had to give a career in hairdressing a shot, go back to school, start your own business or see the world with your closest friends. And one life to make unforgettable memories with other human beings.

Try this experiment for the next month: don’t be the person who watches others’ lives go by, hitting ‘Like’ every time your friends post an amazing holiday snap, check-in to a bar or update their job status to say they’re giving art school a go. Be the person doing all those things.

Say yes not just to friends, family and acquaintances alike, but to the opportunities you’ve been letting pass you by. Don’t watch everyone else do what you could have done as you log on to your social media accounts. Turn off the TV, get up and go and do something today with someone, be it a friend you’ve neglected as your life’s gotten busier, or an old work colleague you’ve been turning down for coffee. You never know what saying yes will mean to that person, and what impact it will ultimately have on your life. So go forth and be a yes man and see where it takes you for the next four weeks. Carpe diem.

Image via giphy.com.

Comment: Are you guilty of saying “no” often?


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