Saying No

Saying no is about respecting yourself and being respected, valuing and recognizing your inner desires, your time and space. To say no is your choice.

Saying No can be important for self preservation whether what is offered is another drink, a chance to help, an opportunity to conform, or forbidden or casual sex.

Rather than avoid it altogether, it’s all about learning the right way to say no, really, the fears of saying no are just in our mind. Saying No after a few drinks is particularly hard as our inhibitions are low but, it is when our decision making skills are not functioning.

Reasons why we don’t say No!

All people are equally capable of self-control though some of us may not believe it, for many, saying I have no self-control is a way of giving ourselves permission to do what we wish.

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Neurologists believe that the brain chemistry in the reward centre alters over a period of time when we continually gratify ourselves.

Some of us have a subconscious fear that the opportunity may not come up again, it may not be on offer in the future, grab it now. Might not be asked again, affect future opportunities. This fear may have developed from childhood experience.

Being an eldest child is one reason for being a people pleaser. It is childhood conditioning that programmes you to comply with the demand when a simple No would have been more respectful to yourself.

People will reject me if I say no. A desire or need to be liked, to conform, possibly never having learnt to say No, pattern behavior from childhood continues to influence into adulthood.

A desire to be needed, to be powerful, indispensible, feelings of omnipotence, a need to help, to be Superman.

Reasons why we don’t say No to another drink

  • I’m expected to be the life and soul of the party,
  • I’m going to need another drink.
  • I don’t come out often.
  • I don’t want to go home yet, I’ll be bored there.
  • May as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
  • I’m boring if I’m not a bit drunk.
  • I haven’t got an ‘off’ switch.
  • I’m bored/uncomfortable/feeling isolated/out of my depth/shy/sad.

If you know that your will-power disintegrates after 2 glasses of wine, state to your companions at the outset ‘I am only staying for 2 drinks and then I must go, if you are at home, do not refill your glass but get another, this may help limit your consumption.

Try not to drink on an empty stomach, and certainly no more than your personal limit, alcohol can have disastrous effects when drunk without food

What does alcohol do to your brain?

Alcohol interferes with the Hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for the formation of memories.

Memory loss through alcohol consumption can be fragmentary and temporary, a ‘brown-out’ or total ‘black-out’.

The lost memories through a brown-out can often be recalled when you are reminded of them, with a black-out which is caused by a higher level of alcohol consumption, the Hippocampus does not even attempt to make memories and so recollection is impossible.

A black-out can occur when the blood alcohol level has reached 0.15% and the drinking has been rapid, that’s twice the UK  limit for driving. Ladies in lacking an enzyme to metabolise alcohol may reach black-out level much faster.

In black-out mode we can have heavy discussions, dance, have sex and make some very bad decisions, to avoid them; don’t drink on an empty stomach, drink slowly and keep an eye on your known personal limit.

Reasons why we don’t say No to sex:

  • Didn’t want to make things awkward, embarrassing.
  • Didn’t want them to see the vulnerable me; I can do anything!
  • Opportunity, he may not ask again.
  • Temptation, excitement and opportunity.
  • Fear of confrontation.
  • Low self esteem, feeling flattered.
  • Childhood abuse with memories of powerlessness.

If you are being pressured for sex that person does not respect you, say No, don’t go home with him stay with your friends, if you like each other swap phone numbers.

When you start saying No it gets easier, saying No I don’t want to come home with you is easier than saying No I don’t want to have sex with you.

Experiment with saying no, it does not have to sound aggressive, practice on the small stuff with everyday demands:

“I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.” If you are too busy to take it on, this will be applicable. Tell them what you are working on if this helps, it may also discourage future requests for help.

“Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. Can I call you back?” This method both holds the request off temporarily and allows you thinking time so you can consider if you want to be involved.

“I’d love to do this, but …” This is a gentle way of breaking no to the other party. It’s encouraging as it lets the person know you like the idea but you just do not have the time or resources, if only…

“Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.” This is more like a “Maybe” than a straight out “No”. If you are interested but you don’t want to say ‘yes’ just yet, use this but do get back to them.

“This doesn’t meet my needs now but I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.” A soft No, you will keep them in mind if your needs change but, right now, no.

“I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?” Suggest a mutual colleague or friend.

“No, I can’t.” We anticipate too many problems with saying no. Don’t think so much about saying no and just say it outright. You’ll be surprised when the reception isn’t half as bad as what you imagined it to be.

(acknowledgement to

Saying No does get easier, take a moment to be sure what you really want, lose the resentment; start with the small stuff and work up…..