Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

There’s a word that you learn quite early on in life and become all too familiar with but then don’t necessarily use enough when you get older:

It can be a difficult word to say at times. Your friends want you to do something that maybe you don’t want to, and you might find yourself unable to utter this one little syllable that’s only two letters long. It’s so simple yet, for some reason, can’t seem to escape from your mouth.

“No” isn’t always a popular word, especially when you’re a teenager. (Depending on your personality, it might also not be very common in your vocabulary when you’re an adult, either.) What I’ve learned over the years—and sometimes the hard way—is that “no” is sometimes the best thing you can say, and you don’t even need to add on an explanation with it.

Want a drink?

Take a hit of this.

Come on, it’s just sex.

Those are only a few stereotypical examples, but they exist for a reason. You aren’t required to be who other people want you to be. You can be the you you want to be—and you can so “no” to the things that you know will keep you from authentically being her.

And you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Sometimes I think toddlers have the right idea. They don’t seem to care at all what other people think of them, and they march to the beats of their own drums. You try telling a little tot to do something he or she doesn’t want to do, and it’s very likely you’ll get one response: no. There’s no reasoning as to why or any excuses offered—just that simple word that carries so much emphatic power.

I remember when I was a senior in high school and at a party, and a guy came up to me with a drink and said something along the lines of “I just want to see you take one sip—just one—so that I can say that I saw you drink before we graduate.” I kind of laughed and then said that word “no” and walked away to go chat with some of my friends.

It felt good.

The choices you make are yours. They’re not your friends’, they’re not your boyfriend’s, and they’re certainly not some guy’s who just really wants to see you take a sip of alcohol.

This word “no” is especially important to remember when it comes to your body. There’s a lot of pressure in this world for individuals to have sex before they’re really ready. There’s no mandatory timeline saying that you can’t be a virgin when you graduate high school or college or when you turn 30 or 50, for that matter. Don’t do something just because someone else wants you to or because you’re afraid to go against the majority.

Be bold enough to say “no” and walk away fearlessly and confidently.

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