Why Yes Is Not Always Best


Lots of people have trouble with saying no. It carries with it the connotation of negativity, obstruction and disappointment. People much prefer to say yes. I know that you and your kind really do struggle with saying no. You prefer to be regarded as a can-do kind of person, positive and accommodating. You also find it difficult to say no to people as you really do not like to see the disappointment on their face should you respond in this way. It makes you feel bad and accordingly, you either avoid saying it in the first place or you change your mind if you have said it. Occasionally, you will take refuge in the realm of uncertainty.

“I will think about it.”

“We shall see.”

“Let me reflect and I will come back to you.”

“I just need to check something, but I think it should be okay.”

You want to say no, but you find that you are unable to and therefore you trot out one of these insipid responses and ultimately you will end up saying yes. We know this is a common trait of yours and something we rely on and play on. We are aware that you do not like to say no and therefore we will press and cajole to ensure you say yes. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we need your validation and approval. Far from it. We do what we want. We like to hear you say yes because it underlines our power over you. We can always make you say yes. Sometimes you do it straight away (especially if we have you conditioned correctly). On other occasions it requires some persuasion and in the remainder of cases we need to pull out our manipulative tool kit to achieve the desired result, but we always get there. You are designed to say yes, we programme you to say yes and you do so even if it is ultimately detrimental to you. You feel you need to please and that need is greatest when it comes to us.

By contrast we are firm disciples of the word “no”. It is a word of strength. It is commanding and authoritative. Those who can say no have fortitude, steel and resilience. We say it regularly. We are untroubled by the fallen expression, the noises of disappointment and pleading. In fact, should you beg and plead we will just keep saying no and sit back and enjoy the fuel that you provide to us by your behaviour. Beseech us, blackmail us, bribe us and bombard us with requests, nay, demands to say yes and every time we will bat you back with a firm no as we savour your increasing anger, frustration and upset.

We do not associate the word no with negativity. We see it as a positive word. It is one that enables us to assert and maintain our superiority. We are able to use it to control you and keep you in your place. We are fully aware that whoever is on the receiving end of the word no automatically feels bad because they have been denied something.

“No I do not want to have dinner with you tonight.”

“No, you cannot borrow my car this evening.”

“No, you cannot go out with your friends tomorrow evening.”

It takes guts and integrity to say no. You struggle to say it because you are used to being exploited and taken for granted. You may try and dress it up as being someone who always helps and is a facilitator but the reality is you end up being used. Notice how in those instances above where I stated no, I did not give a reason for the refusal, I just said no. That takes real strength. I do not need to fall into providing explanations for my decision. It is my decision, the answer is no, that is an end to it. I can do this because I am not accountable. I can do this because I do not feel bad when witnessing the disappointment of others. This enables me to achieve more and avoid being burdened unnecessarily.

You can learn a lot from my use of the word no. Just do not think of ever using it towards me. That’s a big no.



60 thoughts on “Why Yes Is Not Always Best”

  2. Dear Windstorm,
    I “cracked up” … get it (like ice) …when I saw it ….haha
    “Ice man” was played by Val Kilmer in the movie Top Gun (military reference here …..Mr Tudor)
    The “character” depicts some hair loss 😂
    Perfect ” fake ” Facebook page
    Luv Bubbles xx

    1. Ps …. the more I look at it …..is it …can it be….a toaster 😱😱😱😱
      It has a dial button for light n dark and a slit at the top and handles on the side 😱😱😱😱😱

      I think I’ve just had a “meltdown” 😂☃️
      Luv Bubbles xxxx

  3. ‘We programme you to say yes’..

    I have never ever thought about it like that before.
    Noooooooo Tudor, ahhh feels good 🙂

    1. Doc HQ
      I hear that. Whats that saying?
      If you dont stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
      Everyone should take a stand for themselves in learning to say no. Then learn to say no thank you without adding an explanation. Boundaries set.

      1. Dearest NarcAngel,
        My “no’s have always included a “thank you” ……I chuck in a cuppa coffee n cake, shoulder n foot massage into the bargain whilst I’m there 🤣

        No seriously …. I’ve got better….. I’ve stopped the coffee n cake 😂

        Luv Bubbles xx 🍰☕️

  4. I did it!!

    I said ‘maybe, let me think about it, we shall see.’

    I made him wait 10 days. He was also waiting to hear about a new job. I was going to save my answer until he heard about the job so as as not to put more stress on him, but I didn’t wait.

    I said ‘NO’ before he heard about the job. A few days later, the job said NO too. Hahaha.

    Now that I think about it, I didn’t even ask him about the job because I honestly didn’t care and I didn’t want to be in touch anymore. When he didn’t get the job, the pity hoovers started and the next three months were hell.

    It feels good to say no, people. It puts you back in the driver’s seat (until the hoovers start).

  5. great writing. I think thanks to your books and blog i realized I do tend to say “yes” too much. To be too damn pleasing. I will practice saying “No.”

  6. I once tried to bring up the subject of ghosting with my narc friend. I asked him to agree not to ghost me — to at least say goodbye — no matter what happened between us. He responded with a string of snowman emojis. He felt so little accountability to me that he basically communicated that he wasn’t going to discuss it — the relationship was entirely on his terms. With my narc ex, the only one for whom I was a primary source, he would say no to me without any sense that it might jeopardize the relationship. Again, his entitlement, his right. And again I am continually in awe of how universal some narcissistic patterns are.

    1. Michelle

      What a coincidence, my most recent narc had a penchant for sending loads of snowman emojis too… how odd.

  7. Learning to sayNO is hard for us empaths , yet when we say yes ,it doesn’t mean we are happy with it .I feel huge resentment even anger when I say yes to something out of fear , to seem nice etc when my workplace is full of this mentality.
    It’s riddled with pathetic yes men / women and brown nosers , and those that are the puppet masters with the yes men licking their boots.
    The culture truly is twisted ,the puppet masters aren’t even management.
    I am aware of the puppet masters , most are lessers I think , and the yes men/ women are sooooo transparent it actually makes me cringe inside.
    I wonder if my profession draws these types ?.

    1. Kiki

      Which profession is that, if you don’t mind me asking?

      In the workplace, I find that people are suspicious of me. They judge me by their standards and come to the erroneous conclusion that I’m too good to be true and I must somehow have an ulterior motive because nobody is THAT nice.

  8. Hi HG

    The ex romantic narc is currently in silent treatment again and to be honest I’m not too bothered by him .
    It is workplace narc that is now stepping on the pressure and manipulation tactics thick and fast.
    I know I need a consult re this but I just want to ask one question.
    As I am becoming more aware of this woman’s selfish bossy motives ,she is increasing the manipulation and actually stepped out of line in a professional capacity yesterday. I am not falling for her tactics ,and see it is getting worse , laying on the manipulation pressure when I refuse to jump for her.
    I stood my ground again yesterday , and turned her action back on her by saying I was going to consult with my team as why they didn’t inform me of the plan .
    She rapidly became all nice again , what she did was out of line and disrespectful to me as a colleague. I know it and she knows it .
    Why is she upping the manipulation pressure when I refuse to jump through her hoops.It’s getting dangerous for me.
    Let her smear me , I have to stand up to this woman ,it could affect my position as she runs to management smearing

    Yours Kiki

  9. I need to practice using “No” by going “No Contact”.

    My Narc “No questions, questions are drama. You are trying to solicit a response from me. I don’t need your drama! Quit trying to define things. I will dictate to you and let you know when we can get together next. Quit being an Alpha Female!”

    I have healed to some degree. Poison still remains.

    1. I used to get that too. Just different terminology. Being a (pretend) Dominant, my narc used to constantly say “stop trying to top from the bottom” then he would unleash whatever corrective punishment he deemed appropriate. God, when I think about that shit now it makes me want to slap myself silly ha ha. He really is an absolute cock!

  10. I very rarely say no and everyone uses me and takes advantage, not just narcissists. It’s like they can’t resist, they do it because they can. I’ve been told that it’s just human nature, but I’m human too and I don’t behave like that.

      1. Yeah, I really do, amanda.

        I can’t continue to blame those who deliberately exploit me. They wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t ‘allow’ them to do so. I guess that’s basically the reason I’m such easy pickings for narcissists. The mistake I make is believing that everyone I come into contact with has the same moral compass and sense of justice as I. I need to own the role I play in the process. I know I’m naive and childlike in a lot of ways, probably because my sister was my primary care giver when I was growing up and she was only 3 years older than I. I think my problem stems from my conditioning during early childhood. I was abused and neglected by my narc parents. They interfered with my development of self and actively taught me that I had to observe and respect everyone else’s boundaries (especially theirs), while having none of my own because I was nothing. I escaped into a little bubble to protect myself, thus disappearing and effectively becoming a non person. I had to do whatever it took to survive and avoid abandonment or violence. And so I became an accomplished people pleaser at a very young age. It’s hard wired.

      1. Dear Mr Tudor,
        My intentions were sincere and honourable regarding this Facebook page I came across
        To me, it made sense regarding my investigating skills (your name (Harry Tudor) the intense words written and depicting a “character” of an “iceman” which contributed to the added humour…. which you are a master
        I was hoping I had discovered “gold” from the “mysterious” man we admire so much

        I hope it was a good rumble and not a bad rumble …..soooooo, is that a yes or no …..that I was was right … haha
        I’m an empath…. it’s what we do .. 😂
        Luv Bubbles xx

        Ps …I always try to look on the “bright” side … I luv laughter

  11. And I would only like saying “no” to you Tudor, because you put at the end, “don’t think of ever saying it to me” so that immediately makes me want to then do what you’ve said I can’t!

  12. But we are and do feel accountable, and do feel like we need to explain, we are not narcs. I find it hard to say no, but to say no AND with no explanation, just feels I guess wrong to me. I could only do that if I was like really very angry I think. You are right HG, it does take strength. I respect people who can say no just like that….

    Maybe I am weak then!

      1. Amanda Snapchat,

        I agree, but I’ve always struggled with boundaries although have improved too. But to say no without any explanation, I would find difficult.

    1. That is true, tigerchelle78. If I feel pushed to the brink, I will say ‘no’ but I always include an explanation. Saying no without one feels wrong to me too, as it should. We are empaths, not narcs. If I say ‘no’ to someone without an explanation, it means I am cutting them off for good. For instance, I went on a date a few weeks ago and the guy ignored my boundaries. I said no and cut him off. No explanation needed. Then I had an argument with my mother when she also ignored my boundaries. I said ‘no’ but the other day I spoke with my father and gave him an explanation (my mother is a narc, so she doesn’t listen to or care about explanations) and he said that he would tell her to back off. Two different scenarios in which I said no, but one was to cut someone off and the other was to maintain some sort of relationship.

    2. Tigerchelle
      Not explaining your no does not have to be done in a rude way and does not make you a narc. It seems narckier to me that someone would expect an explanation. Lets start small and use a hypothetical situation. If you know me and extend an invitation to something, I may well say: “Thank you for including me. I will not be attending, but look forward to seeing you another time”. The only reason that people would further question that, is to judge if whatever I AM doing instead of attending is important/acceptable enough to them to decline their invitation and isn’t that being narcky? Who are they to judge what is or isnt important to others?Should I tell them that their husband gives me the creeps? I cant stomach their food? That their sister bores the snot out of me? That I am meeting my lover? That I am having botox done? Or should I lie? Thats what most people do when they dont want to go somewhere. They lie and fall all over themselves making something up and then hope not to get caught. Which is better? Hurting their feelings? Divulging something personal about myself that I would rather not? Or full out lying?
      Perhaps they should just appreciate that I have been polite, thanked them, made it clear that I look forward to still engaging them in future, and trust that the reason is personal and best left alone. A response such as: Oh I’m sorry, we’ll miss you and look forward to seeing you again seems polite and appropriate. People needing an explanation or feeling they need to provide one should ask themselves the real reason.

      I dont always say no, and sometimes I do provide a reason, but it should be up to me if I do and not expected. Thats my take.

      1. NarcAngel

        I would rather have the uncomfortable truth than be comforted by a lie personally.
        I would try to be honest. I may say I am not up to being with people, as most of the time I’m not. Also the truth. I only go to people’s houses if I feel comfortable around them. If I feel uncomfortable with someone I tell them. Those that know me, know that. You can still tell the truth but do not have to be nasty about it.
        I think lying is narky if you ask me…. And being polite, telling some lies with a smile and pretending would be exactly what a narc would do, in my opinion.
        I do not mind divulging personal info to people if it means being honest.
        Being appropriate to someone in my eyes, is not lying. Just because most people do something, does not make it right NA.
        I hate lies and deciet, that’s just the way I am.
        That’s my take.

          1. NA

            Yes I probably misunderstood. I’ve read it again, and get where you are coming from.

      2. NarcAngel
        Your example is something that iritates the crap out of me!! I can’t stand it when someone invites me to do something then grills me on why I said “no thank you.” I seem surrounded by people like that and it gets on my last nerve! My standard reply is, “I don’t do parties.” Or, “You know how antisocial I am.” But I have friends/family who just will not let it go!!!

        i told one friend that I’m down to just two states I haven’t been to and need to plan a trip to Rhode Island. She immediately said, “Oh! I’d love to go there. We’ll do a road trip!” I said “no,” and she immediately began to argue with me and plan “our trip.” When I pointed out that I didn’t want to spend two weeks there and see a bunch of old stuff, she just dismissed that as silly. Of course we’d need to stay two weeks and how could we go and not see all the touristy places? Now I don’t ever lie, and I could honestly say all the dog-friendly places were already booked this fall. But that’s just an ugly scene coming up sometime in my future when she hears I’ve already been without her. She will really be hurt and make me feel like dirt.

        And she’s not a narc! She’s a codependent. One of those who tries to come in, take over your life and “help you.” She’s the same one who came up here one day when I wasn’t home and cleaned out all my kitchen cabinets, throwing away the things I “didn’t need.”

        1. Windstorm
          Haha, and by helper you mean steamroller. I know the type. Cant imagine having someone come into your home to decide what you need and dont. Off with her head! I had someone at work tell me how fun it would be to travel to Vegas together (travel?! I dont even have coffe with this woman haha). She started looking into packages and making plans and using “we”. I had to tell her: I’m sorry but there is no “we”. A large part of travel and vacation for me is the restorative aspect and that does not include considering or deferring to the plans of others as selfish as that may sound. She appeared a bit embarassed but continued to list the reasons that it would be great, so I added: No. I think its best to remain friendly co-workers than disappointed travel partners. Was that rude?. Not that I care – there was no way she was going lol.

          1. NarcAngel
            “A large part of travel and vacation for me is the restorative aspect and that does not include considering or deferring to the plans of others as selfish as that may sound.”

            My feelings exactly. And I don’t think that’s selfish at all. It’s your vacation. It makes no sense for the trip to not be what you want.

            My friend kept bringing up how much fun it was when I took her on another road trip in the past. But I was in a very good place mentally then and she’d been having all types of problems and was very down. I planned that trip as a gift for her. But this trip is a gift for me and I’m not nearly in as good a place physically or mentally as I was before. She will never see that though, because she is fairly blind to others feelings while hypersensitive herself. Some people just are. I’d almost rather be around narcs. At least you don’t have to worry about hurting their feelings.

          2. Windstorm
            Haha. Well in that case, if she pointed out what a great trip it was previous, I’d be forced to bring forward the narc traits and say: well of course it was fun for you.…
            I agree though – just go and say nothing.

      3. I think we all regulate what we tell, how much we tell, and how we tell it depending on who is involved. If it is someone close to you, you would offer a more elaborate explanation for a no, no? If it’s someone you barely know, no explanation is required. There is no one size fits all rule for nos.

        1. “You know how antisocial I am” – I would love that reply, windstorm! Should try that one the next time someone boldly refuses to take my no for a no.

        2. SMH
          Absolutely, the way that the no is delivered can differ – for those who do say no. Some people can NEVER say no however, and I was attempting for them to see that their respectfully declining is no more injurious to the other person than having to lie themselves or being made to feel that they owe an explanation. Another case of always considering the others needs ahead of your own, to your own detriment. To start small in saying no. Perhaps I should not have shared it as it may appear that I’m suggesting people be rude. I’m not of course.

          1. NarcAngel
            You’re right in that healthy people are not hurt when you tell them “no.” I think the problem comes, though, that not only do unhealthy people often have trouble saying “no”, they also often have trouble accepting it said to them. We pick up on their apparent hurt when told no, and are thus more hesitant in saying it to them or we scrabble around to find a way to say it that won’t hurt them.

            Like me with my overbearing friend who wants to go on the road trip with me. She’s very sensitive to criticism/disappointment to herself, but fairly blind to it in other people. I don’t want to hurt her, but I sure don’t intend to hurt me, either! lol!
            It’s not always just our own boundary issues that make saying “no” hard.

          2. NarcAngel
            Just wanted to add:
            I hope you always share your viewpoint as it is very instructive even when not palatable by all.

            And that I don’t consider other people’s viewpoints and needs above or before my own. But I do always try to consider others needs in addition to my own. While I often may inconvenience myself in order to meet others needs, I make sure that all my needs are met and not ignored first. Otherwise I would become resentful and start despising myself. Unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way, from K’s School of Hard Knocks. 😄

          3. Windstorm, I will also consider others’ needs before my own and it will go on and on, and then I will reach the point of explosion (supernova with MRN), so this is all a very good lesson and discussion.

            And thank you HG for the post. It’s very perceptive. Something small – only two letters! — that is actually a huge life lesson.

          4. SMH
            I tried always considering other people’s needs before my own – on and on like you said – when I was young. I didn’t reach a point of explosion like you, though. I imploded. I realized that it was destroying me and had to come up with a new game plan. Thankfully I had a wonderful MIL who set me straight and taught me to always take care of my needs first, then help others. That way is not self-destructive.

          5. I was probably self-destructive too, Windstorm, but I would self medicate as a form of self harm, so it was fun! (Until I almost died – then not so fun). I don’t get depressed and was never suicidal, but maybe anger at others is really just the flip side of suicide, which is internalized anger at oneself.

            MRN once asked me to tell him if the anxiety and stress were getting to me so I wouldn’t suddenly explode/leave anymore. Instead of exploding at him or internalizing it, I externalized it all through writing or talking to him about it. I once asked him to come over specifically so I could explain what was making me anxious. He did, listened patiently, gave input, including acknowledging that he is problematic. It made no difference at all to his behavior. Fake concern, inability to make the smallest adjustments.

          6. At first I did think you were harsh, NarcAngel, but the whole conversation has made me think. It is a very good lesson.

            I normally do have boundaries but sometimes they could be stronger and/or I feel that I have to justify myself. I have a tendency to expect other people to recognize and respect them because I assume they have similar ones. That is exactly what got me into trouble with MRN. I am not naive but I was about people like him!! If my boundaries had been stronger and I had stuck to my nos, things would have been quite different.

            I was just reading over emails to a male friend from the very beginning of it all right around when I was preparing to dump MRN for the first time. I had only known him for a few weeks and only seen him two or three times, but I was saying things then that I am saying here years later.

            Back then, I called MRN ‘Canada’ hahaha – I wrote “‘Canada’ is a psychopath, he is lying, I don’t get why he puts so much work into this only to then make it difficult. Why can’t he have a simple, fun, uncomplicated fling?”

            I didn’t care so much at that point – I was pretty flippant – but clearly I was already onto him. Yet he was so different in person than he was when we were apart, that I second guessed myself all the time. I could not stick to my nos!

            Boundaries = gut feeling=nos

  13. “I will think about it.”

    “We shall see.”

    “Let me reflect and I will come back to you.”

    “I just need to check something, but I think it should be okay.”

    If I say these words (and I have) it’s because I am genuinely unsure on where I will be or my other movements, All of the above, if used to try to put a break in a situation where I know the real response is a ‘No’, then they are in my view, ‘weasel’ words.

    if I hear them from others then, paradoxically, i will assume both points simultaneously. One, that they do not feel they can refuse or the more likely outcome is that they, like me, are also unsure and do not want to create drama by promising something that they cannot deliver in the long term.

    For example. I asked to stay for a few nights at my (now ex) SIL’s flat whilst at a conference. She umm’d and ahh’d before saying; ‘I need to ask my partner. I immediately said, ‘Oh that’s fine. I’ll camp’ whilst simultaneously musing on how much under her partners’ thumb she was.

    To cut a long story short. I did stop there. Her partner tries it on with me when SIL is at work. Their own partners’ SIL. I didn’t expect it funnily enough as she was a woman and I am straight. Said I ‘could be turned’. Tried to get me drunk. Yeah…

    I have been musing a lot about female N’s. The behaviours that were exhibited to me during that short stay were extraordinary now that I look back and reflect. For example, them both ‘making out’ in front of me (exhibitionism), to trying to coerce me into sexual practices either covertly or through intoxicants, To outright attempting to assault me. Before anyone shoots back the inevitable ‘well you are homophobic’, I’m seeing a bi guy.

    This is all really EXTREME shit. Most men would not dream of going ‘that far. Some will but it’s far easier to extricate yourself. I rather suspect that this is how ex-SIL was pulled away from her family and husband in the first place. And now we are in a very unique (ish) sitiuation where that woman has ’employed’ a sperm donar and now ex-SIL, her child rearing days being long over, has had to start again. It’s baffling.

    I wonder to this day if my refusal to allow her to grope my breasts offended??

    I DO hope so. I truly do.

  14. Pingback: Why Yes Is Not Always Best ⋆
  15. “On other occasions it requires some persuasion and in the remainder of cases we need to pull out our manipulative tool kit to achieve the desired result, but we always get there.”

    Yeah pretty much this. He knows I could never say no to him.

    However on the other hand if I ever tried to get a yes out of him it’s like pulling teeth.

    “Let me tell you something about me. Whenever you, or anyone coaxes me to give an affirmative response it makes me want to say no. Or not respond at all…”

    It always about control with your kind. Always.

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