Alphas can teach you one of the most important lessons in life: How to say “NO.”
Most people only wish they had this skill.
People don’t like to feel mean. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. But it’s necessary.
An Alpha knows that saying no is essential to your quality of life. The word “no” gives you back your time, your life, and possibly even some of your money. It might also help you eliminate some bad friends from your social circle.
“Can I borrow your – ” NO
“Can we do this one thing, it’s just – ” NO
(In these instances, you see that I’m not even letting these people finish their requests. Feel free to choose your own strategy there.)
Saying no is one of the most difficult tasks in life, but it’s also one of the most important. An Alpha Mom knows that she needs to guard her time like Fort Knox. She doesn’t get bullied into doing things that don’t fit her agenda.
This doesn’t mean that an Alpha doesn’t know how and when to compromise. Oh, she does. She just doesn’t get dragged into a three-hour museum tour by a whining friend when she knows she could use those three hours to work, rest, or do whatever she needs to do to take care of herself.
Why You Have to Learn to Say No
As my friend Rotem always says, “There’s a reason that flight attendants tell you to put on your oxygen mask first and then help others around you.”
An Alpha doesn’t say yes to just any invitation. She doesn’t say yes to be nice. She doesn’t go out because she likes to be seen. An Alpha knows what she wants, plans it, and does it. An Alpha knows that she can do most networking (she throws up in her a mouth a little as she says this word) by creating, writing, and contacting other people… from the comfort of her own home. Meaningful long-term relationships are much more important and fruitful than the number of business cards and contacts you have.
Saying no is an art form that we all need to relearn. Why relearn? Because every toddler starts out knowing how to say no. We then train them to stop saying no so much, to play nice, to share with others, etc. But ultimately we need to retrain them to be assertive and say no in certain situations. And we then need to retrain ourselves as adults.
Why? Because we’ve all said yes when we wanted to say no. We’ve all tried to please someone else rather than please ourselves. We want people to like us, so sometimes we just comply… begrudgingly. And what happens when we do this?
Well, it’s like that song “Garden Party” by Rick Nelson.
But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.
Trying to Please Everyone Doesn’t Work
It took me years to learn this simple fact: Trying to please everybody else doesn’t work, so you might as well just do what you want to do. I’d asked myself things like this so many times: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I please all my friends? I agreed to go to Sara’s party when I didn’t even want to, and now she’s mad that I only stayed an hour. WTF.” It can get infuriating.
But living your truth is what you need to do to be the most comfortable. Other people’s needs, truths, and plans are important, yeah, but they don’t trump your own. (Unless maybe they’re your child, husband, or other close family member, of course.)
In my younger years, I’d make up reasons I couldn’t go out. You know, “My stomach hurts” or “I’m really busy with work.” Things like that.
And then I realized that “Sorry no, I’m just going to stay in and chill tonight” was an appropriate, acceptable answer and also my favorite answer to every single time I was faced with doing stuff I didn’t want to do.
Knowing What You Want
After having a baby, I didn’t want to go out to every booze-filled moonlight beach party. I wanted to kiss my baby goodnight and chill in my sweatpants while watching You’re the Worst on FX. I wanted to mindlessly scribble in my journal while planning my next book. I wanted to perform comedy at a club.
What did I not want to do? Get dressed to the nines and go out on a Wednesday night to pretend like getting drunk at a club playing techno was my favorite thing. Or pop champagne on a yacht in Miami blasting electronic music. I’m just over that.
I want a great book, a good friend, and a dirty martini. (Okay, I know that a glass of wine would work better in this cliche scenario, but as you can see, I’m done saying and doing what others expect of me.) I want boundaries – strong ones – that protect me and act as an invisible force field that allows only the most quality people and events to get through to the main event – me.
I’ve learned my lesson about agreeing to things too quickly. When people get angry with me or insult me, it’s usually only after I’ve given in to their requests in the first place. I’ve said yes and done things for them that I didn’t initially want to do. I loaned friends money, I gave some of them money, and I did favors time after time. I had a “friend” once who talked to me only when she wanted me to pay for something. When I finally said no, she criticized me. Yeah, I don’t know why I ever defined her as a friend either.
Like my Aunt Nancy says, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Sometimes it pays to trust your gut, do what you want, and just say no the first time around.