Born into a family of people-pleasers and perfectionists (LYSM, but it’s true!), I have a difficult time saying no. I cringe at the thought of confrontation. I’ll fixate on how to respond to a text from my best friend of 23 years so I don’t seem disagreeable. There’s a thing on Saturday and I really don’t want to attend, but sure, I’ll be there. My to-do list will be checked off even though I’m bleeding out of my eyes! (Hypothetical but…you get the idea.)
All it took was this one tiny thing, a pandemic, to learn that there’s actually significant value in being a no-person.
According to the archetypes, the yes-person is positive, agreeable and go-getting; the no-person is negative, disagreeable and not a team player. Yes-people take opportunities and run with them; no-people are difficult (and maybe even lazy). I don’t think anyone would’ve ever labeled me as a yes-person per se, but I’m very good at outwardly keeping my cool and handling responsibilities while internally panicking about, well, everything.
For me, a lover of order, a global health crisis made many yes/no decisions simple. Things were suddenly black and white: You’ll either go to the event and accidentally get someone you’ve never met very sick (and possibly kill them), or you’ll stay home and help keep everyone safe. Driven by my anxiety, I began by saying no to certain social obligations, like weddings and trips. Once my no muscle got a little more, well, toned, I suddenly felt a lot better about saying no in other situations.