Are you a yes man? You don’t have to be


Happiness (Photo credit: ernohannink)

Most of my life has always been spent trying to please everyone but myself. I made sure that my wife, siblings, and friends happiness took precedence over mine. I’m tired of being the yes man!

I’m by no means obstinate, but, now I make a better effort to see that my needs are also satisfied. For far to long I’ve catered to everyone else’s happiness before my own.

It gave me a feeling of gratification knowing they were happy. But where did that leave me?

In my quest to please everyone around me, my own needs and happiness were insubstantial.

I have a hard time saying “no” to people. I don’t want to be labeled “the bad guy”. The “uncooperative guy”.

Every time I said yes to someone, whether it be a particular restaurant, or, say a movie, or even as simple as going to someones house to visit. But I really wanted to eat at this restaurant, or see that movie, or really didn’t feel like going out. I’d be overridden with guilt because I wasn’t doing what they wanted to do.

What happens when we do what everyone else wants and neglect our own happiness?

  • It sometimes forms patterns that are hard to break
  • It sometimes forms patterns we feel guilty trying to break
  • We lose a bit of self-esteem
  • We lose a bit of self-confidence
  • It could lead to depression
  • We get taken advantage of
  • We start to despise the very people we’re trying to make happy

It’s ok to want to make people happy. In-fact I encourage it. If more people went out of their way to help others and to please others, this world might just be a better place to live in. But to forgo your happiness, your own needs all the time isn’t healthy. Not healthy for you or anyone around you.

Happiness Only Real When Shared

Happiness Only Real When Shared (Photo credit: Hamzah AL-Mahmeed)

Deep down inside everyone, a villain permeates us and grows vindictive when provoked. My villain is different from yours and yours is different from someone else’s. Be we all have one. When we reach our boiling point it rears its ugly head. That’s not good for everyone involved.

What can we do to maker sure our own needs are met? Learn to tell people “no”. I know it sounds easy, but if your like I am. It’s not an easy task to carry out. Guilt comes back and bites you in the butt.

How do we say no and not feel guilty? Here are a few things I try to do.

  • Is there a solution that benefits both/all parties
  • Stop trying to please everyone. No matter what you do it’s not going to happen
  • Tell them, “let me think about it and get back to you”
  • Tell them, “I really would like to but…”
  • Bring to their attention that the situation seems one-sided
  • Don’t think so much about saying “no” and just say “no” as directly and tactfully as possible

For me this is still a work in progress. I at-least hope I’ve given you some confidence and, some guiding principles to help you. We all have that instinctive feeling to want to”be the good guy”, to “want everyone to like us”. But in reality not everyone is going to.

Most people see kindness as a form of weakness and they will exploit that if you let them. Be bold. Be strong. Be confident. Say “no”.

How do you say no? Leave a comment or tip to help the rest of us who have trouble saying no.



  1. love it! i am definitely a yes woman.. need to work on that!

    1. Caitlin Sometimes you just reach a point where the tire tracks across your back become unbearable. I’ve let people take advantage of my kindness for far to long. For my wife I’ll bend backwards, but everyone else is going to have to compromise from now on 🙂

  2. I used to really struggle with saying no. But I learned something a long time ago. I consider the top three important things in my life. If saying yes would hurt those top three, cause discord or anything negative, then I don’t do it. I would rather hurt the feelings of the person asking me to do something than those top three.

    1. Stephanie
      I’m glad you stopped by and left a comment! I’ve heard this before, about have a top 3 or 4 thing you refuse to compromise on. I’m going to incorporate that strategy into my own. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I will be 60 in February. At 50, something snapped in me, and my “villain” stepped in to assist me in saying “no more doormat”. I have no regrets, but it cost me many friends and some family. Life got easier, came into focus, and colors appeared on the landscape. I wonder what will happen in February?!

    1. Thank you for visiting. I will struggle for long time to come with saying no. It’s “just the way you are” as my wife says. But I am making a conscious effort to change that. It’s not easy.

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