No is an acceptable answer. It’s time to start using it.

In other words, it’s okay to say no whenever you goddamn please, to whomever you goddamn must, and you don’t have to be so goddamn sorry about it.

This book represents the full length and breadth of my No files — one of which is bound to apply to that bar mitzvah you’ve been hoping to avoid for the last twelve years.

From the daily concerns of adding events to your calendar and to-dos to your list; to the infrequent but no less burdensome prospects of being expected to plan your 25th high school reunion just because you were the class president <checks calendar> twenty-five years ago, or executing a too-big project on a too-short deadline; to the rare request to be your BFF’s sperm donor …

  • Have you been invited to a dog’s birthday party, perchance?
  • Or been asked to take on additional work for no additional pay?
  • Does your landlord want to raise your rent without fixing the water heater?
  • Are you feeling pressured by an overzealous stylist into changing your lewk?

I no whereof I speak

Before I became an internationally renowned setter-of-boundaries, I was the poster child for saying yes when I really wanted to say no — only to be left wondering why in god’s name I’d thought saying “Sure, I can host your baby shower!” would be less trouble than finding a nice way to decline.

  • Doing other people’s homework
  • Lying to cover for a friend
  • Having sex with an awful person
  • Hiking
  • Eating escargot
  • Letting someone else book plane tickets on my behalf that resulted in me traveling from Montana to New York via SEATTLE. (Truly, you haven’t lived until you’ve spent two hours flying west wedged next to a panicking lady of indeterminate illness who forgot to pack her medication, only to land at Sea-Tac for a five-hour layover before backtracking across the country on a redeye to Newark.)
  • Add an unnecessary item to my to-do list? No.
  • Pencil an unwanted event into my calendar? No thank you.
  • Spend an ungodly amount of money to do something unenjoyable? Fuck no!
The No Fucks Given Guides

I say no to invites and activities and vacations and objectively lovely and enticing offers not because I have something better or more important to do, but simply because I. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. DO. THAT. THING.

I mean, I could continue to let feelings of guilt and obligation push me into saying yes to every invitation I receive or favor that’s asked of me when I’m on deadline — and I might still get my books turned in on schedule because I’m a Type A perfectionist who is constitutionally incapable of not doing so — but I’d also be making myself miserable in the meantime.

The joy of no

When you learn how to say no and stick to it, it’s a positive development for EVERYONE INVOLVED.

  • Your friends? Instead of hemming, hawing, and leaving them hanging, you’ll be letting them down quickly and gently. They’ll appreciate it! I mean, wouldn’t you?
  • Your family? Instead of doing things with and for them under duress, stoking the fires of resentment and creating the wrong kind of memories, you’ll be preserving the quality of the time you do spend together.
  • Your bosses, clients, and colleagues? Instead of over-committing and potentially under-delivering, you’ll be setting manageable expectations that prevent them from getting burned when your circuits overload.
  • If you’re excited about discovering the joy of no for yourself, you can buy the book HERE.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
sarah knight

NYT bestselling author of The No Fucks Given Guides | My latest is F*CK NO! | Check it out here: http://nofucksgivenguides.com/fn/