In any given day, you can only say yes to so many things. A yes carries a commitment. It requires follow through.

Are you interested in hearing more?

Yes.

Do you want to go with me to the pants store?

Yes.

These answers consume time and energy.

On the other hand, you have unlimited no’s. You could spend an entire day saying no to everything, and stand by your word with no problems.

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When you say yes to one thing, you’re usually saying no to something else.

Some friends want you to come watch a show with them. However, you were planning on going to the gym, and then working on a project later.

There’s not enough time to do both. By saying yes to the friends, you’re saying no to the gym and probably your project.

And visa-versa.

You could, of course, say no to all three options and do something else altogether. Or do nothing at all.

Some people get trapped in saying no to everything, which can result in saying a passive “yes” to boredom and/or loneliness.

Others throw out yes’s like it’s their job, ignoring the fact that this response comes in a limited supply.

Maybe you get caught up in the moment. Or saying “yes” is just easier and less confrontational.

For me, I’m just not good at saying no.

In some areas of my life, sure, I have some hard lines drawn on where I’m going to say no.

Tim, do you want these drugs?

No.

Tim, you should steal these things.

No.

Tim, this person sucks. Let’s murder them.

No. And also, I’m calling the cops.

But when it comes to friend, family, or work-related requests or just having a good time, it’s a struggle. I don’t want to let people down. I don’t want to seem lame or boring. And God knows I don’t want to miss out on something awesome.

The FOMO is real, people.

Obviously there are times when saying yes is a beautiful thing.

But too often, saying yes to one thing involves saying no to the thing I know I should be doing. Even if what I’m saying yes to isn’t a negative in itself, it can become one if it ends up holding me back.

This year, I’ve been trying to say no a little more often. When I know I have something else to do, when I realize that I’ve been slacking on responsibilities, when I’m confident I’m not going to miss out on much, I say no.

Either that, or I walk away without giving a proper answer, resulting in a slightly-douchey, passive-aggressive no that I awkwardly apologize for later.

Saying no isn’t always easy in the moment, but it leaves you feeling better in the long run. Trust me.

The older you get, the more important your “Yes” becomes.

One thing I’ve learned about growing up is you seem to have less yes’s every year. Your schedule becomes busier. Your commitments are greater. Your dreams are more realized.

To make things more difficult, those yes’s have a greater impact. Whether you’re saying yes to a job, a college, a loan, a house, a proposal, or even just a date, that decision will send out a ripple of silent no’s across your life.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s something to remember when you make a decision. Even if the question is just “what am I doing tonight”.

Don’t be afraid to say no. And before you say “yes”, even if it’s something seemingly insignificant, think about what you’re giving up in the process.

If you’re someone who is already saying no to everything, try and loosen up. There are times to be a little reckless. To just jump in, say yes, and have a good time. It’s a balance.

Good luck in trying to find it.

What do you struggle with? Saying yes? Or saying no?