According to the Washington Post  “women are more polite than men in part because women face harsher consequences for being rude” (Guo, 2016).

Often, women are socially conditioned to avoid being blunt and risk hurting someone, which in my last relationship, was especially true.

When he first asked me to be his girlfriend, and I know this sounds bad, I didn’t want to say yes. Maybe it was a mix of feeling a little sorry for him or the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to be honest,  but I ended up agreeing to the relationship despite my true feelings. I’m not saying he was a bad guy, I just didn’t want to be in a relationship with him for my own reasons.

Unfortunately, this relationship only progressed because I didn’t feel comfortable saying how I felt. At times I was actually playing who he wanted me to be rather than who I was. To everyone who saw us, I was acting like a happy girl in love, but deep down I was miserable living with my ever-growing lie.

When it became too much, the ladies in my life advised me to break it off (obviously what I was doing wasn’t good for either of us). So, I did it. I told him the truth despite how bad I knew I’d feel for hurting him. It was definitely as uncomfortable as I expected it to be, but it was also the first time I ever chose to screw taking the polite route.

I do take full responsibility for getting myself into a relationship that I probably never should have been in, but I’m glad I learned how to practice saying no. Below are some ways I’ve started using no, while also avoiding my fear of the consequences.

  1. When someone asks you to go to Stages and you’d rather say no; say no! It sounds simple but this is how I truly started to grasp the idea that saying no to your friends doesn’t have to be rude. So what if you trade out a night of partying for a night of binging Netflix; live your best life.
  1. You can say no to picking up a shift when you don’t want to work! In second year, I worked at Metro and was terrified of saying no when my boss asked me to pick up a shift. As a result, I ended up working over 30 hours a week, while being a full time student trying to maintain relationships. It was exhausting. When I finally started to say I was busy, even though this was a complete lie, I had more time for myself and was able to actually relax and catch up on school work.

What I’m trying to express is that saying no doesn’t need to be cruel. In fact, it’s a way of protecting yourself from doing things you don’t always want to do in order to ensure time for the things that you actually do. As cliché as it sounds, make sure to be true to yourself and remember that, at the end of the day, you’re the most important thing in your life.

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