Saying No

The truth is, I’m a bit of a sucker for romantic comedies. Though many have criticized the genre (and I can’t say that it’s totally undeserved), rom-coms have always had a special place in my heart because only robots don’t enjoy a good laugh while watching two beautiful people fall in love. 


The other night my friends and I decided to watch 27 Dresses, which I had probably only seen fifteen times before. For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, Katherine Heigl plays Jane — a woman who epitomizes “always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” having been a member of twenty-seven wedding parties. Jane is in love with her boss who falls in love with her sister who’s wedding is being covered by a journalist who falls in love with Jane. Classic romantic comedy stuff. 

One of the biggest themes throughout the film is Jane’s inability to say “no” to anyone. She constantly agrees to what others ask of her for fear of making them unhappy, which is something I feel I can definitely relate to.

I think that I sometimes agree to things in order to make others happy even if it means I end up miserable. That’s not to say that doing things for others is bad — in fact, I think doing something for another person despite it being contrary to your own happiness can be a really wonderful thing to do. But there is a difference between carrying out a selfless act and being walked all over, and unfortunately I think I fall into the latter more often than not. 

When a friend asks to borrow a movie from me, I oblige. No big deal. When that same friend asks me to meet her to deliver the movie, I oblige. Still not a big deal. When a friend asks me to leave my study session in a coffee shop to meet her on the other end of campus at 10pm because she doesn’t feel like walking all the way down to get the movie from me, I oblige.

I don’t want to seem rude, even if it puts me out.

I don’t mind doing things for my friends here and there. But there are times when I start to think that it’s gotten to the point where people ask me to do things because I won’t say no. And I don’t want this to be my life. I don’t want to constantly be putting my feelings second for fear of stepping on someone’s toes.

In all honesty, why should I be so concerned about someone’s feelings when they don’t seemed all that concerned with mine? 

When the movie was over, my friends and I began to discuss how we empathized with Jane and her the struggles she faced in trying to make others happy. One friend turned to me and said, “You know, my uncle once told me about an article he read about ‘Things That Happy People Say,’ and it was this long list about telling your friends you love them and saying positive things to the people around you. But do you know what the last thing was?”

“Happy people say ‘no.'”




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