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Entitlement: Why We Should Start Saying ‘Yes’ to ‘No’

Recently, I read this article on Refinery29. Quick summary: a woman’s post on Facebook went viral due to her belief that her son should choose whom to share his toys with. While plenty of people have disagreed with her, I totally get it. And honestly? I found it so relatable no matter how old you are.

If you’re wondering, I’m always down to share and totally down for helping other people. What bothers me is when it’s expected from me. This article made me wonder: how many of us know the difference between being “nice people” and doing whatever is asked of us because we feel that that is the only way to be a “nice person?” Why are so many people so afraid to say, to hear, the word “no?”

When I was in high school, my best friend made me a tray of brownies as a gift. I vaguely remember that it may have been as small thanks for some help on a science project (See? I do nice things). I brought the brownies, tucked in their red Tupperware, to my first period class. My classmate saw the brownies and asked me for one. I said, “No.” Isn’t it weird how that suddenly makes me the bad guy? As though people are so uncomfortable with being told “no” that they have to get angry with you, instead of getting over it and moving on?

There appears to be a very thin line between wanting people to be polite and feeling entitled to anything you ask of somebody. There’s actually a HUGE difference. Way too often, when faced with the word “no,” people get mad. It seems so silly to me that this type of thing is something that genuinely offends people. My point is this: the fact that you asked does not mean the answer absolutely has to be yes. It’s a bit childish, if you ask me. As always, I don’t mean to offend anybody, but it really is something that needs to be cleared up. Being a nice person is completely different from being a pushover. I can be nice and still have a mind of my own. I can be nice while looking out for my best interests. I can say “no” nicely. That’s what a nice person would do, after all.

This might seem like just another angry rant, but it’s actually a lot deeper than that. The idea that refusing to do something for someone makes you a bad person is a problem. The thought that there are people out there who genuinely feel that you are a rude, nasty person if you do not give them what they want is a problem. The fact that one of the phrases associated with sexual assault is “no means no,” as though that is a concept that needs to be solidified, is a problem.

When we start feeling like we are owed the word “yes,” we perpetuate the idea that “no” means “convince me,” or that it implies, “I am saying no not because I want to, but because I want to piss you off.”

This might seem like a bit of a stretch to you. I mean, we were just talking about sharing toys on the playground, weren’t we? But it ties into more serious things. We’re told from a young age to be nice, and to be polite, but they sometimes forget to tell us what that means. They forget to tell us that being kind is not always about making sure the other person is happy.

Because kindness and the idea of being kind also applies to being kind to ourselves.

Cindy is a senior at the University of Florida. She's hoping to make this year a good one. She loves sriracha and hates talking about herself in third person. As a member of the Her Campus team, she enjoys writing about everything from body positivity to failed cooking endeavors. She has a personal blog that she wants to try and update more frequently and hasn't been very good about, but if you're curious, you can feel free to check it out at thecindycopies.blogspot.com Ask her for her opinion because she's got lots of them, or if that isn't your thing, you read about them every week. HCXO!
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