Confessions of a Yes-Woman

Hello, my name is Ally Melby, and I am a Yes-Woman.

Being a Yes-Woman means I have the unfortunate problem of not being able to say “No” to a lot of things — like extra opportunities, outings with friends, plans with family and school- or work-related projects. If I do, I feel extreme guilt and fear missing out on a cool (now passed-up) experience.

Every time I think about saying “No,” I think of all the amazing opportunities I have had by saying “Yes,” even if at the time I was beyond stressed out. The end result often seems to help erase my memory of all the sleepless nights, early (I am talking 4 a.m.) mornings to catch up on the work I was behind on and multiple headaches in one week. All I am left with are the great memories.

While at times being a Yes-Woman is a great attribute to have, there are consequences that come with saying “Yes” too much.

If you are a fellow Yes-Woman, then you know that taking on a lot doesn’t just happen overnight, and it is the accumulation of taking on —what seems like — small projects, like an internship or extra job assignment, because you believe you have the time — which at the time you do! As time goes on, though, and you keep saying “Yes” to more and more opportunities you soon realize you took on too much without noticing.

When I take on too much — which seems to be more often than not — I find myself mentally exhausted at the end of every week. I am doing a million things with not a lot of downtime, and when I do try to give myself a break, I become anxious knowing I should be working on school or work. I have constant headaches that only subside with sleep, and I have a difficult time focusing on small tasks because my mind is racing with everything else I need to do.

Of course, there are positive aspects of saying “Yes” that keep me on this repeated cycle.

I feel accomplished — which at 20-years-old is no easy feat. I have traveled to many places, met new friends, have a resume I am proud of and good academic standing because of saying “Yes.” 

I have great memories of things I have done that have led me to be who I am today. Looking back, I always know I gave my all and am proud of myself.

So, where is the balance of saying “Yes” and “No”?

This balance depends completely on the individual. While I am known to be a Yes-Woman and need to say “No” more often, I know I like staying busy. My re-adjusted balance may look like saying “Yes” 70 percent of the time and “No” 30 percent of the time, while yours may be 60 percent and 40 percent. 

However, if you are someone who tends to say “no” more than “yes,” I encourage you to try saying “yes” more often; you never know where it could take you! If you are someone who says “yes” more than “no,” though, try finding a healthy balance to assure you aren’t over exerting yourself and staying mentally healthy.


A Yes-Woman