The No Man: Knowing When to Say No

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Ever heard of a Yes Man? He’s the neighbor, friend, cousin twice removed or classmate who has failed to learn the concept of no. In a desperate attempt to make friends, take part in fun shenanigans or even just to make others happy, he always say yes to anyone and everything. After starting college, these Yes Men will be stretched so thin that they’ll have a hard time enjoying themselves (or finding time to sleep). To keep Yes Men on college campuses across the country sane, check out five situations when you just need to say no.

1. When you have an exam Monday

When your GPA is at risk, you face the Catch 22 decision of buckling down and staying in the library on Friday night or spending quality time with friends. To get a degree or not to get a degree? That is the question. When choosing between school responsibilities and all the more enjoyable things college has to offer, think of flightless birds. Michael Duell, a freshman finance major at University of Florida, said, “When academics are on the line, everything else is like a penguin. It’s cute, it’s fluffy, but it’s not gonna fly.” Like Mumble from Happy Feet, tap your way into a healthy balance of school and friends and don’t accidentally drown yourself in either deep end.

2. When it’s unclear if someone wants a helping hand or every valuable limb

Many new students feel inclined to join every club, honor society and fraternity or sorority handing out a pamphlet. Sometimes you need to be Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada and reject them left and right until you are absolutely certain of what the group has to offer. When explaining how she responds to invitations that aren’t clear on  purpose or intent, UF freshman finance major Lexus Guzman said, “I say no because I thought if I said yes, I would not know what I am getting into. Some people are okay with being in the moment, but I have to know.” There may be no harm in jumping into college life but err on the side of caution.

3. When you have morning classes and a handle of Tequila

Reflecting on a past drinking episode that involved morning classes, roommates, tequila and pizza, UF senior English major Tyler Nereim said, “Smash cut to the morning where I wake up late for class and end up running across campus barefoot because my sandals were slowing me down. I tear up the heels of my feet, gasping for air and nauseated to hoot. The pizza wasn’t bad, but the tequila tasted like paint thinner.” Next time your roommate offers you paint thinner instead of an alarm for your 8 a.m., just go to bed.

4. When You Just Want To Be Friends

Just because you’re in college surrounded by hotty hot hotties 24/7 doesn’t mean you have to say yes to every cute boy or girl who approaches you asking for a date (or a smooch). Maybe you’re too busy, you’re already taken, you’re not interested for whatever reason or… dare I say it? You just want to be friends. Even if the person is sweeter than a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, it’s totally fine to decline. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person and it shouldn’t carry any guilt or shame-decorated baggage. Your no may end a romantic relationship that never was, but could also create a stronger, long-lasting friendship.

5. When your friend always asks for a ride, but never gives you gas money

Saying no to randos asking for donations to their club is hard enough, but saying no to your best friend is like running a mile: so hard that it’s nearly impossible. “Honestly, sometimes it can be hard to say no to people you care about or interact with daily, like teachers and friends,” said UF freshman history major Mazal Fernandez. “However, there’s a fine line between being kind and being used, and I think it’s important to recognize that.” Amen, sister. Learn from the master himself, boys and girls, and say that sweet, beautiful, one-syllable word that sets us free: NO.

Rocio Cosme is a sophomore majoring in English at University of Florida. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, crushing over fictional boys in her favorite books, and free hugs.

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