Ever really want to say "no" to somebody? It can be so satisfying to just tell someone they can't do something or that no one wants go along with their plan. These people took control of their lives or situations and told their friends, spouses, and co-workers the big "no." In some cases, one little word can change your entire life. Read on to see how much difference "no" can make--and what refusing requests did to these brave people.
That’s Just Not Worth It
“In high school bio, as a final project, we (in groups) had to create a Bill Nye style informative video on a unit previously covered in class. My group was done recording and I just had to do the editing (transitions, effects, titles, etc). Anyone who has ever done any type of movie or trailer knows that post-production is twice the time and effort as shooting.
So there I was, having just finished and submitted the video onto YouTube, when this guy who’d been calling me names all year comes up to me and asks, ‘Hey man can you do my video editing because I don’t how to do it?’ I told him no and then he proceeded to offer me $5 for a week worth of headaches and work. I just walked off with saying anything. A satisfying silence ensued.”
No Recommendation For Thieving Nurses
“The health care aide who was ripping off my mother called me and asked for a recommendation. First, since I fired her, I couldn’t believe she would be that stupid to actually ask, but it was very satisfying to say, ‘In all good conscience, I absolutely cannot give you a recommendation.’ That felt good and Mom now has an awesome aide and relief worker.
What was even worse was that this person came from an agency. The very first person they sent was an absolute nightmare and was fired within five days. The next lady put on a good show while I was there, but I had to have a couple of surgeries, and could not get to my mom’s as often as I’d like.
When the bills started coming in, I was shocked. I called the agency and had to get up there ASAP, fire her and hired someone that her doctor recommended. It seems if they work privately, and are hired solely on their reputation, there is a lot more care and transparency. I really needed someone with a valid driver’s license so Mom could get to doctors’ appointments, have outings, etc. Agencies all advertise that they have aides with valid licenses, when in fact they maybe have five people.”
His Ex’s Plan Wouldn’t Work This Time
“I was watching one of my ex-girlfriends walking around a party, constantly hitting on guys in front of me (I still really liked her at the time) and she knew I was wrapped around her finger. She was intentionally making me jealous and annoying me.
She finally came over to me and asked if I would like to ‘get out of here’ and as hard as it was for me to say it, I did it. I felt so much better after saying a simple ‘no’ and watching her get all angry afterward. It was honestly the moment when I thought, ‘I’m wasting my time with her.’ I may or may not have gone home with another girl that night…”
Father-Daughter Fail To Reconnect
“After an entire year of ignoring me, after having hung up on me the day before my birthday, my biological father called me up and told me that ‘by law, I was going to come to his house and spend the summer with him.’
I said fine, drive on down.
When he arrived, I came out, without shoes on (for some reason, it was really important to me to be clear I wasn’t leaving with him), and walked to his window, and told him I want to go anywhere with him, ever again.
It was the most powerful and liberating moment of my life.
I was about 14 at the time and his reaction was to continue to ignore me, after three attempts over the years to contact him. I’m 32 now.
The last, and most recent event, which sealed the deal for sure was finding out my grandmother had died third-party.
In every attempt to reconnect, I’ve apologized and attempted to make amends FOR MY PORTION, but because I wouldn’t carry all the blame, I carried none in his eyes. To not even let me know my grandmother was passing, and to overly state I was unwelcome should I attend the funeral…this man didn’t deserve a child, in both his mind (as a burden) and in truth (as a blessing).”
His Computer Had A Few Too Many Viruses…
“A little backstory: I work at a small computer store. 90% of what we do is service-related, but we also build computers. Our custom builds have a reputation for quality, which is why people are willing to pay $600 for a computer from us when they could walk into Walmart and buy a boxed computer with the same on-paper specs for $400.
Anyway, there is a customer who has always been a bit difficult, but we’ve accommodated him whenever possible. He bought a computer from us last month and I had set it up in his home.
The next morning, he’s annoyed because the machine is ‘freezing and acting erratically.’ I scheduled a call, then later arrive at his house to discover that the machine is heavily infected with 3 different search hijackers, a handful of fake ‘your machine has 10,000 error’ programs, and a rootkit that mines bitcoins.
He insists that we sold him an infected machine and demands I fix it without charging him. He ‘can’t believe’ that we ‘rip people off so badly with these awful computers.’ I found the dozens of executables and compiled them into a list by creation date as I removed them. After a while, the rootkit is off of the machine so I started looking for the source of the virus.
The previous morning, I had instructed him on how to use Firefox, but this particular morning only had seen a handful of news and weather-related sites in the history. Of course, his Internet Explorer history is full of smut. The winning search was ‘Kim Kardashian beach.’ The first virus came from this website. It was a very aggressive ‘click me to view a slideshow’ type popup.
File creation date: 11:42 am the previous morning. So, I checked my records to see when I left his house the previous morning after installing his computer. 11:24 AM. That’s 18 minutes. EIGHTEEN MINUTES. I informed him that the infection occurred after I left. He blamed the ‘bad antivirus’ that I put on the machine. I checked the Avast! logs. It warned him about the virus. He allowed it. Three times.
If he’d have just fessed up I’d have cut him some slack, but I had to stand my ground here. ‘No sir, if you wrecked your brand-new car 18 minutes after you bought it, the dealership wouldn’t repair it for free. This call is not free.'”
Skydiving For A Decision
“My ex-husband and I were going through a divorce. It should have been a cut and dry, easy peasy divorce, but he kept changing his mind on working it out. As soon as I could wrap my mind around working it out, he would change his and break my heart again, and when I came to terms with that, he would want to work it out again.
Well, I decided one day to use my gift certificate my family got me to go skydiving. I had had it for eight months. I didn’t use it while married because he said that if I went and died that he would not go to my funeral. Since we were divorcing, I thought it was a great way to celebrate being free. That feeling of free-falling was exhilarating and empowering. He decided to show up and ask me on a date that day. I said no. I was tired of him not making up his mind and I needed to go through with the divorce. I’ve never had to tell him no again.”
Equal Treatment For All
“When I worked as an English teacher in South Korea, I was the first person to deny a direct request from the head teacher because I refused to help her son cheat on the speech contest. I never even had to say no, simply that I would only do what I could offer to EVERYONE fairly. My three Korean co-teachers sat there eyes-wide and raptly eavesdropping while she continued to become flustered by my staunchness.
When she left, my co-teachers were all grinning and secretly congratulating me because the head teacher was known to be a terror and her son a big bully. Also, I once made the kid cry (before I knew he was her son) because I wouldn’t accept the terrible standard of homework he was trying to give me and made him do it legibly.”
It Wasn’t The Future He Imagined
“Right out of college, I ended up working for Verizon. It was all commission but I’m from a family of sales-persons so even in a miserable two weeks, I’d average $1,000 a week and on good weeks, I’d hit twice that by Wednesday or Thursday and take Friday off. I hated the job. I felt dirty about doing it and I certainly wasn’t helping anyone. It was a long commute. There were these horrible ‘Team Motivation’ meetings. Everyone was 100% focused on like ‘Team Synergy Energy dollars Earnings for Cash Powers most important Dollar Wins.’
Either way, my boss knew I was good and called me into his office one day. He gave me this speech like ‘You’re a really good salesman, you train new employees well, you’re performing much better than expected, but I can tell your energy just isn’t here with us on the dollars synergy team. I can see you opening your own branch of money dollars earn enterprises. I’m fine with the work you’re doing, but I can see you doing more, Don’t you want that?’ He paused before saying, ‘Don’t you want to see yourself where I am in a few years?’
Which was really a life-changing moment for me. ‘No. I’m sorry Gary, but no, I don’t want that. At all. I’m gonna call this my two weeks notice and go get a job at a hospital or something. I’ll close out my territory and give any of my unresolved leads to someone else but you’re right – I am totally not into this.’
It was a cool moment that kind of threw my early-twenties stuff out into sharp focus, ended up going back to school afterward and I’m now working as an ICU nurse while getting my doctorate.”
I Won’t Say Sorry
“It was in second grade that this girl jumped on me and wanted to fight. I was stronger and not wanting to fight, so I just held her arms until she gave up. Later she told our teacher I started the fight and bullied her. The teacher wanted me to apologize and stared at me. The girl was crying and offering me her hand and the entire class waited outside for me to say sorry so that the teacher would let us go for break. And I just said, ‘No.’ I finally realized I could have my own opinions and make decisions for myself.
I know this is kind of stupid, but it was the first time that I stood up for myself and realized that my opinion counts, too.”
The Peeing Incident
“For background, my parents divorced when I was five and my mom married my step-dad about three years later. The physical abuse started shortly thereafter. They divorced after about a year, but never really split up. They married again five or six years later and are still together now. The physical abuse faded over the years, but the verbal and emotional side never really changed. I also have no illusions about my mother being a completely innocent victim in any of this, not after this many years.
I’m a grown woman now and live a couple thousand miles away from where I grew up with my husband and young daughter. This past Christmas we had my mom, step-dad, and half-brother (who is 11) staying with us for the holiday.
My step-dad and brother had gone to the Clippers game, and my husband and I went to pick them up from the Staples Center. We got on the freeway and my brother declared he needed to pee. Since we would be home in 15 minutes, we figured he’d be fine. My step-dad was laughing with him and teasing him light-heartedly about having to go to the bathroom. Suddenly my brother declares that he can’t hold it anymore, and sure enough he peed in the seat.
We get to my home and the guys all go inside. I stayed out to clean up my car. When I get inside, I see that the jacket I gave my brother to sit on to soak up the urine is now laying on top of a pizza box on my dining room table. I moved it to the floor and made a comment to my step-dad about how it’s ridiculous to put a peed soaked jacket on a table, especially on top of a box with leftover food in it. He lost it…
When my step-dad gets angry, he becomes a stereotypical cartoon character; he gets red in the face, his teeth clench, and he puffs up his chest and leans into whoever the target of his ire is. I’ve seen this reaction for years and years, but this was the first time in my own home. He began berating me for not stopping to allow my brother to go to the bathroom, despite being in the back seat with him laughing and egging him on.
My reaction was immediate and visceral. I told him to not speak to me like that in my own home, and when he continued I simply said, ‘Get out.’
The rush of adrenaline and emotion was terrifying. I retreated to my bedroom and when I looked down, I realized I had pulled out my cell phone and prepared to call 911. I hadn’t even realized my phone was in my hand. I told my husband to get our sleeping daughter from her room, the one she had been sharing with my mom and step-dad, and waited with her in my bedroom until they left.
It was a great feeling because I finally stood up to him. It was a horrible feeling that my mom didn’t stand up for me. It was the worst feeling in the world because that miserable man caught my young brother up in the crossfire, ruining his Christmas present, and leaving him to feel like it was all his fault.
I didn’t speak to my mom for a couple of months after this happened. I am still angry and hurt that she continues to choose to be involved with my step-dad, but I know that there are some mental and emotional factors there that make it a not-so-black-and-white issue from her perspective. I don’t like it, and I don’t agree with it, but at this point, I’d rather have her in my life than not.
My brother and I have not spoken since then. I’ll get to see him in person in a couple of months and I hope I can apologize and assure him that none of what happened was his fault. It’s a sad fact that I can’t depend on my mom, and certainly not on my step-dad, to explain that he is not responsible at all. His peeing in the car was annoying, but in no way did it have any bearing on his dad and by extension, him and his mom, being kicked out of my home. On top of that, who knows what his day-to-day existence is like…
I have not spoken to my step-dad since and I have no intention to.”
Drive Thru Drama
“I was working the drive-thru late at night at Burger King in 1992. A group of punks come through and made fun of me. As they left, they all shouted, ‘See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!’ They parked in the lot to eat.
30 minutes later, I heard a knock at the window. It was the same punks. Their battery seemed to have died and they asked if anyone inside had jumper cables.
I shut the window on them while saying, ‘See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!'”
Sweet Revenge For Getting Kicked Out
“My mum kicked me out of the house when I was 12. She told me to live on the streets, which I did. I eventually found my way into family services and have grown up and am proud to be a hard-working, respected, and most satisfyingly, wealthy member of my community. I run several online businesses and my mother didn’t even want me.
Last year, my mother had her first stroke and was having a lot of trouble paying the bills, had nobody to help her day to day, and couldn’t even feed herself properly. She rang me out of the blue after eight years of no contact. ‘Please, I need help. Can you give me some money?’
‘No.’ I hung up.”
Quitting For The Last Time
“My mother moved out of the home I grew up in this past week. It had been 25 years in that house. My father died of lung cancer in that house. I’ve been a smoker for about five years.
We found about 15 lighters in my room when we’re cleaning it out. She asked me if I still smoked cigs. I could honestly tell her ‘no.’
It’s been about three weeks and I’m never looking back. It was truly great saying I wasn’t a smoker and knowing I wasn’t lying.
I tried and failed many times before. Drinking was my downfall almost every time. I’d buy a pack while wasted and then fall back in.
This time I truly wanted to quit. I started going to the gym and I could barely breathe and keep up with my friends. I smoked less and less but not totally quit. When I would go to the gym after smoking one or two the night before, I’d cough up a storm.
I’m unfortunately aware that I’m far from being out of the woods from past failures. I still identify myself as a smoker, but I’m one who has managed to stay clean for a few weeks. This has been by far the easiest time so I’m hopeful it can be the last time.”
Not Letting Him Taking Advantage
“The first time I ever really drank a lot, there was a guy who was older than me and a lot more sober than me who was trying to slip his hand down my pants. I just looked at him and said, ‘No.’ He tried to play it off like I was being some prude tease, but he was the one trying to take advantage of a girl he thought had less control of the situation.
I was actually friends with the guy who did this and we talked about it. He didn’t see that what he did was wrong because I was grabbing his arm to stand up straight, and he took that as a flirty move, as he was only halfway through one can of Bud Light. I, on the other hand, was on the wrong end of 5 shots of Smirnoff and was not handling it very well. Because I was being flirty (in his opinion, he explained to me what I did and I don’t think it’s flirty), he took that as consent that I wanted something intimate.”