Feeling Guilty, Don’t. Just Say No.

Kevin Lennon
5 min readJul 11, 2022

We’ve all been there. Going somewhere we don’t want to go or to hang out with people we don’t care to. How about being the third wheel in a group where the group keeps you the third wheel. Why do we put ourselves in these situations? Is it because we want to be liked or accepted? Years ago, I read that you should never feel bad or guilty saying no to things you don’t want to do. This is important. Life is short. Allowing others to decide what is best for you is not best for you. Unless you are depressed or have issues dealing with the real world, your decisions are your own, and you control your life. This is not to say that giving in at times is all bad. It’s ok to compromise when it is suitable for the greater good.

Photo by Andy T on Unsplash

An example is grocery shopping with your significant other because you didn’t go the past three times. Let’s keep it real. You don’t want to be a jerk or be seen as a lazy partner. Pull your own weight. But on the other hand, when you feel forced to go clothes shopping for the fifth time, and it’s boring, don’t go. I would say be a man, but we all know that ain’t correct. Maybe I should say man up. Ok, again, not cool, It’s 2022.

When I was a younger man, I remember buying my first car. It wasn’t new or even slightly new, but it was mine. Yellow with a black stripe on the hood. The right-side door was dented, but that was ok. I had freedom, the ability to come and go as I please. I worked hard for my ride and kept it in the best shape possible. It got me to work and back on the daily. I used it to visit my girlfriend as often as I could. My mom was against me buying my car because I did it without her permission. I was 16 and could not legally buy a car until 17. I asked my 17-year-old next-door neighbor to buy it with my money, and months later, she signed it over to me. Cool huh? The funny thing is my mom was sure to catch a ride anytime I went to the mall or other places she didn’t want to drive. What happened to her being against me buying a car? I should leave that alone. It’s my mom.

While driving to work had its benefits. It also had its disadvantages. Not awful drawbacks, but they were somewhat annoying at times. You see, a few of my co-workers did not have cars. They had to rely on public transportation or taxis. I was a waiter, so I worked late hours. Yes, I was a young waiter and pretty good at it. Because I was young and a bit naïve about my transportation, a few coworkers would ask for a ride home.

I didn’t mind, and many would offer to pay. They didn’t pay much, 2 to 5 dollars. The distance I drove them each ranged from 2 to 6 miles. At times, I could have three people needing a ride. I didn’t always accept money because they were friends. We all got along and had a good time at work. Sometimes, we would hang out after work. But there were times when driving someone home became the norm. It was almost expected. And without being paid. Yes, I set myself up for taxing people without pay. If I was headed home and someone was going in the same direction, that was not a problem. But, when I had to go in the opposite direction 6 miles and back again 6 miles, that became annoying. I was young and friendly and didn’t want to tell people no, especially someone twice my age. I saw that as being disrespectful.

On the other hand, I sometimes felt I was being used. Eventually, the rides slowed down to a minimum. I believe a few co-workers felt terrible for me and voiced their opinion to others.

Photo by Amir Hosseini on Unsplash

When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, a book by Manuel J. Smith. I purchased this while going through my driving issues, but at the time, I never really used what I read. The book describes how in many situations, one might feel bad or guilty for simple things. I remember an example from the book, but not verbatim. It’s been a while since I read it. “Taking your car to a repair shop and not having the repair done properly only to feel guilty after the shop blames you for waiting so long to bring it in to get it fixed.” Yes, this happens more than it should. We would all like to think this would never happen to us. Dig deep into your mind and pull out that instance when you felt guilt for something you had no control over. Or someone who had you feeling guilty for interrupting their time or space, even when you didn’t realize you were interrupting anything. “Why are you whining? We always go shopping at this time.” Or, “I’m sorry, Babe, I didn’t know you were asleep but Isn’t Friday night sex night?” I may be telling on myself, but you catch my drift.

Allowing yourself to be backed into a corner doing something you don’t want to do or feeling guilty about something where there should be no guilt is weakness. When we allow weakness to frequently enter our lives, it can eventually destroy the person we hope to become. I have learned through time and experiences that saying no can be a good thing. I’m no longer the weak guy I was in my earlier days. I’m strong and tough. Roar!!!

I know this story is short, but my wife’s calling. I have to go dress shopping with her and don’t want to keep her waiting. Meow.

See you in the next story.

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Kevin Lennon

Father, husband & previous business owner who enjoys working out & almost all genres of music though I can’t dance. Blogging is fast becoming my secret passion.