Through shyness, childhood training, or an overdeveloped desire not to impose or be a bother, many of us often say ‘No’ when we mean ‘Yes.’ As a child I was a natural alto; the notes just came to me. One Christmas I was asked, begged to sing in a quartet. I longed to do it, but steadfastly and irrationally said ‘No.’ I needed someone to teach me not to say ‘No’ when I meant ‘Yes.’
“Don’t Say No If You Mean Yes” is a watchword at our house. It is a lesson we seem to have mastered pretty well, though we have said it often to young guests who sometimes demurred to be polite.
Again, the caution: If it’s wrong, or doubtful, say ‘No!’ and make it stick, even if strongly tugged toward ‘Yes.’ But when worthy opportunity knocks, DON’T SAY NO IF YOU MEAN YES!