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  • Writer's pictureJerry Brook

Don't Take No for an Answer

It sounds great, doesn’t it? You’re strong, you’re passionate, you’re demanding of what you want—what could go wrong when you adopt the don’t take no for an answer attitude?

You’d be surprised.

This kind of attitude is not only aggressive, but it’s also adversarial. It’s argumentative, and in a lot of cases, it can be disrespectful, too.

In this article, I’ll show you how negative and wrong this type of attitude can be—I’ll even show you why you shouldn’t use this type of attitude anymore, why you shouldn’t accept other people saying it to you, and what you should be adopting instead.

Is it Detrimental? It Sure Is!

Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you this— that type of attitude is harmful to believe and act on. Not just for you, but for other people, too.

Think about it—if a teenage boy is sitting on a couch with a teenage girl with the mindset to get cozy and she says no, that should be the end of it. But, with that don’t take no for an answer mindset, it’s like creating a challenge for the boy. It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull. It’s like teaching that boy that if he takes no for an answer, he’s failed somehow.

You might think I’m blowing this out of proportion, but it’s a dangerous phrase because it creates a dangerous mindset. It becomes ingrained into a person’s psyche, affecting who they are, what they believe, and how they act and react.

That act of not taking no for an answer, means that you aren’t respecting another person’s decision—doesn’t that person have every right to tell you no? And by the same token, don’t you have every right to tell someone else no, too?

Personally, I believe that you reap what you sow and that, in the end, we all ultimately get what we deserve. So, if you don’t take no for an answer, it’s likely others won’t take your no for an answer, either.

Think about the last time you dealt with a pushy salesperson. You know the type we’re talking about—they’re taught to not take no for an answer. How did that make you feel? Did it work, or did it just annoy you and make you feel disrespected?

We teach this idea in schools, in sports, and in business as a method for aggressive confidence, but then, when it’s used against us, we’re shocked and appalled. If you can’t accept this behavior against you, why would you condone it when you do it?

I believe this is the epitome of selfishness and disrespect—the mindset that it’s OK if you don’t take no for answer, but that it’s not OK when someone doesn’t take your no for an answer.

Let’s think about those wonderful love stories, those romance novels, where the man doesn’t take a woman’s no for an answer. He persists. She gives in. They fall in love and live happily ever after. Right?

Maybe. But what about all of the ones who said no and truly meant it? Those stories exist too, and often, they end in tragedy. They don’t always come with a happily ever after relationship.

So, ask yourself—why would anyone condone and spread this type of attitude? The answer is simple—because they want to use it. They want to behave and act badly, without accountability and without responsibility.

Can You Do Better? Absolutely.

The real problem with this statement is that something is missing. It should be, don’t take no for an answer from yourself. Use this as a mantra to encourage yourself, to stay the course, to not give up. Don’t adopt this attitude for other people.

So, what’s the plan when you find someone who does tell you no for something?

You adapt. You move on. You find another person. You find another way.

You say, “Hey, I respect that you don’t want this and I respect your choice to say no. I’ll find someone who says yes.”

There’s always a way to make something work if it’s healthy, happy, and positive—it just might not be with the person you initially had in mind. Respect the no, always.

Don’t Take No for an Answer Challenge

This week’s challenge is for you to:


  • stop listening to foolish and modern wisdom that isn’t healthy

  • stop repeating or spreading foolish, modern wisdom that isn’t healthy

  • stop believing foolish, modern wisdom that isn’t healthy

No means no, and you should respect that always.

Good Together: Your Guide to healthy, happy relationships

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