My Nana Teaches Us How to Say, ‘No’ (Like a Non-Douche) and How to Not Feel Bad About Staying Home.

My Nana is a revered woman.

Nana + Pappy 

Nana + Pappy 


She is both a social butterfly and a homebody. And, she will never apologize for being this contradiction.


I sat down to write a post about saying “No,” gracefully, but  I realized I don’t know how to do that at all.


I actually really suck at it.


I flake, avoid, say “Yes,” when I don’t want to, and I hate that about myself.


So, I thought, who better to ask advice than the OG-of-Cancelled-Plans herself?


I gave her a call last week and after about ten minutes of us talking about her doctor’s appointment, how my mom got abs, and my boyfriend’s job we got started:




KAYLA: So, I have always been a people pleaser...


NANA: Ya think?


KAYLA: I wanted to call you because I think you’re so good at saying, “no,” but

people don’t get their feelings hurt.


NANA: Uh-huh…


KAYLA: If you were to give advice to someone like me [someone who struggles with hurting people’s feeling, being a people pleaser, etc.]


...what would you say? Or how did you come to this [philosophy]


NANA: How did I come to it? Honestly, Honey, the only thing I can tell you is I just try to be honest with everybody.


I will say,  “I would love to, but not right now,” or,


“You sound like you’re so excited, and I’m excited for you, but I just can’t do it right now.”


And, “My cup is overflowing right now.”  


She suggests adding a little something to soften the blow like:

“Now, if you have a question about something give me a call.”


She also says, if the relationship is important you can say:

“Give me a raincheck! Don’t forget me! I just can’t do it right now.”  


NANA: [It will feel like people are] picking your brain and [that they’re] taking advantage of whatever knowledge you have because two heads are better than one, but really they want to be re-assured.


KAYLA: This makes me sound like a brat…


NANA:  No, honey, you’re not a brat.


Remember it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. You can always come across that you care—people typically don’t get offended if you’re being honest with them.


KAYLA: How do you decide the things you say ‘no’ to.


NANA: Don’t you get an inner gut feeling? Don’t you feel it?




NANA: Well that’s telling you. That’s telling whether it should be or it shouldn’t. A lot of time go with that. Sometimes it may be wrong, but most of the time it’s not.


NANA: I can’t really describe it.




KAYLA: What I struggle with is because I am an introverted person. Like, if you give me the choice to go out or stay [home] I’ll probably just stay [home]. But, I have this huge fear of becoming a hermit.


NANA: Oh, I know what you’re saying...


KAYLA: So, because I have those tendencies to just say home, I’ll want to push myself. And, I’ll be like, no, Kayla you need to get out. So, I have a hard time knowing what to say ‘no’ to.


NANA: Well the thing of it is, do you realize how many people are not comfortable being at home? You know?


They like to go, go, go, because their comfort zone is not being at home or being alone with their thoughts.


Like others, like myself, my home [and alone time]  is my pride and joy. So, I don’t have to go, go, go.


So, don’t ever feel guilty about that.




NANA: The biggest thing for me is, I don’t know where its written that you have to do this and you have to do that.


NANA: Do what you want to do. Do what your heart tells you to do. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel like going some place.

Kayla Dugger