The Sunday Times Column: My people-pleasing days are over. I’ve become a No Girl – and I’m loving every minute of it


I understand the concept of Danny Wallace’s book Yes Man, but can’t relate to the premise. I am already someone who always says “yes”.

I have a yolo ethos. I’ll try anything once, except, as some wag once brilliantly suggested, morris dancing or incest. Also, I am terrible at turning down invitations. This is why I have a diary filled with plans that I want to get out of. And I’m always being distracted from my real focus.

This people-pleasing is rather British behaviour. Born out of a sense of politeness, our attempts to say “no” are such feeble, mumbled Hugh Grant-esque apologies, usually nobody can tell that we’ve done it.

But mindlessly agreeing (or being in any way like Hugh Grant), is lame. The act of being afraid of rejection is likely to turn you into a passive-aggressive fake. Besides, saying “no” is important. If you don’t, someone might think you consent. So I decided to do a reverse Wallace. I would become No Girl. I would Just Say No, like Nancy Reagan did.

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