I've said it before and I will say it again: My favorite word is probably ‘no.'
I love that word.
It's simple, direct and efficient. And I don't think it's used way enough with some people.
Like those people you only hear from when they need something.
Can you watch their children, can you drive across town to pick up their mail while they are on vacation?
Or how about loan them your great-grandmother's antique tea service that's been passed down through the generations for an event you aren't invited to. It is after all, just family and closest friends.
You know the ones - they pass you in the grocery store and barely mumble a greeting as they push past you to get a box of Fruity Pebbles.
But boy howdy, they just realized their cousin had signed up for the latest multi-level marketing scheme and they need you to come buy $200 worth of something you don't need and won't ever use, and hey, can you host a party too?
My answer is always - you guessed it - no.
If I am a friend only when it's convenient for you, then don't expect me to be a friend unless it's convenient for me to do so. And those circumstances are terribly inconvenient.
Co-workers that are only nice to you when they want you to cover their shift or do their work. "No."
The tell-tale giveaway is that greeting in the e-mail or the tone of their voice when you say hello. It's tainted with that twinge of you're about to be suckered into something you don't want to do.
"Can you sit on this committee?" I have been asked.
"It's a very worthwhile cause, something you would be interested in."
"But why not?"
And here's the thing: No explanation is necessary, none whatsoever. I don't care if all you have to do is go home, put on some yoga pants and watch "American Idol," if someone is asking you to do something just so their lives are easier, you can say no, with absolutely no guilt.
It's hard though. I know it is.
For many of us, we are people pleasers and feel like when we are asked to do something, regardless of how much we may not want to, or how much we would dread it, if we don't do it, it's some barometer of our character.
We've been conditioned since we were born to turn that other cheek, be kind to others even when they aren't necessarily that nice to us.
My mama drummed that into my head relentlessly and still tries to reiterate that fact. I'm even doing the same dang thing with my child too, but I am telling him it's OK to sometimes say no.
I'm even trying to be less strident with my no's lately.
I received an e-mail just the other day, from someone who hasn't bothered to speak to me in two years but she's having a candle party; would I like to come and help her earn free candles.
This time, I reserved my no and didn't even reply.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.