When someone has ground our gears for too long, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as declaring “no!”–and these people have first-hand knowledge. Whether they’d run out of patience or needed to stop a toxic cycle, these people finally took back control with a rousing, defiant “no.”
Most Satisfying No
1. Thawed and Ready to Go
I used to work as a refrigeration tech and had a job at the only employer in my county. They treated me terribly, cutting pay and benefits, giving us the bare essentials to do our jobs, and then complaining when it took us longer. Then another company opened up an office and started hiring a few of us. They offered me a job as a lead tech with a bunch of benefits.
These folks and I clicked and I knew we would get along. My old employer came to my house and begged me on a literal bended knee not to quit. They made this speech about how they would give me whatever I wanted. I looked this man who had treated me so badly and just said, “no, now get out of my house.”
2. Give a Little, Get a Little
I was working in a toxic environment. I would never say no because I enjoyed the challenge. However, when I pointed out my value and received a paltry increase, I decided to leave. I got a job offer that would basically double my salary and delivered my resignation letter. That’s when everything went nuts.
A group of my bosses took me out to lunch as a sort of intervention and basically did what they did best – delivered the hard sell. I’m integral to the business, they’ll open up a career advancement path for me if I’ll just hang in there, yada yada yada. Then they made their counter-offer knowing full well how much my offer was for, and low-balled me like I couldn’t do simple math.
I got pulled aside by just about every single higher-up over the next two weeks, and they all progressively sweetened the pot. I stood firm, and it was absolutely the easiest rejection of my life. I actually left that job with a sense of survivor’s guilt about the people I left behind.
3. Test of Time
I have been working at a restaurant for 3 years during my undergraduate. In my last year, Mother’s Day fell on the weekend of my final exams. I told my boss more than 3 months in advance that I would need the day off because I had to study and write papers. They told me that it probably wouldn’t be a problem, but of course it was just a “request” for time off.
Fast forward to about 3 weeks before Mother’s Day, and of course they tell me that they’re going to need me to work. I brought in my two weeks’ notice the next day and told him that I would not be working Mother’s Day or any day after that. It was extraordinarily satisfying to see the look on my manager’s face.
4. Getting Covered
I hope I speak for many when I relay the utter satisfaction of refusing to cover a shift for someone who makes your life at work HORRIBLE and has unfortunately landed themselves into a hungover pickle on a Sunday morning. It doesn’t get better than telling that awful person that I have an important commitment and then rolling over in my sweet, sweet bed.
5. Sold Out
Right out of college I ended up working for Verizon. It was all commission but I’m from a family of sales-persons so even in a miserable two weeks, I’d average $1000 a week and on good weeks, I’d hit twice that. I hated the job and felt dirty about doing it, since I certainly wasn’t helping anyone. There was also the long commute and horrible “Team Motivation” meetings.
Either way, my boss knew I was good and called me into his office one day. He gave me this speech like “You’re a really good salesman and you train new employees well, but I can tell your energy just isn’t here with us.” Then he paused and said, “don’t you want to see yourself where I am in a few years?”
This was really a life changing moment for me. “No. I’m sorry Gary, but No, I don’t want that. At all. I’m going to call this my two weeks’ notice and go get a job at a hospital or something. You’re right – I am totally not into this.” It was a cool moment that kind of threw my early-twenties figure life out into sharp focus. I ended up going back to school. I’m now working as an ICU nurse while getting my doctorate.
6. Not in My House
I’m a small-time landlord. When I was just getting into things, I made some bad mistakes. The neighbor of one of my properties is a very friendly guy and when I was doing renovations would constantly pop over to chat. It turns out his son and his girlfriend are looking for a place to live. Great! Saves me the trouble of having to hunt down a renter, I thought. I run a background check and there are some red flags but nothing they can’t plausibly explain. I let them rent my property. Big. Mistake.
They never paid their rent on time and towards the end didn’t pay up at all. They trashed the house. They ground cigarette butts into the carpet and etched the word “Booty” on the side of the tub. I ended up evicting them and getting a judgment against them. I figured I’d never collect and never hear from them.
Fast forward two years. The house is empty. I just had a tenant leave and I was about to start doing turnover. My phone goes off one day. It’s my former tenant. His girlfriend left him, he’s back living at home and he really wants a place to stay. “Not on your life.”
7. Silence Speaks Volumes
In high school bio, we had to get in groups and create a Bill Nye style informative video. My group was done recording and I just had to do the editing with all the transitions, effects, titles, etc. And anyone who has ever done any type of movie or trailer knows that post-production is twice the time and effort as shooting.
There I am just finished and submitted onto YouTube and this guy who’s been calling me names all year comes up to me and asks, “hey man can you do my video editing because I don’t how to do it?” I told him no and then he proceeded to offer me $5 for a week’s worth of headaches and work. I just walked off with saying anything. A satisfying silence ensued.
8. It’s All About Who You Know
I work for an anime convention. There is an incredible amount of drama that goes around; it is insane. A couple of years ago, I happen to be waiting for an elevator with two girls who are talking about my convention’s future. It’s Sunday; it could be a ten- or fifteen-minute wait. And one of them says, “Oh my god, I am soooo glad [convention] is moving back to the Hyatt next year!” We weren’t. It wasn’t big enough to hold us anymore. And it’s always better to quash rumors before they have a chance to circulate too much.
I politely say, “Actually, it’s going to be here again.” I get these obnoxious, know-it-all looks from both of them. One of them goes, “No, it’s not; I heard it from my friend on Security.” Now it’s a “I know someone!” game. But my boss is the owner of the convention – I know where it will be held. But I don’t want to pull the “I know someone higher up than you” card; that’s petty.
Instead I say, “Why don’t you email in and settle this for us?” We’ve got the time, so she pulls out her phone, goes to our website, finds the contact page, and starts typing out an email. She hits send. A few seconds later, my phone beeps. I’ve got a new email! I open it, it’s clearly from her. It says, “[Convention] is moving back to the Hyatt next year, right?”
I type back, “No,” and hit send. Most satisfying ‘No’ by a long shot.
9. Over My Dead Body
After my grandfather died, we had the usual thing where people come out the woodwork because they think they’re entitled to some part of the leftovers. I go to my bank to deposit some cash and my grandfather’s financial adviser was there. She asked if she could talk to me, but when she began to speak, I couldn’t believe her words. She tried to butter me up into accepting her proposal that we liquidate absolutely everything in the estate.
This meant that I’d lose my car, the roof over my head, and my mom would lose her car as well. Considering this was right after my grandfather died, I just knew there was an ulterior motive. I said no. As the last surviving member of that side of the family who had control over the fate of my grandfather’s estate, I wasn’t about to risk losing everything. She got all angry and told me I was being a fool, but I doubled down on my decision and told her that they could have everything over my dead body.
It turned out to be a smart decision because some lawyers got to my mentally disabled aunt and took pretty much all of the cash in the estate leaving…you guessed it! All the property that we chose not to liquidate.
10. Life of a Civilian
When you get out of the military, you go through a program that helps you transition back into normal life. At the beginning of the course, they have a reserve recruiter talk to everybody to sign up for reserve duty. I was ready to get out and move on with my life and told the recruiter I wasn’t interested. He asked me if I like drinking and hanging out on the weekends cause that’s what they do. I said, “no.” He looked at me and says, “Well, I didn’t expect that.”
11. When Everything Clicks
I work at a small computer store. 90% of what we do is service-related, but we also build computers. Our custom builds have a reputation for quality, which is why people are willing to pay $600 for a computer from us when they could walk into Walmart and buy a boxed computer for less.
There is a customer who has always been a bit difficult, but we’ve accommodated him whenever possible. He bought a computer and then the next morning called to say it was “freezing and acting erratically.” I went to his house to help him out only to discover that the machine is heavily infected.
He insists that we sold him an infected machine and demands I fix it without charging him. He “can’t believe” that we “rip people off so badly with these terrible computers.” As I’m working, I started looking for the source of the virus. Of course, his web history is FULL of explicit sites. Oh, but it gets so much worse.
I can tell that an the Anti-Virus program we installed had told him NOT to click on one particular site, and he still allowed it. Three times. If he’d have just fessed up, I’d have cut him some slack, but I had to stand my ground here. “No sir, if you wrecked your brand-new car 18 minutes after you bought it, the dealership wouldn’t repair it for free. This call is not free.”
12. Feet Off the Matt
Many years ago, I had serious problems asserting myself and would be walked all over as a result. One day my friend asked me to return snow shoes at a store she rented them from on my way home from work. I obliged and found out when I went to return them that there was a significant late fee on them and was forced to pay it.
I got in my car and cried, not knowing if my friend would pay me back and also feeling like once again, I didn’t stand my ground. That’s when it finally dawned on me that if I didn’t stand up for myself now, I never would. So I went back in the store and demanding my money back. How they arranged the payment with my friend was their problem, not mine. They gave me a full refund.
This one “no” marked a turning point for me, when I started standing up for myself. The effect has snowballed and since then I have a substantially happier life and am very clear about my boundaries and my expectation that they be respected.
13. Mutual Friendship
Some dude in the locker room held up his hand for a high five then swiped it away at the last second and mockingly said, “Oh I bet you thought you had a friend.” Fast forward later on and we are on our way to the cafeteria. Like every couple of days, he asked me to get him something from the line because he is out of money.
Today I finally agree. We get up to the lunch lady and I get my food and begin to walk away. He goes, “Wait you were going to get me something.” I look back at him and say in a sad voice, “Oh I bet you thought you had a friend,” before turning around and walking away
14. Blind Leaving the Blind
When I started at my job, they threw me in with no training. I did a lot of work outside my paid hours to bring my area up to snuff and get things done. I was rewarded with inheriting more old projects that everyone else couldn’t be bothered to do. Over time, my boss became very reliant on me and would give me a hard time about taking any days off.
We would always have a meeting before or after I had a scheduled day off to shame me publicly for doing so because no one else could possibly do my job. I begged my boss and other coworkers to do training with me to solve the problem. They all refused. Over several years, I maybe got one or two to sit down but they obviously didn’t care and had no intention of learning.
When I put in my 2-week notice, my boss decided she’d rather hire a personal assistant for herself instead of filling my position and redistribute my jobs between existing employees. She and the other employees still didn’t take the time to train. Instead, my boss had an infuriating request.
She wanted me to write a manual on how to do everyone’s jobs including my own with illustrations, plus wrap up all my own work within those 2 weeks. I told her no. I’ve done it 3 times already in the past for them and no one ever bothered to consult it. She then asked for all my contact information and told me she would have the office call and email me so I can walk them through everything or do it myself remotely from home after I’ve officially quit.
I stared at her good and hard before she finally added, “That’s ok with you, isn’t it?” And I flatly told her, “no.” She did a cartoon style double-take and was completely baffled why I wasn’t voluntarily working for them without pay after they refused to train or rehire. Even after I did say no, I did still receive a few personal emails and calls from one of my coworkers asking for help. I said “no” every single time.
15. No Waiting Around
For over 8 years, I was off and on with the same guy. And like an idiot, anytime he’d beckon me back, I’d come crawling. Didn’t matter who I was with, what was going on in my life, I’d drop anything to try and make this relationship work. After we broke up yet again, two years go by, I find myself in a new relationship, where I finally found out what a good relationship actually feels like.
My ex calls. He found out he was going to be a dad, but things had ended between him and the mom. He was finally getting his baby and ready to settle down with me. Saying no to that guy with a few choice words was such an amazing and empowering feeling. And the fact that I’m still with the guy I was with at the time makes it feel that much better.
16. Not on the Menu
I was working the drive thru late at night at Burger King in 1992. A group of punks come through and make fun of me and as they leave, they all shout, “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!” They park in the lot to eat. 30 minutes later, I hear a knock at the window. It’s the same punks whose battery seems to have died and they asked if anyone inside had jumper cables. I shut the window on them while saying “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!”
17. Tall Order
I used to be a chef at a fancy restaurant. The average person would have 5-6 courses in a sitting and it was all very time consuming to make. Every day we’d start at 8 AM to prepare for dinner and finish around 11 PM. One night after everyone else had cleaned and were out the back having a beer, I was pottering round the kitchen, ordering things, and writing lists and some ‘friends of the owner’ came in drunk and demanded to see the menu.
The bar was open but the kitchen was done and dusted. Not just closed. Clean. Over. The waitress who was still on asked me if we could do it knowing full well that we couldn’t but asked anyway because she was doing her job. I say no but I can put something together for them on the house. Some cheese and bread or even a few deserts.
But no. They want the full menu, the fresh ravioli, the pate en croute, the beef poached in butter. I offer them some fish and steak. But again, no. I get the waitress to explain that we can’t just make the full menu in twenty minutes. It takes hours of preparation. But they weren’t done being monsters yet.
One of them got up and called me lazy to my face. I turned my back on her, turned the lights off in the kitchen, and went outside for a beer. I apologized to the waitress because she now had a situation to deal with but I was out of there. Then they tried to take my earlier offer of steak and fish.
This was the final straw. I said NO. They had every chance to be reasonable and they squandered those chances until it was too late. They could’ve chosen prime steak and bearnaise sauce. But they chose defeat. Of course, they were livid, as only drunk peasants with too much money can be, and they had a word with the owner the next day. And like the pathetic cash-lover he was, he chewed me out about it. But it was so worth it.
18. The Way of a Woman
I was on a cruise vacation with my husband and some in-laws. There was a gem salesman on the cruise who was excessively chatty and persistent. He would get off at ports and try to convince people to buy his jewelry at whatever local store he used. Well, we happened to wander into one of these stores, and this guy recognized us and went into full-salesman mode, chatting up my husband and brother-in-law.
Meanwhile, my mother-in-law and I are addressed only occasionally and not with much interest. I noticed all the women employees in the store watching the conversation, and I could detect undertones of misogyny in the air. Finally, salesman dude looks at me and says “so honey, let me guess…you’re a nurse?”
The tone wasn’t ‘and-nurses-are-awesome-people’, either. It was ‘you-seem-like-an-accessory-to-your-husband.’ So, I answered frankly, yet politely, “no, actually I’m an aerospace engineer.” That threw him off his game. It was like all the women in that room and I exchanged invisible high fives at that moment.
19. None for Me
Last year I decided to lose weight. A couple months in, one of my classmates offered me some pretzels. Up until that point, I had never said no to free food in my adult life or ever really since I grew up poor. Even though it would’ve only been a few extra calories, so not a big deal, it felt like one of those moments where your life changes. I just said, “no thank you.” At that moment, I finally felt like I was in control.
I knew then that I was finally going to succeed in losing weight. I’ve lost 110 pounds so far with another 20 to go.
20. Written Off
I dated a girl in high school and was totally wrecked when she broke up with me. A few years later, we started talking a lot again and hanging out, then ended up kissing one night. Then I went on Facebook and saw something that made my stomach drop: she’s dating another guy. I see her a little later and she hands me a letter. I knew exactly what it would say and that she knew what she did was terrible.
I was completely done at that point, so it didn’t really matter to me. I drove around for five minutes, then came back and handed her the letter, unopened. She was like, “did you read the letter?” I told her, “no,” and that if she had anything that she really felt like I needed to know, she could just tell me. She didn’t. We haven’t talked since.
I met the best woman I’d ever met and asked her to marry me a couple years after that. That was the most satisfying “yes” I’ve ever received.
21. A Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots
Ran into my psychotic, abusive, sadistic ex-boyfriend 3,000 miles away from where we grew up. He wanted to talk, kept bugging me in emails to “hear him out.” I caved and one night met him in a very public setting. I listened for a long time to what I thought was a pretty heart-felt apology with some nice words about how he has changed so much and doesn’t treat women the same anymore.
I felt pretty satisfied because for a long time I had lost sleep wondering and hoping he wasn’t doing these things to any other poor girl. It took a lot of consideration for me to even meet the guy and listen to him, so at the end when we were cordially saying good bye and he casually says, “this is so good, I always knew we would end up back together,” with this slick grin on his face.
I realized that this was all a big charade, his apology was worth nothing, and he was still the same narcissistic freak he had always been. Most satisfying “Ummmm, nope” ever!
22. Early Swerve
Walking into a gas station after work I caught the eye of this tall ‘gangster’ looking fellow. Dude straight up licks his lip, thumbs his nose and starts eyeing me. So, as he opened his mouth to talk to me, I put up my hand and said, “nope, not interested,” and walked away. I got to listen to his friends laugh at him and the cashier told me that was the coolest rejection he had ever seen.
It sounds really dumb, I know, but when a dude walks up to you like he’s so sure you’re going to sleep with him that he might as well stare you down right there, shutting them down cold is so very sweet.
23. Missed Calls
My boss had the nerve to call me 7 times during a final exam despite getting my schedule months in advance. I told the proctor and they allowed me to answer one call. Boss yelled for me to get into work. I calmly said no. Then I handed the proctor my phone and asked them to hold onto it for the remainder of the exam.
24. Outta the Ring
I went to a jewelry store to pick up something I had on layaway to discover a girl I dated for a couple months back in high school was behind the counter. Several times since we stopped dating, she had asked me if I would consider another date. I really didn’t want to go through the same song and dance again.
But I didn’t have a whole lot of time and I didn’t see another cashier so I went up to her anyway. I made my final payment and got my item and just as we were wrapping things up, she, once again, asked me if I’d go out with her again. I held up my bag and said, “you just sold me an engagement ring.” The look on her face was absolutely priceless.
25. Missed Opportunity
My drug addict sister’s kids were taken by DCFS when they learned what she’d been doing. I drive from Chicago to Los Angeles, and spent six months and $20,000 to get her and her deadbeat husband clean. Six months later I left, thinking they were okay and knowing that they were less than a month away from getting their kids back. Then I learned the truth.
They got high before I got a hundred miles away. Their kids were adopted by a wonderful family, but my sister wouldn’t give up, saying that she’s their mother and she knows what’s best for them. She hit rock bottom, or so I thought, left her husband, went back to Florida to live with my mother and get clean. Three weeks later, she’s involved with a new boyfriend, another drug addict, and she’s high again.
California relents, and tell her that if she sends letters to the judge, they’ll look into the case again. I get a phone call from my mom who is crying happy tears asking me to write the letter since I dabble in writing and have an eye for grammar, punctuation, etc. I refuse. Enough is enough. My sister starts blowing up my phone. I don’t answer. She texts me. I tell her to lose my number.
26. Falling Out
My ex-husband and I were going through a divorce. It should have been cut and dry, but he kept changing his mind and asking me to come back. It was hell. As soon as I accepted our break-up, he would change his mind and break my heart again. Well, I decided one day to use my gift certificate my family got me to go skydiving. I’d had it for 8 months.
I didn’t use it while married because he said that if I went and died that he would not go to my funeral. Since we were divorcing, I thought it was a great way to celebrate being free. That feeling of free falling was exhilarating and empowering. He decided to show up and ask me on a date that day. I said no. I was tired of him not making up his mind and I needed to go through with the divorce. I’ve never had to tell him no again.
27. Excuse You
I was once in a line to get on a ski lift and just as I was about to go through the barriers, a very rude French man barged me out of the way and proceeded to sit on the lift all by himself. As he did that, he dropped one of his ski poles and turned to look at me to pick it up. I looked back at him and just shook my head. The people behind me clapped.
28. Don’t Know What You Got Until It’s Gone
I have been a renter most of my adult life. The 2nd to the last place I rented was a nice, old house with a huge yard. We really liked this house. The landlord was a young man with a wife and baby. As long as we paid the rent even close to on time, he didn’t bother us. We hardly ever saw him. At the time my children were older, junior high ages and they wanted a dog. The landlord had told us when we moved in that pets were okay, as long as he was given notice.
After 2 years I finally gave in and we got a dog, a large shepherd/malamute puppy. I notified the landlord. That’s when everything went nightmare-level wrong. The landlord then did a 180-degree turnaround, wanted monthly inspections, increased the rent, and generally freaked out. After a few months he gave us 30 days’ notice to leave. After much scrambling I found a house, slightly bigger, fenced yard, and close to our price range. We signed a lease and moved in a big hurry.
Fast forward 6 months. I’m working from home when a large pickup truck pulls into the driveway. Out of this truck stepped a young woman carrying a baby. I recognized this woman as the wife of my former landlord. I was very puzzled as we had not heard from these folks since the move. I invited her in, offered her coffee, and she proceeded to tell me the sad story of what had happened over the last 6 months to our former home.
She said her husband had evicted us because 1) he was worried about the dog doing damage to the property, which didn’t happen, and 2) he had agreed to sell the place to someone under land contract. The folks he agreed to sell to apparently paid only half the deposit, had never paid any rent, and had started parking and repairing cars all over the big, beautiful yard, tearing it up completely.
She ended the story by asking me if we’d be interested in moving back to the house we had liked so much. After about 30 seconds I told her that we had signed a year’s lease at this house, so no, we would not be able to move back into the home that her husband had evicted us from. Most satisfying no I’ve ever said!
29. Get What You Give
I was a manager for Circuit City. On my way to work, I was pulled over by a police officer because my license plate light was out. When the office asked for my driver’s license and asked if I was still living at the address that was listed, I told him that I had just moved. He asked how long ago. I said that it had been a couple of weeks. He wrote me a ticket for my light being out and for not changing my address on my license. What a jerk.
Later that same day, I see a customer arguing with one of my customer service associates about returning a printer that was 6 months past the return policy. As I approached the counter, I made eye contact with the guy. It was the same cop that wrote me a ticket. We locked eyes and I saw his immediate regret. He knew how this was going to go down. Could I have returned the printer? Yes. Was I going to? No.
30. Bus Boy Uprising
We just turned 16 so a friend and I got a job at Bob Evans bussing tables. It was awful. We got yelled at by the waitresses who wanted the tables cleaned and by hostesses who took customers to the tables. The dish washers were never happy with the way we stacked dishes because most of the time, the customers glued the dishes together with syrup. No one in the back even acknowledged us.
Only ones who were cool to us were the cooks who’d hook us up with giant steak burgers even when we ordered regular burgers for our own lunch. But the most harassment came from this assistant manager who was just downright mean, yelling and belittling us at every opportunity. I was a pretty conscientious worker and I tried very hard but if you know what kind of rush we deal with in that place, especially in the weekends, you’d know there’s no way you can keep up with the flood.
Finally, we had enough. We marched in the day before we were scheduled on the weekend as we were all in school and told the mean manager we’re quitting. She asked us when our last day was and my friend and I looked at each other, smiled, and said, “today.” She got all shocked and angry and asked us if we’re really not coming in the two busiest days of the week, and I took an enormous satisfaction telling her, “nope.”
31. Timely Manners
I work at a makeup store and run the appointments for people to get makeovers and such. I’ve gotten the PLEASURE of telling someone women “you were more than 15 minutes late to your appointment without a call ahead. We won’t be able to accommodate doing your makeup today!” Working in retail, when ladies come in demanding that they are here for their 2:30 appointment at 3:15 and telling me they’re in a rush and being rude, I ADORE getting to do that.
32. Paying the Price
My housemate defaulted on the rent and car payments that he owed me, so I booted him out. He tried to get back at me by bullying my fiancée and trying to make her doubt our relationship and then tried to have me arrested for assault. He had gone too far. So, I sicked my solicitor on him and he ended up begging me to give him some leniency because the debt was ruining his life.
He had to drop out of college to work full time to pay both me and his rent and messed up his relationship with his parents because they had to bail him out. Now when I kicked him out, I was going to let him get resettled before asking about the debt and maybe renegotiate. But he decided to make my fiancée cry. Ain’t no one messes with my woman.
33. A Deal’s a Deal
I had been working as a tech for a chain entertainment store. My position was somewhat of a unique one: I was part of a team that went to stores that were “last strike” stores, which meant that multiple teams of people had tried to save the store and were unsuccessful. We did “resets.” We would show up, fire everyone, get rid of everything old, set the store up like a brand-new store, then hire a whole new staff. I was in charge of replacing the old 1990s point of sale terminals with newer ones.
There was a ton of special things you had to do for the dozens of configurations of stores, but I had been doing it for so long that I knew what to do before I even got there. Basically, I got passed up on a raise because two of the stores we reset ended up failing in one quarter. It had nothing to do with any of the work I had done, the employees in that area caused most of the shrink and the store just wasn’t sustainable. I gave my two weeks, but they decided to let me go immediately. Fast forward a month, they want me to do phone support for the guys who replaced me for free. I said no.
After about an hour of “I’ll have to authorize this with my boss,” we agree that I’ll work as a contractor that will be paid as soon as I show up. I told them very explicitly, if I arrive on site and I don’t have a $5,000 check in my hand, I’m going home. I arrived on site, the regional manager who was my boss’s boss told me the check would have to be mailed, and that they were a week behind and I was “not authorized to leave” until the site was finished. I told her “nope” and left. Man, that felt good.
34. Shouldn’t Overdue It
I work at a convenience store. One fine evening, this hooligan comes in shouting in my store and acting like a big shot. He came up to the counter with a smug grin talking about how it was his birthday and a 30 pack of Bud Light. I asked for his ID and it was a few months expired. No beer for you.
35. Rude Awakening
Around Thanksgiving, I was picking up some last-minute things at the market. There weren’t many cashiers and the lines were long. I was getting ready to pay and saw a man on the side of the line. I wasn’t sure if he was in or out of the line, so I figured I’d ask to make sure. He proceeds to give me a nasty look saying of course he is, am I blind? So I stand behind him. Then he turns around and belatedly adds, “what are you stupid? No, I’m just hanging out here.”
I’d like to point out he smelled a bit like alcohol. Anyways we get about 6 people away to pay. And he says out loud that he forgot some stuff. He leaves. I’m about two people away and he comes back. And he’s asks if he can cut me. I say “no” as I put my stuff to pay. It felt great! He was rude for no reason. Mind you he was a tall guy and I’m about 5″2 girl.
36. Disreputable Denial
Several years ago, in a meeting at work, the CEO has the entire department in his conference room. He says I should do something concerning our status reports. I said, “NO.” He said, “Yes.” I repeated, “No.” Others began saying, “yes” as well. I said, “It won’t work. The software we have isn’t capable of doing that. I can try, but I know it won’t work.” CEO bent his head down and said quietly, “You will do it; make it work.” I left the meeting.
The department head came to me, said I had big, titanium balls to say “no” to CEO. He asked if it really couldn’t be done. I said it really couldn’t. I don’t think Excel was capable of doing it, and if it can, I have no clue how to do it, at least to where it won’t be a waste of time. I looked it up and felt sweet vindication. It couldn’t be done without wasting too much time that would be better spent on something more constructive. CEO never brought it up again. He’s been a lot nicer to me since then.
37. No Coming Back
My ex showed up at my apartment after dumping me out of the blue. I had moved closer to her to go to school, and she either found someone else in the weeks leading up, or was getting me out of the way to facilitate something. After finally getting a hold of her, I went over to her place, got the books I loaned her, and left.
Skip forward two weeks, I’ve met some people in my apartment, classes are going, and I’m in a good mood. Her birthday was on a Saturday, and before we split, I knew she was throwing a big party. Imagine my surprise when I hear a knock on my door at 11 PM. Thinking it’s my neighbor, I open without checking, and I can’t believe who’s there.
It turns out some Rico Suave-esque dude had been hitting on her during the summer, and once I was out of the picture, she saw how sleazy he really was. I never got the whole story, but something about jumping around to her friends after he planted his flag. She was crying because apparently he’d shown up at her party with another girl, prompting her to come find me for some good old-fashioned sympathy.
I listened to all this with a calm demeanor, and upon her finishing, asked what she expected me to do. She asked if she could come in, and I looked her in the eye and simply said, “nope.” The typical weepy “Why don’t you love me?” ensued, which I cut short, by stepping inside and closing the door behind me.
38. Deflated Ego
This cocky guy actually went, “oh come on, say no all you want, but you know you can’t resist me.” Seeing his face before I walked off was awesome. The guy got around a lot on campus and I guess that’s why he thought that was an awesome line. I have to admit he was drop dead gorgeous and he loved throwing money around, but the cockiness was irritating.
39. Reading the Fine Print
I was working for a startup supplement company. I was never told that I had to work events or shows and it was never listed under any official documents or in my job description. We had a huge show out in California and I noticed in the mid-week meeting my name was on the list of people working there.
Well that weekend, I had plans. I was going to a family party and did not plan on missing it. I told my boss I was not going and that my job only consisted of working in the office and not as marketing or sales like the rest of the people going were. He got mad and told me it was my responsibility to go.
I asked him to show me where in my contract it stated that. Well an hour later and in the HR office, she read my contract to him and then said since I was just a support manager my contract had left that required travel part out and I got to spend the weekend with my family!
40. Unbridled Attempts
That was definitely the MOST satisfying no I’ve ever told. We had a co-worker who only worked one or two shifts a month but was notorious for trying to switch at the last possible moment. I usually got those hours as I was part time and had nothing else to do. My boss loved it when I volunteered to come in, so things were all right.
I booked off several days for a convention 3 hours away and made sure to do it 6 months before I’d have to go. The boss okayed it because it was so far in advance. She scheduled the problem co-worker to take a couple of those days. Up until the day before I had to leave, there wasn’t a problem.
She called me during my last shift before my trip begging me to take her shifts as “something came up.” I told her that I had planned this and paid a lot of money ahead of time that I couldn’t get back. Boss took the call and told her too bad, come in or don’t come back. I went on my trip the next day and everything was good.
Or, I should say that it would’ve been, had the coworker not been calling me constantly wondering where I was. She still thought I could come in for her and even deluded herself into thinking I’d said I would when I clearly said the opposite. This started at 8:30 that morning, when some of the other people in my room were still sleeping, and continued well past noon. In total, she called me I think ten times that day and sent me numerous texts with thousands of question marks and exclamation points asking me where I was.
I told her several times that I was on vacation – as planned! – and that I would not be coming in for her. She finally threatened to tell my boss, so I called her bluff and told her to go ahead, that the boss had okayed me to leave ages ago. I didn’t hear from her for the rest of the day.
Then she called me again on day 2. I lost it. Once again, early in the AM. We were out at the rave the night before and exhausted. Even my mother who’s overbearing knew that she should wait to call me until later during the day when I wouldn’t be a con-zombie. Not this woman. 8 AM she calls me, earlier then the day before. I pick up, groggily answer ‘h’llo?’ only for her to squawk “WHERE ARE YOU? YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TO COVER FOR ME TODAY BECAUSE I HAVE A THING AT BLAH BLAH BLAH THAT I JUST MADE UP–” at the top of her lungs. I was tired, my feet were already hurting, my roommates were giving me the stink eye and I had enough.
“No, I’m not coming in for you. I wasn’t going to yesterday, I never said I was. What I did say was that I was going on a vacation for several days and that I would be 2-3 hours away and therefore unable to cover for anyone. I told you that six months ago and continued to tell you for those entire six months. I told you the day before I left. I told you yesterday. The boss told you; the boss gave me the appropriate time off. I went to bed at three in the morning last night, and so did the five other people now listening to me explain this to you like you are a toddler. You have woken us all up. I have had enough. I am calling the boss. Work your shift.”
I hung up and called the boss who was furious for being woken up on her day off and who had to deal with this woman yet again. She told me she’d handle it and call me back. I didn’t get that call for a good half an hour, so I don’t know how badly she got reamed out for certain. The boss assured me that it was done and that I should enjoy the rest of my vacation without work calls, which I did.
41. Delusional Demand
I live in Seattle. One fall morning in 2010 I was walking from Pike Place Market to my apartment, as I had just gotten my weekly Piroshky Piroshky fix and a cup of coffee. As I am standing at an intersection waiting for the light to change, a woman turned to me, looked at me with a straight face, and said “damn, the *n-word* out here are mean, aren’t they?!” I looked away from her, disgusted, and gave a dismissive and incredibly easy, “No.”
Not 3 seconds pass from my reply to her turning to a tall black man standing to her left who had just lit a cigarette. She asked if she could have one. I heard this, looked at him with my jaw scraping the sidewalk in utter shock at the audacity I had just witnessed. The man looked at me, gave a crooked grin, looked down at her, and gave a stern and somber, “No.”
42. You’ve Got Mail
I worked at an awful private “school” with terrible management, and an even worse boss. I had been planning to take a summer vacation back home with my wife and kid for, oh, about 6 months. I’d gotten my direct supervisor’s approval. I’d gotten a second supervisor’s approval. All of this over email, and all directly CC’ed to the boss. Airlines were booked, stays planned.
A week and a half before takeoff, I get the worst email I could imagine. It’s from the horrible boss saying that my request was “unreasonable” and saying I needed to rearrange/drastically shorten my trip. Fortunately, I had been hating it there for about 9 months at that point – it was, again, an absolute nightmare workplace – and had been interviewing at real schools for some time, and had just landed a new position.
It was extremely satisfying to link him every email approval of the vacation over the past 6 months to multiple supervisors, point out that he’d been CC’ed every single one of them, and tell him that not only was I not going to change my travel plans, but he could consider this correspondence my notice of resignation.
43. Civil Service
My friend and I were at this 24-hour shop around 2 in the morning, and there was a line of about 5 people ahead of us. An ambulance pulled in and the paramedic who was driving looked exhausted. He came up to us at the back of the queue and explained he was in a massive hurry and would we mind if he nipped in front of us just to buy a bottle of water.
We said of course, as did the next couple – until this jerk in a dirty outfit looked at the man with disgust and said, “nah, mate,” and turned his back on him. The paramedic waited, bought the water and sprinted off. There were two or three ahead of us when jerk runs back over to the queue from his friends who I overhear him tell he forgot some sweets or something.
He’s walking toward us in the queue and just, all confidence, says “I just was in the queue mate and forgot something, okay if I …” At which point I had the very great pleasure of saying, “nah, mate.” He mouthed off a bit. I explained my reasoning as to why he was a jerk, and he stormed off – waiting until he was a good 15 foot before screaming that he was going to “knock my head in.”
So, so satisfying.
44. Time to Go
My landlord is trying to sell the house I currently live in, which sucks, but what can I do? Anyways, she tells me that there is going to be an open house from 11 to 3, so I need make the house look spotless and I’m not allowed to be in my own home for 4 hours. I do. I take my family out for a few hours after spending the previous day making the house look spotless. We get back at 3:02 and there are still people there. Alright, whatever, the landlord has never been on time with anything before, I’ll just ask how much longer this will take.
Before I can even ask the realtor lady what’s up, she tells me that I need to leave because she’s not done yet. No sorry for running late, no asking me to bend over even further than I already have, no. She tells me I need to go. So, my response was “That really sucks…. for you.” The look she had, that a mere peasant dare refuses her was priceless. She then repeats to me that there are still people inside so I can’t come in.
That’s when I got really pissed. “Are you seriously telling me that I can’t come into my own home because you are running late with your job?!” She calls my landlord and surprise, surprise, my landlord actually took my side. “Your time is up, it’s his home.”
45. Losing Face
During the last couple years of high school, there was always this guy, we’ll call him Daniel who thought he was the alpha male who could get any girl he wanted. He pretty much went out with every single “popular girl” in the school, and I guess he started to realize he was running out of options on deciding which girl to hurt next.
Everyone knew he was a jerk and they loved hearing juicy stories of how his former girlfriends broke up with him. Daniel knew about all the talk going on behind his back, so he tried to camouflage himself with the other “cliques” of people. That’s when he started talking to me. I was part of the nerd/smarty group, and he thought I was an easy target. He was wrong.
The next day after Daniel tried to convince me he changed, I overheard him talking to an old friend of his about his plan to lure me in just so he could make one of his exes jealous. I got heated, and knew I had to be the one to finally say something to him. As the bell rang indicating that is was time for lunch, I met up with Daniel in the center of the cafeteria.
The moment he was about to ask me out, I made sure everyone he’d hurt was watching, and told him he could go to hell because all he wanted was someone to make him feel more secure. I told him he was the biggest jerk and everyone in that school knew, and he should be ashamed of himself for hurting all those poor girls who thought they were going to actually have a chance at a decent relationship.
His face turned redder than any tomato I’ve seen and he bolted for the door. We didn’t catch wind of him for about a week or so, and when we finally heard what had happened after the incident, the only thing we knew was that he switched to another school to probably put all that embarrassment behind him. Served him right for thinking he could run everything. It was definitely the most satisfying “no” I’ve ever said to anyone.
46. No Need for Explanation
I had a mentor at work who taught me the three most powerful words in the corporate world: I JUST CAN’T. If someone wants you to do something and you want to say no, you tell them you just can’t. Why? Because there is no response to it. If you say you’re too busy, they’ll offer to help prioritize your workload differently. If you say you don’t know how, they’ll show you how to get started. If you just can’t, there’s no excuse for them to counter.
One day he asked me to fill out a survey on what kind of manager he was to set a baseline for a class he was about to take. I hate those. I’m not good at analyzing other people life that and besides, he wasn’t my manager even though he was a higher level than me so we didn’t interact in that way. I struggled with it for a while, then walked into his office, put the blank form on his desk, and said, “I just can’t.” He stammered for a minute, then sighed and said, “Fair enough.”
47. Paid in Full
I had a pizza delivery to this one guy in one of the more bad areas of our delivery zone. The type of area that has constant rude customers, no tippers, no porch light on for the delivery boy at night, etc. This one customer’s order was $15 and change. He told me he didn’t have the change expecting me just to say not to worry about it.
I told him I need the full amount of money in order for him to get the pizza. It felt good to inconvenience him about such a trivial thing. The me from back when I first started would have probably given him the pizza though.
48. She’s All That
When I was about 11 years old, I got bullied pretty bad at school by three guys who were a year older than me. I had braces, glasses, and my ears stuck out a bit so they would wait for me after school to follow me home while insulting me all the way there, calling me ugly, disgusting, dumbo, and shoving me. Fast forward to when I was eighteen. I wore contact lenses, I grew into my ears, and my teeth were fine thanks to braces. I was going to college, did some modelling, and worked as a bartender on weekends.
One night, these three guys came in. They saw me but clearly didn’t recognize me. They kept hovering around the bar and ordering drinks. One of them seemed to get pretty serious. He kept coming to the bar the following weekends and sat there trying to talk to me. One night he stayed until the end of my shift, said he was falling for me, and asked me out.
I said no. I told him my name and what he and his friends did to me. He went pretty pale. I said that I’m not angry about this anymore but that to him, this was just some bullying, but to me it was years of insecurities to work through, and that I’d rather he just stayed out of my life.
49. In Spirit and in Truth
I was engaged to a girl with two kids from a previous marriage. For the four years we were together, I had helped support and raise them, while loving and providing for her mom. They began calling me Dad after the first year, as their bio-father was long since gone. Then she betrayed me in the worst way possible.
She started cheating on me with a guy she met at a friend’s birthday party and she kicked me out when I found out. My protests that on top of me not deserving all this, it was disrupting and hard on my boys were met with the statement, “you’re not now, and never have been they’re real father.”
Fast forward two months, and she’d missed a LOT of work due to long, drunken escapades with her new boy toy. Her boss finally had enough and told her if she didn’t get to her job in 20 minutes, he’d fire her. She calls me up, playing every pity card she knew, even promising reconciliation if I would watch the boys for her that day. Because the three of them “needed” me. I told her “Why? I’m not now, nor have I ever been their father,” and hung up on her. It was very satisfying.