As women, we often feel societal pressure to be agreeable. When someone asks us to do something, we feel guilty if we turn them down. Helping people out is nice, sure—but what about when it gets in the way of self-care? Learning to say no can be difficult, but I did it, and it changed my love life, my career—but most of all, it changed my Subway order. Here’s how.
First, a little background: I go to Subway every day for lunch. And, every day, the cashier asks me: “Cheese? Pickles? Anything else?”
Until recently, I always said yes. Did I want anything else? No. But it is hard-wired into women’s brains to say yes. I knew that if I said no, I’d feel guilty, like I was letting the cashier down. So I’d say “yes” to every single sandwich topping, and grab a bag of chips or a soda.
Listen up, men—that’s what it’s like to be a woman. It’s chips or soda or a bunch of red onions that you don’t really want.
The craziest part? I’m not alone. Studies show that nearly 80% of women have felt pressured into getting their sandwich toasted when really they would have preferred a room-temperature, less crisp sandwich. And while I can’t accompany all 80% to Subway and say no for them—though, believe me, I would if I could, I love Subway—I hope I can inspire at least a few of them.
So, how did I do it? Well, put simply, I woke up. There I was, clutching my ham and cheese, when the man in front of me approached the register.
“Anything else?” said the cashier.
Boom. That was when I realized: If I were a man, I wouldn’t say “yes”—in fact, I wouldn’t even have to think about it. I’d just say no. I’d just…say…
I looked up. There it was, the same question I’d been asked so many times before. I looked the cashier dead in the eyes and braced myself.
Relief swept over me. Tears sprang unbidden to my eyes. As I handed over my debit card, the world seemed full of possibilities.
But you know what? I was the only one for whom this was a revolutionary moment. The cashier, the other customers, even the people preparing the sandwiches remained unfazed. And maybe that’s the biggest lesson of all—the world won’t stop turning if you turn down a bag of Lays. Even if they’re baked Lays.
So do yourself a favor, ladies, and practice saying no. You might find yourself a whole lot more self-worth and a whole lot less money spent at America’s favorite sandwich chain.