Q&A Wednesday: Why is it so hard for women to say NO?


This week, we are dealing with women’s tendency to overcommit.  So, we asked transformational coach and COO of Karlawithakay.com, Farah Belliard:

Why is it so hard for women to say NO?

Farah Belliard“There’s no easy answer to this question, because it really differs from culture to culture. What I can say is that in the patriarchal society that we live in, women are taught from the time that they are little that “good girls’ are agreeable and always ready to please. 

In men assertiveness is viewed as a strength, a measure of character. In women, however, any behavior that is NOT agreeable and placating is labeled “aggressive”, “bitchy”, or “mean”, and many women still subscribe to this societal view, even when they outwardly disagree with it. Of course, it takes form in more subtle ways: taking on more projects than we can reasonably accomplish, committing to going out with girlfriends even though we would rather stay in, and being passive in our relationships, both psychologically and sexually.

The first thing to understand is that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG with wanting to please everyone. It’s a behavior that is so ingrained in us that it’s a hard habit to kick, so cut yourself some slack. Also, realize that your girlfriends probably suffer from this EXACT same affliction, and this discovery could be the opening for a very honest conversation about what is really going on in your life, and what you’re able to commit to in reality without stretching yourself thin.

The same thing applies in relationships. Understand that if you aren’t being totally honest about what you are capable of doing, you are not only setting yourself up for failure but you’re creating unrealistic expectations that will eventually leave your partner disenchanted and disappointed. They don’t deserve that, and neither do you.

Learn to LOVE the word NO.  Keep in mind that saying NO is not only freeing for you, but it is also considerate of the person who is asking, allowing them to ask the next person… who may very well be COMPLETELY able to follow through and deliver to perfection. 

Who knew that NO could be a win-win situation?”


Farah Belliard is a multi-potentialate, multi-passionate entrepreneur, transformational coach, virtual assistant, and proud KWAK team member.



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