Advice Life

The hard pass

July 27, 2019

It’s been a while since my last posts. The last few months have been interesting. My business has kept me busy. My training at the gym has kicked up several notches (more on that in another post, perhaps), and I’ve done some self-reinvention.

It seems that every couple years, I undergo some sort of transformation – sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s more emotional. Sometimes it involves me moving. Buying an RV to travel and live in. Finding a new goal to commit to. But always… always, it involves growth.

My most recent transformation has been the adoption of an attitude I’m going to call “The hard pass.”

A “hard pass” as an adamant, strong, NO. It’s not a “no thanks.” It’s not a “Maybe next time.” It’s not a “I’d like to but I’m washing my hair tonight.” It’s not a “sorry babe, I have a headache.” It’s not a “let me think about that and get back to you.”

No. The hard pass is a NO. It’s a strong, uncompromising NO. It’s the kind of NO that gives others the impression there is absolutely zero chance your “no” actually meant “maybe.” It’s a no. There is no need to ask again.

The hard pass is also beautifully unapologetic. It’s not followed by an excuse or blanketing statements designed to keep the recipient of your hard pass from getting their feelings hurt. It’s not a “No, I can’t come out for drinks tonight, but if I could, I would!”

The hard pass is not a NO followed up by a made up excuse designed to spare the recipient’s ego. It’s no a “no, please don’t buy me a drink, I have a boyfriend” when he truth is you’re a single as they come but aren’t interested in the random Joe who approached you at the bar. It’s just simply a NO.

The hard pass is realizing that you are completely, 100% entitled to say NO without smiling, or apologizing, or feeling bad.

The hard pass is staring at someone blankly after you’ve said NO and they follow up with “why?” or “how come?” Those questions have already been answered. The answer to “why?” is “because I said ‘no'” and the answer to “how come?” is “because I said ‘no'”

In this way, the hard pass does double duty. It serves as both your answer and your reason.

No, because No.

The concept of the hard pass is a powerful one. Women, especially, struggle with this. We feel as if we have to make excuses, go out of our way to not hurt people’s feelings, or feel bad when we say no. Or, more often, we go along with things we don’t want because we tell ourselves it’s better than the discomfort associated with telling someone no.

That’s where the hard pass is a game changer. It removes any follow-up to your “NO,” completely. It removes the obligation to tap dance or apologize. It removes fretting over “what if he says this” or “what do I say when she asks ‘why?'” It’s a bold, end-of-story response that allows you to turn someone down in a way that actually leaves you feeling good.

For me, my hard passes have mostly involved the people I surround myself with. For my whole life, I’ve felt this obligation to befriend or care for people whose lives are fucking disasters. I’ve dropped everything to be the nurse for people who make bad decisions and then need a shoulder to cry on, over and over, every time they make the same, terrible choices. It’s part of this deep need to…. I don’t know… heal the world.

But here’s the truth: I am not the world’s savior. My name is Jessica, not Jesus. Everyone else’s problems are not my problems. I am not obligated to help everyone I meet pick up the pieces of their lives – especially people who really contribute nothing good back into mine.

So my hard passes have been associated with who I choose to spend my time with.

No more romances with broken, incomplete men. No more “friendships” with selfish, fair-weather friends. No more. It’s a hard pass for me.

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