Yes, And

3 min read

Our Story

It is easy to say NO and dismiss ideas. While saying YES and building on top of an idea requires being mindful.

A few months into our relationship we found ourselves using more of a “No, Because” and “Okay, Whatever” communication style instead of “Yes, And.”

When one of us shared an idea and the other responded with either “no, I don’t think it’ll work, because it has these flaws” or “sure if that’s what you want.” These kinds of responses slowly chipped away at our confidence to share ideas and created feelings of detachment.

The approach of criticizing first closed more doors than they opened. After a Conscious Coupling session, we discussed that we needed to pivot to an acknowledge first approach.

We now try to rephrase our responses and refrain from using the word “No”. By acknowledging and stacking on top of each other’s responses, we share the responsibility of the idea equally. This keeps us both accountable and ensures our ideas are inclusive of both opinions.

In Safer Space, we talk about how communication is crucial to building a healthier relationship. The first step is listening. Build trust with your partner that you are listening, by acknowledging their ideas first. Adding to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree, makes the other feel heard.

Exercise: Plan an adventure

This activity requires role-playing to plan your next adventure. 

Bounce ideas off of each other and go through the rounds below. One partner provides the idea and the other responds with different styles. Reflect on your feelings after the exchange. 

Round 1 – Use a “No, Because” style, dismissing the idea

Me: Wanna go shopping this weekend?

You: No, I’m busy.

Me: I shouldn’t have asked.

Round 2 – Use an “Okay, Whatever” style, detaching yourself from the outcome

Me: Wanna go shopping this weekend?

You: Okay, let me know the plan.

Me: Ok I'll take care of it.

Round 3 – Use a “Yes, And” style, acknowledging the idea and building on top

Me: Wanna go shopping this weekend?

You: Yes, let's go to the outlets; I heard of a sale there.

Me: Yes! And let's get ice cream on the way.

Responding with “No” can be a habit, which dismisses the other partner’s idea even if we didn’t intend it. To build a healthier relationship, It takes courage to change that default to a “Yes, And.”

4 thoughts on “Yes, And

  1. Akanksha June 3, 2022 / 3:38 pm

    How do you say yes to something that you would absolutely hate doing!? Could you provide some examples?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ansh Bahri June 5, 2022 / 7:47 pm

      The philosophy of Yes, And, begins by acknowledging your partners bid, even when it is something you would absolutely hate doing.

      When you say “Yes”, you are merely acknowledging the request, NOT accepting it. Then when you say “And”, you are building on top of that and sharing what you would rather prefer instead.

      We are all unique with our individual boundaries, likes and dislikes. Knowing the intention why your partner is asking you to do something that you absolutely hate is important. Are they aware that you hate it? Have you told them what you would rather do instead? Try out the Sharing vs Sacrificing activity session to see if you can find an alternative or mid-way solution.

      Here’s a story that I can think of from our past.

      Previously in a “No, Because” style we would have interactions like

      R: Can I buy you some new clothes?
      A: No, thanks. I already have a lot that I don’t wear. (I am always afraid of having too many options to pick from)
      R: All your clothes are old and you will look nice in some new clothes.

      After trying to adopt a “Yes, And” style, this is how the same interaction went

      R: Can I buy you some new clothes?
      A: Yes, can we start with only a single shirt though. I like to keep a minimalistic wardrobe for myself. (It was very difficult for me to say Yes right away, as I absolutely hate buying new clothes when I already have enough options. I still pushed against my boundary in a baby step to try to build on top instead of demolishing the suggestion proposed by my partner)
      A: And, can we donate an old one. I already have a lot that I don’t wear. (As I am afraid of having too many options to choose from)
      R: Yes. That’s great. I’ll find you some options and you can decide what you like the best from those. And if you like more, you can keep them too.


  2. David May 1, 2022 / 2:25 pm

    I like this one – agreeing on what to do is something I have trouble with sometimes. Its important for me that when I do something I love with somebody love I’m not dragging that person into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ansh Bahri May 2, 2022 / 9:06 pm

      Yes, it can be challenging And specially more so when you are in a comfortable space with someone you love.
      This is why we try to use “Yes, And” to build together.


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