Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Sketchbook Pages

Are You a YES or a NO (or a Maybe)?

Are You a Yes or No? Ink & watercolor
Are You a YES or a NO? Ink & watercolor in Moleskine 5x7 wc notebook

What if, when you wanted to buy a car, you had to pick from three models,  a YES, a NO, or a MAYBE, depending on which kind of person you were. What if, along with gender, everyone was also designated as a YES or NO, based on their basic approach to life.

I thought of this while I was driving across town with a dear friend (whom I shall call X), and we were talking about things  going on in the world and in our lives. I turned to X, explained the YES/NO concept, and said, “I would be a YES and you’d be a NO, right?”

X said, “um…..Maybe,” which is X’s usual answer for many things. So for X, I added the third category, “Maybe.”

X is someone who will never admit to being happy, as if it would be dangerous to do so. When X rates a movie  on Netflix, or a transaction on eBay, X never gives the the full 5 stars. These things must be doled out carefully.

I’m just the opposite. I see myself as a person of big enthusiasms and gladly give 5 stars; I’m more likely to say I LOVE something than I like it. I love feeling happy and will gladly tell the world when I am.

Of course all this YESness has not always been to my advantage. There were many times in life when I  should have said NO, but didn’t. And maybe I should be more of a MAYBE, more careful, tentative, taking a long time to think things through, rather than jumping right in, throwing caution to the wind. But then I wouldn’t be me.

I wonder if other people see me as a YES. How do you see yourself? Are you a YES, a NO or a Maybe? Do you think your friends and family would agree? Do you think one is better than the other?

17 replies on “Are You a YES or a NO (or a Maybe)?”

Oh, Jana! What a day to ask me this question! I spent an entire afternoon at a stupid meeting, at which nothing was resolved and one woman kept bringing up more and more time-wasting suggestions. So, for this kind of pointless exercise, I’m a definite NO!

But I am essentially optimistic, and a do-my-own-thing sort of girl.

Thanks for the nudge!


Oh yes! When it comes to meetings, I’m definitely a “NO!” Although I have to say the meetings at my office are almost always wonderful because we all enjoy each other so much and everyone is so smart that we actually make progress at them.


Hmm – it’s a really interesting concept – and I think I’d have to put myself down as a definite ‘maybe’ (but that could be because I like blue cars! 😉

Actually I think it’s a product of being a Libran – I’m quite capable of swinging between being positive and negative! It was a great relief to me once when I read an article which suggested that the only thing you can be certain about with a Libran is that the scales will fluctuate up and down a lot before s/he comes to a decision There’s this inbuilt tendency to want to see an issue from all angles before coming to a decision.

Mind you, at my advanced age I do now get strong gut feelings about things which seem to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in a very emphatic way.

Yes – a ‘ definite maybe’ (I think ). No? Huh?


Thanks for the chuckle about the blue cars. One thing I didn’t say in the post is that as a Gemini, I always reserve the right to change my mind. Maybe that’s what makes it easier to pick — I can say I’m a YES, but I can (and often do) change my mind as many times as I want. And Gemini being the twins, I also can see both sides of everything (and often feel just as strongly about both sides). I agree about age. I’ve finally learned to do more of what I want to do and less of the things that I “should” do (but don’t want to!).


Jana – this is a really interesting question. I think I changed from a “no” to a “yes, but…” which may not be as strong as a “maybe” – LOL. But I definitely try to get rid of more “buts” than I am having right now. Does this make sense?
Overall – I am a quite an optimistic person – the negative does not bring you forward at all – therefore optimism is what can change everything – so “YES – WE CAN” – is always the right motto….


Oh yes, those darn buts! Being optimistic is such a blessing and I love YES WE CAN. I tend to see challenges as adventures, and I love solving problems so don’t see obstacles as stumbling blocks but rather things to figure out and find other routes to get where I want to go.


yeah, you’re a yes!

What an interesting question. I think I am mostly a yes, but being the one who really hates dualities I might be a maybe. Just looking at that sentence makes it obvious that I am definitely a maybe! I usually jump in, embrace adventure and am up for the weird, wild and wacky. I’ve also tamed a bit since my outward bound days and think more about consequences than I used to… a function of age, parenthood, learned caution?

Sometimes it just depends on the question. I say yes to many things that others say no to, but no to some things that some people would definitely say yes to…

yes, you can play in the mud.
no, you can’t watch spongebob.
yes, you can paint with your feet.
no, you don’t have to color in the lines.
yes, i will go to brooklyn in spite of all i know
yes, a third child, no not a fourth.
maybe I am just weird! 🙂


Gina, I loved your list and wish I could have had you for a mother! My mother is and was definitely a big NO. Everything was dangerous, best to stay indoors and wash hands frequently. Now I want to go play in the mud and paint with my feet! Or maybe paint my feet with mud?


I’m pretty sure I’m a “yes–but”.

Yes, but. Jana, I went back and looked at one of your pictures where brilliant, warm/cool colors swaddle a dark, still, loosely defined form. I don’t think any single approach would ever trap you. I mean–“lady/tiger” okay, but then “squirrel, ironing board, camel, Lewis&Clark, Titantic, 50% off”.

Aren’t there usually more than one or two alternatives? (Answer yes or no.)

My husband Nick and I once had a big conversation about this. In about 17,000 words, I said something like, “Do you realize we can never, never know the total truth about anything; doesn’t it drive you nuts?” (Now, I was much too old to freak like this.)

He answered in 6 words, “Yes, but it doesn’t bother me.” Brilliant man. It’s almost always okay to disregard yes/no if you feel like it. Ask a dog or a baby.


Great discussion and questions. I’m a definite yes, with occasional maybe and no. Just like we are right brained or left brained. We’re WHOLE BRAINED. We gain artistic ability for instance, not by inborn traits, but by practice. I think the more important question is whether it matters or not–what difference does it make. Is it going to change your life or change your abilities to do anything, or contribute to society, in part or as a whole.


Thanks Merle, I like the way you put that. That we don’t have to pick one side, but can be whole by having balance. I say YES to balance, YES to whole brains (though these days I feel more half-brained than right, left or whole-brained!), YES to practice, and YES to making a difference!


Hmmm, so would that be a vote for “Maybe” or “Other” as in “none of the above”? I wonder what that would be…if it’s not yes, no or maybe, but “Other” … my brain gets stuck trying to figure that out. I’ve always felt a bit other, myself. Maybe all artists do?


That’s so interesting that your dad called you the No. What parents say to
their kids can be so powerful and yet most parents probably don’t have a
clue how their words can impact who their kids become. My dad used to tell
me I was going to be a fat lady when I grew up. What was he thinking? And he
said the only thing consistent about me was my inconsistency (he was right
with the second comment, but fortunately not the first.)


What a fun post, Jana! You are a YES, I’m sure. I think a lot of our artists seem to be a YES. MAYBE SO is often my middle name, but maybe so I can be a YES quite a bit. 🙂


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