The nope card

I gave my brother-in-law a new game on the market called Exploding Kittens. In order to win, one must avoid being blown up and be the last person standing. If the player before you lays down an action card that operates to your detriment you are in trouble unless you are in possession of the delightfully-named nope card. The nope card is a flat refusal to act as instructed. It renders ineffectual the action of the presented request and you are free to continue your turn.

I feel it would be useful to have a nope card in life – a totally accepted way to say no thank you, to negate unpleasant circumstances, to gain another chance. No, I am not able to help. No, I won’t accept that. No, this is not the end of the line.

Saying no in our society can be difficult if you are the sort of person that doesn’t like to let others down. There are times, however, when financial, physical, temporal or emotional resources will not allow further involvement or output and an elegant and graceful no will be required. In the absence of a nope card, we must find the strength to say that for ourselves.

In an old episode of the TV series Friends, Phoebe Buffay is asked whether she will help Ross Geller move house. She delivers the wonderful response ‘I’d love to, but I don’t want to.’ It is elegant and is amusing enough to cause no offence. She does not beat herself up about letting Ross down. She has made an honest appraisal and come up with a perfect answer to the question.

The concept of self-care and self-protection is gaining traction. Being able to say no when the affirmative would result in negative impacts on one’s physical and mental health is becoming more acceptable. So, arm yourself with a nope card. It’s nothing personal. It’s just a card.

Until later,


2 thoughts on “The nope card

  1. I love this reflection, as I do all of your reflections Kirsten. This one is perfect for the start of 2020. Wishing you and Sandy a very Happy New Year

    Thanks Anne Turnbull



  2. Your brother in law is so lucky to receive the Exploding Kittens and nope card from ya! He probably caught on much quicker, than I did to the concept, which at first left me baffled a bit and awkward too …

    the Navajo they have a cultural way like the nope card;

    it’s hard

    to discard

    and harder still to ignore

    if your living “on the Navajo”, their Reservation, where you’ll find it in store:

    it’s what I’d describe from living there a while,

    as the third answer option, which adds a certain style

    to conversation

    not known in the general American or Aussie nation

    way of interacting;

    we’ve always been contracting

    the meanings from answers ‘yes’ and ‘no’

    as though,

    they were the only options, the only go

    to thing –

    well kapoof and BING!

    On the Navajo

    the word for yes is aoo’, which is said like oat without the t

    and they have no, just like we



    but also they have the option of no reply,

    no look in the eye,

    and it’s just part of things, without a reasoning why:

    and if you don’t get this, in effect,

    you operate as culturally inept !

    this third option, the nope like card, makes it hard

    to discard

    the likelihood of deep reflection

    that begets better connection –

    that someone has put this in exploding kittens

    has me tickled, because now more will be ‘smittens’,

    those infected with this more loving way of existing

    and resisting

    the commonplace urge

    to purge

    of deeper, slower thought,

    that often saves from all coming to naught


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