Created By: Pickly on August 4, 2011

Can't Say No

A character that strongly avoids controntation

Name Space:
Page Type:
(Needs a Better Title, Needs a Better Description, Do We Have This)

Alternative titles: The Wishy Washy, Compulsive Confrontation Avoider, Bend Over Backwards Man, The Weak Willed, The Weasel, (any suggestions found in the discussion)

This character cannot stand up to anyone. Constantly changing their position, saying anything they can to keep the other person happy. They might carry on a conversation as normal, but at the slightest hint of displeasure on the other side, they will be changing their tone, and offering something, to keep the other person happy. This sort of person should probably avoid negotiations.

Seen It a Million Times


Live Action TV
  • In [[Coupling]], this is perhaps Steve's primary characteristic. The first episode involves him being unable ot break up with a girlfriend after several attempts, and the remainder of the series often goes from there.

Real Life
  • Often an accusation leveled at politician in various forms. Pandering, flip flopping, wishy washy, the list goes on.
  • The (current YKTTW) trope namer is from a supposed quote by Warren G Harding's father:
    Father: “Warren, it’s a good thing you wasn’t born a gal.”
    Harding: "Why"
    Father: “Because you’d be in the family way all the time. You can’t say No.”
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • August 4, 2011
    Isn't this just Extreme Doormat?
  • August 6, 2011
    Soeems like sort of halfway overlap. (There's a lot of elements described in Extreme doormat that aren't in this idea, as well as the reverse.)
  • February 28, 2012
    Is this Like A Weasel?
  • February 28, 2012
    This seems more a plot point than a character type so maybe doesn't fit Extreme Doormat.

  • February 29, 2012
    You see this a lot as a Compressed Vice for a mildly passive character taken to ridiculous levels for one episode of a sitcom (like the American Dad example above). There's a The Simpsons episode where Marge has to tell Homer no to something (the one where Gil lived with them, I think?) Examples like that make it hard to just lump it as Extreme Doormat.

    Also, there's the song from Oklahoma "I'm just a girl who cain't say no..."
  • February 29, 2012
    Said Simpsons example was in fact to Gil since he was mooching off them for over a year and Marge couldn't bring herself to throw him out (something about due to her sisters bullying her whenever she refused to follow their orders). Ironically just as he finds success and moves out, she stands up to him, her long pent up rage reducing him to wreck in public and costing him his new job, thus repeating the story again.
  • March 1, 2012
    I have a feeling Ella Enchanted is going to be added to the examples at some point as a "literal example".
  • September 27, 2012
    This is in an episode of Neds Declassified School Survival Guide. He offers to help too many people with projects.
  • September 27, 2012
    • Wil from Foster'sHomeforImaginaryFriends cannot say no to a request. An entire episode was based on him trying, and eventually succeeding.
  • September 27, 2012
    Compare Yes Man.
  • February 12, 2013
    (Mostly copied from Grew A Spine.)
    • In one episode of Head Of The Class Jawarhalal (an Indian student) is suddenly well known for agreeing with everyone about everything, including people who disagree with each other. Then the class goes to see Mr. Moore's off-off-off-Broaday post-post-Modern production of Hamlet. Everybody hates it except Jawarhalal, who defends it to everyone. They're so caught up in trying to prove him wrong that until the end of the episode they never ask him why he likes it and don't notice that he's disagreeing with them, counter to his personality. He identifies with Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech, seeing it as parallel to his "Mr. Flip-Flop" personality.
  • February 13, 2013
    Another candidate for the Character Flaw Index. I like.