MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Fri 08-Jan-16 13:44:13

Guest post: "I don't give a f**k - and neither should you"

Sarah Knight, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, extols the virtues of caring less

Sarah Knight


Posted on: Fri 08-Jan-16 13:44:13


Lead photo

"Hot yoga? Don't give a downward fuck."

I was a born fuck-giver. Maybe you were too.

As a self-described overachieving perfectionist, I gave my fucks liberally all throughout my childhood and adolescence in order to prove myself worthy of respect and admiration from my family, friends, and even casual acquaintances. I socialised with people I did not like in order to appear benevolent; I performed jobs that were beneath me in order to appear helpful; I ate things that disgusted me in order to appear gracious. In short, I gave way too many fucks for far, far too long.

The tide started to turn ever so slightly when I started planning my wedding - an act that demands a veritable cornucopia of fucks given: the budget, the venue, the catering, the invitations (wording and thickness thereof), the vows - the list goes on. But you know what I never gave a fuck about? Seating charts.

In deciding that all of my guests were grown adults who didn't need my help in choosing a seat, I had eliminated hours - perhaps a dozen or more - of moving aunts, uncles, and plus-ones around like beads on a goddamn abacus. Instead of putting that feeling of obligation ahead of my own personal preference, I'd just decided to let people land where they may. And did anyone complain? They did not.

Little by little, I stopped giving a fuck about small things that annoyed me. I turned down after-work drinks. I unfriended some truly irritating people on Facebook. I refused to suffer through another reading of friends' plays. And little by little, I started feeling better. Less burdened. More peaceful.

Brings you happiness? By all means, keep giving a fuck. But perhaps the more pertinent questions is: Does it annoy? If so, you need to stop giving a fuck, post-haste.

Soon, I realised I had my own insights to share with regard to life-changing magic. Brings you happiness? By all means, keep giving a fuck. But perhaps the more pertinent questions is: Does it annoy? If so, you need to stop giving a fuck, post-haste.

I have developed a programme for decluttering and reorganising your mental space. You will no longer spend time, energy and/or money on things that neither make you happy nor improve your life, so that you have more time, energy and/or money to devote to the things that do. I call it the NotSorry Method. It has two steps:

1. Decide what you don't give a fuck about
2. Don't give a fuck about those things

Not Sorry is how you should feel when you've accomplished this.

If the NotSorry method unlocks the door to life-changing magic, not giving a fuck about what other people think is how you get on the property in the first place.

When it comes to how your fuck-giving affects other people, all you can control is your behaviour with regard to their feelings, not their opinions. While you should, of course, continue to give a fuck about what other people think as it pertains to their feelings, you don't have to give a fuck about what other people think when it comes to their opinions. As humans, we have every right to politely disagree with or not share someone else's opinion. It's not hurting anybody and it's entirely defensible.

Take the pub quiz problem. I have a group of friends who love pub quizzes; they kept asking me to join them, and I kept making lame excuses not to go. Once I embraced NotSorry, I just said "You know what? I really don't like pub quizzes, so my answer to this is always going to be no. I should probably just tell you that now and save us all the Kabuki theatre of invitation and regrets." It worked like a charm.

Now that my friends know the truth, I feel liberated with a capital L. I was honest and polite, and nobody's feelings got hurt, so I didn't have to apologise. I was quite literally not sorry. Plus – major win – I didn't have to go to the pub quiz.

Want an idea of how NotSorry could improve your life? Take a minute to think of all the things that you currently feel pressured to give a fuck about. These could include, but are not limited to: matching your belt to your handbag, LinkedIn, eating local, hot yoga, paleo, Jeremy Corbyn, the ballet, hashtags, other people's children, understanding China's economy, #catsofinstagram, your father's new wife, and/or Glastonbury.

Feeling a tad ill? Jittery, nauseous, anxious? Pissed off?

Now visualise how happy and carefree you would be if you stopped giving all those fucks.

Hot yoga? Don't give a downward fuck.
Paleo? Fucks not found.
And #catsofinstagram? Sorry, you're all outta fucks, meow.

The moment you decide to stop giving a fuck is the moment you start living your best life.

This is an edited extract from The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k.

By Sarah Knight

Twitter: @MCSnugz

gandalf456 Fri 08-Jan-16 16:13:47

I'm sure I read a similar article in the Guardian the other week

GeoffreysGoat Fri 08-Jan-16 16:16:10

Hurrah! Love this! I had a whole wedding like that - we treated people as the adults they are, and started from the assumption that they wanted us to be happy so would do as asked without being orderedfrom pillar to post. Result? Relaxed, happy day with a few minor hiccoughs that, you guessed it, I didn't give a fuck about 😁

SfaOkaySuperFurryAnimals Fri 08-Jan-16 16:16:25

Amen to all of the above, I can honestly say I am not sorry and don't give a f**k about the 5 mins of my life I will never get back for reading that guest post, it was worth every second...heres a biscuit for those people who interrupt my flowgrin

SfaOkaySuperFurryAnimals Fri 08-Jan-16 16:17:27

Same here Geoff, good for you.....

gandalf456 Fri 08-Jan-16 16:19:36

Ah, yes, here it is. Same author. I was wondering why it rung a bell:

M48294Y Fri 08-Jan-16 16:36:27

I'm sure we had a thread on here, too, from someone saying how could she tell her friend she would never want to go to a pub quiz with them. But I cba to search for it.


DoctorTwo Fri 08-Jan-16 17:08:01

This is the field where I grow my fucks. Feast thine eyes upon it and see that it is barren grin

Obs2016 Fri 08-Jan-16 17:30:24

I do agree with the pub quiz thing.
I was on a thread the other day when a girl in the street kept asking OP's dd to come and play. But due to mild fob off's the girl kept coming back. I suggested that she politely told her she didn't really want to. Why lie? White lies? I don't do white lies. Why not politely be honest?

sugar21 Fri 08-Jan-16 18:39:08

I didn't give a fuck before I read this thread and I don't give a flying fuck about a guardian column, so I shall just fuck off

DurhamDurham Fri 08-Jan-16 18:41:31

What jobs did you do that were 'beneath you' ?

Frusso Fri 08-Jan-16 19:29:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

possiblefutures Fri 08-Jan-16 20:03:42

I'm sure I read a similar article in the Guardian the other week

Yes, verbatim. Wasn't any more thought-provoking or insightful then.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 08-Jan-16 20:09:19

I'm not impressed by swearing. I am not interested in reading the article.

Theknacktoflying Fri 08-Jan-16 20:18:51

'overachieving perfectionist' obviously doesn't stretch to expanding a vocabulary or distinguishing between the banal and the important things ...

MumsTheWordYouKnow Fri 08-Jan-16 21:24:26

Theknacktoflying exactly. She seems to put everything in the same category and makes it sound like we shouldn't care about anything or anyone at all. I particularly puked in my hand at her saying she socialised with people to seem benevolent even though she didn't like them, she seems to miss the point that that is not being benevolent, but her being fake. Also she did jobs 'beneath her' to 'appear helpful', obviously she isn't actually helpful, but an arse licker using that to get what she wants.

It all sounds rather like she has a problem with being genuine and she can't distinguish between being nice to 'appear nice' and actually being nice.

CockwombleJeff Fri 08-Jan-16 22:36:31

Not fond of the swearing.

Bit of a tacky article really .

Something a teen might write really.

YouthHostellingWithChrisEubank Fri 08-Jan-16 23:06:12

I quite enjoy swearing but this just feels really gratuitous, as if the author is trying to shock us with how au fait she is with the word "fuck". It's needlessly aggressive, really. There is a middle ground between feeling obliged to do something and saying "I don't give a fuck about that."

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 08-Jan-16 23:20:46

It is quite irritating that it is on the top of every thread.

Duckdeamon Fri 08-Jan-16 23:27:59

Somehow don't think the author will give a fuck about opinions smile

OydNeverDeclinesGin Sat 09-Jan-16 01:58:22

Tedious and rather boring article.

I'm sure you don't give a fuck.

That's all really grin

FreddoFrog Sat 09-Jan-16 04:20:58

Overuse of the word fuck. It just came across as really aggressive. Agree with pp that it reads like something a teenager would write.

Did you really get a whole book out of this not-new idea? We used to call it SEP at school - Someone Else's Problem.

Mummystar123 Sat 09-Jan-16 09:59:19

Very aggressively written. There are better ways this could have been put across without all the unnecessary swearing and I say fuck a lot, so that speaks volumes, however if you bypass the aggression the point he makes is rather good!

BoxofSnails Sat 09-Jan-16 10:38:41

It's a pretty terrible article the first time round.
Any value in the point she makes is lost in the look-how-cool-I-am swearing.
And since when we're guardian articles with the swearing left in Mumsnet guest posts??

BrandNewAndImproved Sat 09-Jan-16 11:03:11

Meh, the fuck it way sounds exactly the same apart from its been around for at least ten years. I'm sure there are loads of variations this isn't something new.

Fuck it

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