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How To Say ‘Yes’ (By Not Saying ‘Yes’)

When was the last time you said “yes”? Not in the figurative way—consenting to a request, acknowledging something delightful, embracing a generally optimistic outlook toward the world—but in the extremely specific way? When was the last time you reacted to something not with a “yeah,” or an “mm-hmm,” or an “oooooh,” or a “definitely,” but with a blunt, mono-syllabic—and out-loud—“yes”?

I can’t remember the last time I did. Possibly that's a sign that I’m a negative person whose glass is always half-dry and who literally just can't, but it’s probably also the result of a more general phenomenon: At this point, the scenarios in which anyone would actually say—or actually type—“yes” are increasingly scarce. When you’re filling out a tax form, and indicating whether or not you have your W-2 on-hand? Sure, yes. When you’re seated in an exit row on an airplane, and must aurally confirm your willingness to assist in an emergency? Yes. When you’re writing a thing on the Internet, and listing some of the remaining uses of the word “yes”? Yes.

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