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How To Say No, For The People Pleaser Who Always Says Yes

Know when you can safely say "no"

  • Over one week, observe how you spend your time and energy. Keep note of how many times you say yes, no, or maybe to a request. Notice and record how each request made you feel.
  • Identify the times you say no and everything still works out fine. This will help you to know how you can respond in the future.
  • The requests that caused you anxiety: Ask yourself what the baggage behind it is. Does it remind you of old hurts and loss? The habit can also be a survival tactic to repress who you are.

Once you know where you can safely say no, try cutting back on saying yes.

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Josh Billings

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”

Josh Billings
The Awkward Pause

Use awkward pauses as a tool to say no. When a request comes to you (this works only in person), just pause for a moment. Count to three before delivering your verdict.

The Soft "No" ("No, But")

E-mail is also a good way to start practicing saying "no but" because it gives you the chance to draft and redraft your "no" to make it as graceful as possible. Plus, many people find that the distance of e-mail reduces the fear of awkwardness.

Being “too nice” can cause you problems
Being “too nice” can cause you problems

You're asked to do something, and you feel you should say no. However, if you say no, you'll be resented, so you are tempted to say yes. If you say yes, you're going to be frustrated wi...

Saying NO without guilt
  • Notice how often people around you say no to each other every day. Also watch how others handle these situations.
  • When you feel pressured for a yes, ask for time. It will allow you to calm down and evaluate whether you really want to do it ( "I need to check my calendar; I'll get back to you"/ "I've got to think about that; I'll let you know.")
  • Saying no comfortably requires you to think what your values are. When you live by clear principles, it's easier to make decisions. People are more likely to respect your responses.
  • Keep telling them that you can't help them. Then stay on repeat, even if they bring new angles of reasoning.
  • When you want to help but can't commit to the specifics, make a counteroffer. You can offer someone a different resource or the name of someone else who might help.
Remote Employees
Remote Employees

It’s hard to figure out for managers what kind of people make the best, most productive remote employees.

Optimism is the quality to look for, while the trait to avoid is people-pleasin...

Optimists

Self-motivation is a great quality for remote workers, as they are at home, only accessible through email or through video conferencing to the manager.

High levels of enthusiasm, a positive approach and choice of words provide clues to the manager if someone has an optimistic frame of mind.

People Pleasers

If a manager is getting to hear only what is pleasant to hear, at all times, it can be a cause for concern. Remote employees must be willing to say things that aren’t going right, and most of the time, there are many such things. If they can disagree with you, it’s a good sign.

Also, if an employee is going out of the way to be liked by colleagues, and wastes a lot of time and mental energy on it, he/she is probably a people pleaser.