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

Understand your bandwidth

Try to document your energy level and your calendar. How much did you have to do? Did saying yes to too many things mean your days were too busy?

Next time someone makes a request, assess your time and energy before taking on more tasks.

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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.
Ways to Say No
  • The Indirect “No."Say no without feeling uncomfortable by explaining the reasons why you can't.
  • The “Let me get back to you.”Buy yourself time to think...