Published on 6 December 2021 at 09:00

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No is a complete sentence. But for a lot of us, it’s the hardest word and phrase to speak. Today, we’re going to uncover the secret behind saying no and why we are more inclined to say “yes” even when we don’t want to. 


When your friend asks for a favor, your boss asks you to work an extra shift, or your family wants you to come over for a last minute dinner, your knee-jerk reaction might be to just say “yes”. You might say yes to these things even if you don’t want to do them. 


Why do we do this to ourselves? On the subconscious level, we as humans have an urge to stay connected to others (yes, even you who claims to be an introvert crave human attention even at a smaller scale). It’s because of this need for connection that we often find ourselves being inserted into things we don’t want to do. 


Another reason we say “yes” when we want to say “no” is because saying no is difficult, and sometimes more difficult when dealing with people who feel as though they are “owed” something from you. We don’t want to upset them, or make them feel like they aren’t important. But, what are we doing to ourselves when we say “yes” to all of the things we don’t want to do?


Every single time you say “yes” to one thing that you could go without doing, you’re saying “no” to yourself. Always pay yourself first. For example, if you had made plans to yourself that you were going to stay in on Friday night with your partner and watch movies but your friend calls and needs an emergency last minute babysitter, you’re probably going to say yes because it’s your best friend and she needs help, right? 


You’ve just said no to your self-care, your movie night, your relationship, your own mental health. 


Later on in this post, I’ll share 5 ways you can say no without feeling guilty, which is part of our Setting Healthy Boundaries Workbook. In this post you can also grab a discounted copy of our workbook “The Power Of No.” For now, let’s look at some instances when you absolutely MUST say no:


Say No When:

  • You are stressed out or overwhelmed
  • You’re tired or sick
  • You’re already doing too much.

The people around you should respect that you are setting your boundaries, and if they don’t it might be time to evaluate their company in your immediate circle. Are you letting them take advantage of you? Do you feel like you owe them something? Once you dive deep into these two questions, you’ll start to recognize where you’ve been made to feel as though your presence in someone’s life is a blessing only for them. 


So, we just defined why we say yes when we want to say no, when we should say no, but HOW do we do that? Here’s 5 ways to say no without feeling guilty. 


  1. For dealing with people who keep taking advantage of you and asking you to do favors for them: “I’m too busy to do that right now, but I can show you how to do it yourself.”
  2. For when you’re too busy: “I’d love to help but I’m focusing on…… right now.” or “I don’t have time for anything else except…..right now.”
  3. For handling other people’s non-urgent problems and issues that you don’t want to deal with right now: “Work is really busy this month. Can it wait until next week or next month?”
  4. When you’re not sure how to reply, you need some time to prepare an answer or need time to consider something: “I’m in the middle of doing work / a meeting right now. Can I let you know once I’ve checked my schedule later?”
  5. “No, but thanks for considering or thinking of me regarding this.”


You don't owe anybody your time, your value, your worth, or your mental health. Start saying no to things that don’t serve you or things that drain you of your energy. 


Grab our “Power Of No” Workbook Here!

Or, grab our “Setting Healthy Boundaries” workbook by contacting us Here!

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