I have a big problem. I don’t know how to say no. When people ask me to do something for them, my response is always yes. No problem. I volunteer for things all the time because I feel bad saying no. Then I end up getting overwhelmed and I stress myself out trying to get everything done.
Want to help make something? Sure.
Can you be a part of the PTA board? No problem.
We don’t have a room parent, can you do it? Ok.
The team needs someone to coordinate fundraisers. I’ll do it.
Can you babysit even though you have baseball tournaments all weekend plus projects to help with for school? Sure.
It’s an ongoing problem. When I turned 40, my wise friend told me that I no longer have to say yes to everything and I can say no without feeling guilty about it because I’m older now and just don’t have to anymore. Yet, here I am, at the ripe age of 41 still saying “yes” to things left and right!
Do you find yourself constantly saying yes to requests that are made of you? Are you burned out by constantly saying yes, but not sure how to say no?
Here are 5 tips that will help you say no without the guilt:
Be direct. Saying no may be difficult when you first start, but the more direct you are about it, the easier it will become. Don’t give random excuses. Those little white lies are helping no one, not even yourself (even if it feels like it at the moment). You may think that having an excuse is an easy way to say no to a request, but what it really does is confuse the issue. The person asking will assume that you simply can’t right now, but they will continue to ask. If you are asked to do something that you don’t want to do, try this: Say “No, I can’t.” That’s it. No further explanation necessary. No apologies, no excuses, no reasons why, just no. Besides, lying will often make you feel even more guilty.
Be nice about it. Just because you are saying no, doesn’t mean that you are not being nice. This is the hardest one for me. I feel like I’m being mean by saying no. In order to make sure that is how it comes off if you are asked to do something that you want to say no to, be sure to say “No, but thanks for asking.” You don’t want someone thinking that you are unkind. No need in risking friendships or relationships over it, so don’t forget to be nice.
Know your value. Your self-worth does not have anything to do with how much you do or do not do for others. You don’t have to constantly go out of your way helping others out in order to be a good person. Saying yes all the time when you really want to say no sometimes is exhausting and it is a great way to wear yourself down. Know the value of yourself and your time so that you feel more confident about how you use your time.
Know that saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Just because you don’t have the time, energy or desire to say yes all the time does not mean you are a bad person. It means that you are human.
Be willing to say yes sometimes. Being able to say no when you want is not the same as not being willing to say yes sometimes. It feels good to help people. If you always said no, you really wouldn’t feel very good about that. And in reality, most of us want others to be able to count on us when it matters, we simply don’t want to be taken advantage of.
Now get on out there and say NO without the guilt!
Although to be honest, I still feel a little guilty…