3 Signs You Need to Learn to Say ‘No’

Do you ever wish you could just put your foot down and say “no” to your boss, your partner, your children? Many of us are so afraid of conflict — or of others being critical of us — that we avoid the battle that might come with doing so at all costs. 

We’re also driven by a desire to be liked by our peers. Whether male or female, child or adult, going against the grain and saying “no” causes us to feel a bit more vulnerable than we’d like. So, we learn to say “yes” — a bit too often.

Think you struggle with this? Here are six telltale signs you need to learn to stand your ground and say “no.”

1. You overcommit.

The holidays come around and you find that your schedule fills up with parties, gift exchanges and other commitments in a matter of hours. Saving space for yourself isn’t your strength and you’re known for trying to do it all. Sound familiar? Time to learn to say no.

2. You can’t bear to disappoint.

Your buddy invites you out for a drink, but you’ve got a huge work project due the next morning. That work can’t wait, but you go out anyways, because disappointing a friend would be too much. If you give in so that someone else won’t be (read: mildly) disappointed, you might need to learn to say ‘no.’

3. You want to impress (a little too much).

So, you’ve started a new job. You walk in on your first day ready to get out there and shine. Before you know it, you’re swamped, taking on every little project that might make you “stand out” for half a moment — going on errands, taking on extra work. If wanting to stand out as unique and capable is your primary motive, learning to say no could be an antidote to the overwhelm.

Does any of this sound like you? Fortunately, there are many techniques you can employ to help you get better at saying “no.” Here are a few:

  • Start saying no in small, unimportant situations. For example, choosing not to make a spontaneous purchase or turning down an extra helping of something you genuinely don’t want to eat.
  • Give yourself more space before you say “yes.” Don’t let saying “yes” be your knee-jerk reaction to every decision. Take a moment to pause and breathe — assess — then make your choice.
  • Don’t give in to peer pressure. Just because “everyone else” is doing something doesn’t mean you have to. Truth is, “everyone else” probably isn’t.
  • Assess the fallout if you say “no.” Will it really matter? Will the other party brush it off and move on? Find another solution? How important is it that you say “yes” in this decision? Likely, not very important.
  • Accept that “Let me think about it” is also an appropriate response. You are under no obligation to respond immediately.

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51 comments

Leo C
Leo Custer2 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Lesa D
Lesa D2 days ago

thank you Lauren...

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Amparo Fabiana C

Very nice, I'll apply it. Thanks.

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Leo C
Leo Custer4 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 days ago

Thanks.

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Danuta W
Danuta W4 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Mike R
Mike R4 days ago

Thanks

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Jeff I
Jeff I4 days ago

Take care of self first and then help others. It is hard to give when you are do not have anything to give. :)

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Maria P
Maria P4 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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