How To Say No

How To Say NO and Feel Good About it

how to say no

No. One word. Two letters.

Seems like it would be easy enough to say.

But I think we all know that is not the case. Not even close. 

Do you struggle with the idea of how to say no? I am right there with you.

But there are things you can do. Ways we can all say no without feeling like we just did something terrible. 

First of all, let’s talk about all the negative ways we look at that small word. 

The word no has such a negative connotation attached to it.

We all seem to look at no as a bad word. A word that we should try to avoid.

How dare we say no to someone?

But here’s the thing. We are allowed to say it. Yes, you are allowed to say no. You are not a bad person for using the word. And I promise you the world is not going to end when you say it.

Here Are Some Tips on Learning How To Say No Without Feeling Guilty

1) Why Do You Feel Bad?

I am a big fan of good old fashioned pen and paper. I’m all about those old school things. Not sure if pen and paper is actually old school. But with the level of technology these days, it kind of seems like it. 

Grab yourself some pen and paper. I want you to write down the things you think will happen if you say no. Get it all out. All your feelings associated with the word.

Having these thoughts out on paper can be such a relief. It can also open your eyes to how silly some of these ideas are. Our brains do a great job of blowing things out of proportion. Taking us to the worst possible outcome in a matter of seconds. 

One of my biggest fears is people ending their relationship with me. I always feel like saying no is going to put a huge strain on a relationship. 

Is the truth of what is going to happen. Not likely.

I am also afraid of people not liking me. This is a big one. People that aim to please want to be liked. And we think that saying yes is a surefire way to make this happen. 

This thought process also does not align with reality. 

After you have written down all your thoughts, take a good, hard look at them. 

Ask yourself if any of the things you wrote down are based on facts.

2) What Do You Gain?

Often we think of no as having negative consequences. But let’s change our mindset about that.

Is there a positive impact that could come from saying no?

Saying no to something as simple as an invitation to a party could mean you get more sleep. Which is good for your health.

A perfect example is when I say no to play dates for my daughter. Sometimes, I need to say no because trying to fit it in at that certain time will stress me out. 

And maybe it is at a time that will interfere with her sleep schedule. Sleep is important in our house, friends!

Try to flip the script. Learn to see that not doing something can have positive repercussions on your end. 

3) What is the Worst That Could Happen?

Often we build things up in our heads to be way worse than what the reality would be.

We picture these outcomes that are most likely not going to happen. Remember #1?

Every single situation is different. Sometimes saying no will not be that difficult. Sometimes it may be uncomfortable, but nothing you can’t handle.

But sometimes it is going to give you that pit in your stomach feeling. That feeling of dread. 

In those situations, you need to write down what is the worst thing that could happen. Now, chances are what you have written down is not going to happen.

But here is what you do after you write it. Think of what you would do in that exact scenario. What would you do if things happened to go south? Let it all play out in your mind. 

This always calms me down and makes me feel prepared for anything.

4) It’s Not Rude

Saying no when something does not work for you is not rude.

We think it is rude. But that thought process is not helping us at all. We need to change our mindset. 

Don’t get me wrong here. Saying no may open the door to rudeness. But rude is not necessary. 

You can have manners and still say no. You can show kindness and still say no. There are nice ways to turn something down. 

I mean, if you bark the word no at someone and then run for cover chances are that person might be a little offended.

But my guess is that it is not how you plan on acting.  

5) No Need For Excuses

A simple no thanks will do. 

We do not need to start rattling off 12 different reasons why we are turning something down. This is just not necessary.

And I think this just prolongs the conversation. 

Do you know what could happen then?

You may feel backed into a corner and the urge to say yes may start to look like your only option. You give in. Especially when the other person involved is showing no signs of backing down. 

I think quick and clear is the way to go. 

6) Be Confident

You have to stand behind your decision. Be confident in the reasons behind the no. 

This is not going to happen overnight. But there will come a time when saying no will become just something else you do. Another thing that happened in your day.

Not something you go home and stress about. If you are anything like me, you may even spend a considerable amount of time questioning whether you should have actually said yes. 

Here is a mini three-step thought process to try.

Repeat these sentences. 

I made a choice. The choice was no. I made the choice that was best for me. 

7) Be Intentional With Your Time

If you truly have things to do, this will make saying no much easier. And the truth is you probably do have things to do. We all have a list of things we need or want to get done.

But I have goals. And those goals are important to me. So, when I say no to something I have those goals front and center on my mind. They are my focus.

This helps in relieving my need to say yes. Thinking of my goals helps me really put into perspective how I want to spend my time. 

8) Give an Alternative

This is totally optional. You 100 percent do not need to give an alternative. But I actually like to. This makes it easier to say no and it gives you control of the situation. 

Now, this only really applies to situations where you need to say no for that particular occasion but you would like to say yes at some point.

I can not always go to a birthday party. But I can suggest a day to get together for lunch. 

Maybe you can not commit completely to a weekly volunteer program. But you can do it once a month. 

See how that works. This puts the ball in your court. 

9) Take Care of Yourself

Saying no can work wonders for your mental state. Let go of the notion that spreading yourself extremely thin is your only option.

Are you a people pleaser? So afraid of letting someone else down and ready to avoid confrontation at all costs.

What about you? How about thinking of not letting yourself down? 

You are not living your life to put a smile on the faces of everyone around you. You matter too. Let me say that again. You matter too. 

The things you say yes to should be the things that are adding to your happiness. You should do things because you really want to. 

The keyword in that sentence is YOU!

If everyone but you is happy about a choice, then that choice might not have been the right one.

Do we need to stress ourselves out over a two-letter word? I think you know what the answer is.

Listen up. You can be ambitious and be someone that says no. You can be kind and giving and be someone that says no. 

But what you shouldn’t be is concerned with saying yes to make others happy. 

Don’t be afraid to speak up and make the decisions that are good for you. 

Share away any tips you have on how to say no! Let’s Chat!

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How To Say NO and Feel Good About it

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One response to “How To Say No”

  1. Kim M Avatar
    Kim M

    Great article!! Very useful for someone who struggles to say no and who puts others needs above her own! Thx

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