I tend to say yes to a lot of things.
“Tori will you…?”
“Tori can you….?”
“Tori want to come…?”
And even when I know I should be saying no, I find myself saying yes. This happens every day, at school, at work, and even at home.
Throughout these past 3 years of independence and self-reliance, I’ve learned I don’t know my “limits” until it’s too late to say “no” and then I’m overwhelmed with the list of things I said “yes” to.
With the ‘end of semester stress’ suffocating many of us, I figured it would be useful to learn how to say no and understand the reasons behind why it is SO hard to do this sometimes.
Below are helpful tools you can use to say no.
Acknowledge that you can’t do everything.
- This is a hard statement to take in, but it is true. You cannot do everything, I cannot do everything, No one can do everything. This means that sometimes you HAVE to say no. Understanding the limits of what you can and cannot do is important.
- It is even more important to know when to say no because you don’t have time to always say yes. Time management is everything.
Understand you aren’t being selfish
- Know you are not being selfish when you say no, you are allowed to say no to certain requests and situations if it is better for you.
Know you can’t please everyone
- We are people pleasers at our core; we desire for everyone we meet to like us, but this is unrealistic.
- We cannot do things because we want others to like us, or because we want the reputation of “being the best” coworker, student, daughter/son/child, or friend.
- Saying yes just to gain recognition by others is putting value in something that will not satisfy and your work will not live up to your expectations.
Be direct; Say “No, I can’t” or “No, I don’t want to”
- Remember that it is better to say no now than be resentful later.
- Don’t say “I’ll think about it” if you don’t want to do it. This will just prolong the situation and make you feel even more stressed.
Give a brief explanation
You don’t have to lie or make up excuses to say no, just simply be honest. If you have a reason for not wanting or being able to do something, give them a brief explanation. Below are a few examples:
- “I don’t think I can take on another project, as I am already working on…..”
- “I can’t go out to eat because I need to save money.”
- “I can’t go to the party because I need a night to relax by myself.”
When it comes to wanting to say yes, but not being able to, suggest an alternative plan or action. This may look something like:
- “I can’t go to the party because I need a night to relax. If you want, you can come watch movies with me.”
- I don’t think I can take another project, but maybe Sarah would be good for this one, she has a lot of interest in this area.”
I hope this helps you reflect and have confidence in saying no the next time you feel yes at the tip of your tongue. As life gets busier, it is necessary to know your own limits!
Of Possible Interest:
- Productivity & Wellness (all of our blog posts on the topic)
- Healthy on the Job (our Pinterest board)