5 Tips to Help You Decide When and How to Say No

Say No

Have a hard time saying No?

I can relate. 

Being a people pleaser in the past, I had such a hard time saying no. The thought of saying the two-letter word gave me anxiety. I was afraid of conflict, and would rather go against my own values to be liked than to have to set my boundaries and stew in the discomfort of feeling bad and uneasy.

Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of needing to do it and have gotten better at it. After all, being able to communicate your boundaries more assertively and effectively is a very useful skill to have.

 

Below are some mindful tips and considerations to help you decide when and how to say no.

1. Value your Time. Know your Priorities

It is always important to hear out an opportunity or request that comes in because you don’t want to just say no without first hearing what is the opportunity or request being asked.  Once you know what the request is, run it through your opportunity, interest funnel.  If it doesn’t meet your criteria then, it’s a No. 

Note: When a request comes from your boss, and it’s something that you don’t mind doing.  Or it may be a part of your job but you are just too busy, it’s important to explain to your boss what is on your plate, and have a conversation to clarify what are the priorities, and how much you can take on. 

2. Keep it Simple. Stay Firm. Don’t Add Any Outs

When you know your ‘no’ is a hell no, and it is straight-up the best thing for you, then all you have to say is Thank you, but I’m going to have to say no.

If you feel you have to elaborate, you could add, it’s not for me.  My plate is already fullDon’t add ‘maybe next time.  This gives the requestor an opportunity to revisit the request with you. 

As Faith G Harper mentions in her book, ‘Unfuck Your Boundaries’ Be Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm.

 

3. Saying No Doesn’t Mean Forever

Sometimes a request comes along, and it is simply just not the right timing. This is when you want to keep the option open and say “this is interesting, but I don’t have the time, maybe later? Want to check back in (insert timeframe).”

 

4. You Want to Think About your Answer

If you need more time to make a decision, ask if you can give it some thought and get back to them. This will give you time to give it some thought and check your priorities.  

If after consideration, it is a no, then what you say is I’ve given it some thought and I’m not able to commit to this opportunity. 

 

5. Saying No Creates an Opportunity for Someone to Say Yes

When you say no to something that does not align with who you are and what you want to do, you are giving someone the opportunity to say yes who will appreciate and enjoy the experience much more than you would. This person will be more committed and more enthusiastic about the opportunity, which means they’ll probably do the job with more zest.

When you are not in it wholeheartedly, you are typically less engaged, and more likely to procrastinate, wasting time, dragging your feet to get things done. This is a disservice to you when you know your time could have been used more wisely. 

So do yourself a favor and say no.  And know that by saying no, you are giving an opportunity to someone else who needs it, or is seeking the opportunity and is eager to say Yes.

Photo by: Isaiah Rustad

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