It can be hard to find the right balance between “yes” and “no.” As we navigate requests from our family, friends, romantic partners, coworkers, and even strangers, there is an inherent pressure to say “yes” to as much as we can so we don’t look rude, incompetent, or disagreeable.
The problem is, saying yes to every request that comes our way doesn’t leave time for us to take care of our own needs and tasks. The more we stretch ourselves thin caring for others, the more we put ourselves at risk of physical and mental exhaustion, burnout, and anxiety.
Saying no is an important career and life skill that will help us focus on ourselves, our work, and our needs. So how can we learn to do this correctly?
The first step is ditching the stigma. It’s common to fear that by saying no makes us seem incapable or boring. But that reality is, everyone has to say no sometimes and people often react negatively.
Some tips for learning how to say no and how to say it right:
- Be firm: Don’t make a no seem like it might be a yes. Say no succinctly, clearly, and without apology.
- Think on it: If you aren’t sure what to say, feel free to take a minute to decide. Simply say “thank you, I’ll let you know” and give yourself some room to breathe.
- Set personal boundaries: Setting clear boundaries for yourself helps you determine what you should and shouldn’t do — for example, if you are afraid of heights, you can easily say no to going skydiving.
Once you start advocating for yourself by saying no, you’ll find that it’s easier than you think! Read on for more tips on how to learn this important skill:
Please include attribution to bestow.com with this graphic.