Saying no. It’s a hard thing for a lot of people, including myself. But like with most things in life, it becomes much easier with time.

There was a point in my life where I felt overwhelmed and I didn’t know what to do. I realized that I was such a people pleaser, and I would say yes to virtually everything. I would do whatever or go wherever people asked me to, and I would not enjoy it. Or worse, I would cancel or just flake.

Here are a few tricks that I have learned about saying no, and I hope that they help you on your ‘saying no’ journey:

  1. Be firm. Be clear. Be direct.
    Firm, clear and direct is just a good way to go. Saying something like this works: “That sounds like a great opportunity, but I have to pass this time. Thanks for considering me.”
  2. Don’t lie, make up stories, or offer excuses.
    You’ll never feel good about doing this. Often, we feel like we have to tell people why we can’t, even if it’s not true. This can and will create more problems. For example, if you say you can’t do something because you don’t have a babysitter, the other person might just suggest bringing your child. Then what?
  3. Don’t build up stories in your head.
    We build stories in our heads about how we’ll offend someone if we say no. Once I started realizing that I really wasn’t that important and nobody would die if I said no (a little exaggeration), saying no became a lot easier to do.
  4. Give alternatives.
    This one works really well with clients. Someone might make a request that just isn’t possible, so instead of just saying no flat out, you might suggest an alternative route or option. This helps the person feel heard and understood and allows you to still not commit to something that isn’t a smart business decision.

We must take care of ourselves, how we want to live, and make sure that we aren’t spending an endless amount of time doing things that make us miserable. And if a friend freaks out and is mad at you for saying no, they might not be the friend that you thought they were. Tough shit when it comes to family. I don’t have an answer for that one.

Give these tricks a try to make saying no a little easier.

Life is good.


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