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Tips For Saying “NO”

Saying no is one of the hardest things to do. But here are some tips if someone invites you somewhere…

If you have another commitment, politely and confidently decline. You can offer an alternative date or not. You have that choice, and it doesn’t need to be made right away.

If you don’t have a specific commitment but you feel overwhelmed with your calendar or your to-do list, try saying this “I can’t commit to anything in the next couple of weeks. Can I set a reminder to get back to you [set specific date]?”

Saying no can be really hard. Especially if you feel the need to please others, or not cause any issues for a specific event (a girls night with all your besties for instance). 

The thing is, you are not obligated to do anything you don’t want to do. And you are NOT obligated to be the one taking care of other people’s feelings. 

Trust me, this is hard! I struggle with this myself. But it’s vital for you to take care of yourself first and not other people. You can do everything right and they’ll still have issues with you or could be hurt about it. There is nothing you can do to control other people. Now is the time to give up trying. 

If you want to go and you don’t have any prior commitments, say yes! 

The next time someone invites you to something, respond in one of those ways CONFIDENTLY. 

And then… When the time comes…

Do NOT allow your fear to talk you out of it. If you feel uncomfortable about going, check-in with yourself, and ask why. Is it because you’d just rather stay home because you feel insecure or awkward? Or are you truly overwhelmed with the things you need to do and possibly overbooked yourself?

Your mind perceives the unknown to be potentially threatening so it tries to keep you the “safest” it can by convincing you not to do anything outside of your immediate comfort zone. We know that we can’t grow (or do much of anything besides watching our favorite Netflix shows over again) when we stay in our comfort zone. We also know that sometimes social gatherings are not necessarily in our comfort zone, but they also aren’t a threat either. Convincing your brain to let you do the thing might be hard, but it is worth it most of the time! 

If you’re struggling to figure out if you’re afraid or overwhelmed, think about the best, and worst things that could happen if you do the thing. So let’s say that I’ve been invited to a work Christmas Party (in person or on zoom) and I agree to go. Then the day comes and I am truly not feeling like I want to go. My mind starts racing about all of the different excuses or reasons I could give to not go. I need to look at it from a different angle and ask what the best thing is that could happen, and what the worst thing is that could happen. So…

I go to the work Christmas party:

Best: I could be totally surprised by how much fun I have and could make some great connections with coworkers.

If it’s fear that’s holding me back the worst thing that might happen could be: I could be uncomfortable for a while, leave early, and then just do what I was going to do in the first place at home. 

If it’s a valid reason that my feeling of overwhelm is trying to warn me of the worst thing that could happen might be: I could get behind on a certain task at home and cause myself a lot of stress as I try to find time to do the thing later. OR I could make a friend or family member upset because I didn’t follow through on a commitment to them because I decided to go to the work party. 

Do you see how different those things are? We can get the same feeling of overwhelm for both of these problems but one of them won’t cause any real harm, but one of them definitely could. It’s important to take a moment to look at it from an objective point of view and decide if you have a legitimate reason for feeling that way or if it’s just from fear. 

The next time someone invites you to something, respond in one of these ways CONFIDENTLY.

I believe in you! When you are honest with people you show respect for them & for yourself, good things happen. They will in turn respect you more. 

It’s totally possible to take strategies and implement them and see some things change. But the goal here is that things will change in such a way that this shouldn’t have to be a constant battle within yourself… 

And the only way to accomplish that is to work on your mindset. Because your mindset dictates your actions and even the subconscious actions that you don’t realize you’re taking. 

So for example, if you have the belief that you need to say yes to all the family gathering invitations because you worry that you might offend someone, and then wear yourself out trying to prepare for each party and attend it becomes a burden and will cause you to subconsciously resent the people who are putting these events on or attending because you won’t want to blame yourself for these issues going on. 

  • Do you struggle to say no? Why do you think that you say yes to things even if you don’t want to?
  • When you think about going to certain events or honoring commitments, what kind of feelings come up? Do you feel stressed? Overwhelmed? Afraid? Insecure? What are some things you can do to combat those feelings?