Saying No

Saying No – The Secret To Happiness

Saying “No” is a powerful, under-used, two-letter word. Using it can mean the difference between a happy, satisfying life or living a stressful, frustrating life. I was a habitual “Yes” person. I could not say no to save my life. My mind said no, but my mouth said yes and in almost every case, I immediately regretted it. I ended up frustrated and angry at myself, the situation, and even at the other person because I felt stuck. If you are like this and you need some help saying no, this article is for you.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

Benefits Of Saying No

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There are many benefits to saying no but here are several that I think are very important for you to understand.

Saying No Will Give You More Time For Yourself and Self-Care

When you constantly say yes, you leave no time for yourself. Doing things for yourself and practicing self-care is an important part of living a happy, fulfilled, and well-balanced life. How can you schedule a little “me” time if you are always doing for others? You can’t. Just by saying no more often, you’ll free up time to do things you want to do.

People Are Less Willing To Take Advantage Of You

Your yes man or yes woman tendencies will leave you wide open for people to take advantage of you. When someone needs something, they use will use the path of least resistance to get it. That means you. Many times they will ask you to do something without any regard for your time, energy, or needs. This doesn’t mean that these people are necessarily bad. Depending on others is human nature, but sometimes it becomes too much. Stop nurturing these dependencies and stop letting others take advantage of you by learning to set boundaries and saying no more often. Sometimes all it takes is one single no to prevent others from taking advantage of you.

You’ll Have Less Frustration and Animosity Towards Others

I mentioned earlier that I was a habitual Yes Man. One of the issues it caused was that I started getting frustrated with those close to me. I hate to admit it but in some cases I downright despised them. Then I realized it had absolutely nothing to do with them. All they did was ask. I was the one who said yes. All I had to do was say no, and I would have saved myself so much frustration. Once I learned to say no, even to my closest friends, everything changed. My friendships and relationships actually became much stronger.

You’ll Stop Feeling So Exhausted

Another benefit of saying no is that you’ll stop feeling so exhausted. Life is busy already with our own responsibilities. We work, take care of the kids, cook, clean, etc. As if that wasn’t enough, we add to our plate by doing things for others as well. We babysit, we accept invites to gatherings, we run someone here or there, we spend time helping others through their issues, and so on and so on. At the end of the day, it’s impossible to be anything other than exhausted. Both physically and mentally. Just by saying no a little more, you’ll take more and more off your plate and give yourself an opportunity to breathe.

You’ll Take Back Control Of Your Life

If you feel as though you don’t have any control over your own life, it’s probably because you do not use “no” enough.Ā  When you learn to turn others down and stop saying yes so much you will begin to feel empowered and in more control of your life.

How To Say No More

Now that you know some of the benefits of saying no, it’s time to start saying no. Here are some effective ways to do so.

Know Your Boundaries

The first step in saying no more is to know what your boundaries are. This makes it much easier to know when to say no as well as why you are saying it. If you haven’t had time to figure out and decide what you will and will not tolerate anymore, you’ll easily fall back into people pleasing ways. Spend time getting clear on your boundaries today. Click here to learn 5 simple steps to set boundaries.

Be Direct When Saying No

The best way to say no is to be direct. This doesn’t mean you have to be rude. A simple “no” will do. Remember “no” is a complete sentence. If possible say no without an explanation but if you must expand on why you turned the other person down or want to do it more politely then do so with honesty and as little information as possible. Here are some examples.

  • Your co-worker asks you to stay late to help them catch up on a project they have been slacking on.
    • Your answer: “Not tonight. I’m going to go home.”
  • Your friend asks you to come over for a BBQ Saturday afternoon but you are tired and want to relax at home.
    • Your answer: “Maybe next time, I’m staying in this Saturday.”
  • Your neighbor asks you to watch their dog for several days while they are out of town on vacation.
    • Your answer: “No not this time. Enjoy your trip.”

The best way to say no is to be direct. You can lighten the blow, however, by using the previous examples. If even those make you feel uncomfortable, then the following way to say no may help.

Give Yourself Time

If you are too uncomfortable saying no directly, then give yourself a little time to answer. You can do this by saying, “Let me get back to you.” That simple sentence will get you off the hook at the moment. Later, you can get back to them with a no that is more comfortable to you.

Start Small

If you aren’t used to saying no, then starting small is an effective strategy. Say no to something that is a low threat. Once you get comfortable saying no to smaller things, then move on to bigger nos.

When it comes to saying no, know what your boundaries are, be direct, give yourself time if necessary, and start small.

When To Say No

If you need help deciding when to say no or not, use the following guidelines.

When Saying No Is An Absolute Must

When any of the following is true, say no, period.

You are stressed and overwhelmed. If you are already stressed, don’t add more stress. Piling on frustration is really bad for both your mental, emotional and physical health.

You are doing too much. If you are already busy, say no. Soon you will over-extend yourself and not be able to meet some of your obligations anyway.

You are tired and sick. When you aren’t feeling well, you need to say no. No, you can’t do that favor, no you can’t go to this event. Listen to your body and do what is best for it.

When You Have The Right To Say No

Remember, you always have the right to say no. Especially when the following is true.

It’s not your issue. Don’t get involved if it has nothing to do with you. You have the right to let the other person handle it.

If you feel taken for granted. If someone is taking advantage of you, it’s time to put your foot down and say no.

When you deserve time for yourself. Time for yourself is important. If you don’t prioritize your life-balance and self-care, then your whole life will be out of whack.

Saying No Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when using no.

Don’t Apologize When Saying No

When you say no, try not to apologize. You have a right to say no, so don’t feel obligated to say sorry when you do so. The point of saying no is to feel empowered and to gain control of your own life. When you apologize you are giving power and control back to them.

Manage Your Guilt

When you start saying no more often, you may feel some guilt. Just remember that this means you are making progress.

Remember Every Situation Is Different

There is no one size fits all when it comes to saying no. It all depends on the importance of the request, the people affected, the person who is asking, and your history with them.

Be Assertive When Saying No

Saying no won’t always come without pushback, especially if someone is not used to hearing no. They will want to know why, they may try to make you feel guilty, they may keep pressing you until they get a yes, etc. You must hold the line and be assertive

If you need help being assertive, our Being Assertive Guide will help. The guide will re-emphasize what you learned in this article, as well as teach you how to set boundaries and be more assertive in life.

Learn More About The Being Assertive Guide Here

Being Assertive


Use the power of “no” to take control of your life. You will have more time for yourself and self-care, and people won’t try to take advantage of you as often. You will also experience less frustration with others, and you won’t feel so exhausted. Remember, to say no, you must know what your boundaries are and be direct. If you have difficulties being straight forward with your no, give yourself some time to answer by saying, “let me get back to you.” You can also start small and work up to bigger nos from there. Make saying no a big part of your vocabulary from here on out.

How has not saying no affected your life? Let us know in the comments below.Ā 


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