A Guide to Saying ‘No’

Photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash

Saying ‘no’ is so hard to do. I haven’t perfected it but in the past few years, I’ve really learned some tactics that help limit my use of ‘yes’.

  • When someone asks you to do something, no matter how tempting it is, give yourself some time to think about it.
  • Use responses like: ‘I have to check my calendar’, ‘I’ll get back to you when I know’, or ‘Let me talk to my husband(partner) first’.
  • These phrases aren’t giving a direct ‘no’, but they are allowing you time to decide what’s right before committing to anything.

These tactics allow you to truly check your schedule and check in with yourself! Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this something I truly want to do?
  • Do I have the money to do this?
  • Will this enrich my life or someone else’s?
  • Does this align with my goals?
  • What will I be giving up in order to say ‘yes’ to this?

Everything is a trade off. You may be saying yes to an opportunity but at the expense of making dinner for your family that night, spending time with your kids, or even something enjoyable that you like to do – like reading, running, or painting.

I even try to teach my children this trade off. For example, my oldest girl may say, ‘I want to go to Target and buy Pokemon cards with my birthday money’. My response is usually, ‘If we go buy those Pokemon cards we won’t be able to go to the jump zone on a rainy afternoon or go to the movies next weekend because you don’t have enough money to do both’. They get to decide and whatever they decide is met with positivity but when the weekend rolls around and they don’t have money for something fun then they learn a good lesson. It’s not cruel, it’s realistic, they are learning the trade off and frankly, so am I. Sometimes I regret my decision and have to live with it, but the next time I definitely make a better choice!

What would you rather be doing than going to an ‘opportunity’ that you could have said ‘no’ to?


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