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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty About It?

Ever thought about how you will enjoy Saturday to yourself? Stay at home and snuggle in with some coffee and the book that you've been wanting to read for ages. Sadly, your colleagues asked you to join them for a weekend brunch and the next thing you know, you're filled with resentment and sitting at the restaurant wondering when you will get to go home.

This has happened to the best of us. We’ve ended up working overtime for our bosses, and said yes every time someone has asked ‘Can you do me a favour?’ despite not wanting to do it, And all because we couldn't say NO!

No - it is probably the shortest word with so much power. Since childhood, we are often taught by elders that saying no is not right and we should avoid saying it as it can hurt the people around us. It is considered an insult, but we often fail to understand that saying no, doesn't necessarily mean that we hate the person who is asking us for something.

Why is it that we have such a hard time saying no to people?

Our lives are indeed filled with obligations towards fulfilling the demands of our family members, friends, and colleagues and our inability to say no, often means that we have a habit of putting others' needs over our own and we want to do the best we can to be of help/serve others. But does that mean that we should always put others' needs over our own? Or does putting your own needs first make you selfish? After all, we are taught to give, not take.

Being selfish isn't necessarily a bad thing!

We all need some time to ourselves, to relax, to work on our personal goals and sometimes doing that may mean, saying no to someone else. Research says that saying yes umpteen number of times, despite not wanting to say it can cause damage to your relationships with people. Being too nice has its downsides too.

So, how do you say no? Here are some simple tips that can help you out:

  • First, take a break and assess the situation. Ask yourself whether it is going to be significantly beneficial for both parties. Usually, it is the fear of the other person storming out on us, that prevents us from saying no. Reassure yourself that it is alright to say no. Saying no isn't about you shedding your responsibilities, it is about wanting to focus on what matters to you.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice how many people say no to each other daily. It may help you become comfortable dealing with the fact that you are not alone. Also, observe how people handle such situations.

  • You don't need to say a hard NO! Don't be harsh. The chances of someone being furious at you when you are polite and empathetic are very less. Try putting your point across in a subtle manner. Tell them why you cannot do something for them and back it up with reasoning.

  • Whenever you feel pressured to say yes, try to buy yourself some time to evaluate the situation, and whether the task is worth your time and effort. You can say something like, “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” It is important to not feel the rush to say yes. But be mindful about conveying a response. Sometimes, not receiving an answer can be more infuriating for the other party.

Pro tip: Practice saying no!

Yes, you read it right. Initially, you may have a hard time saying no, but as you gain experience, you will eventually learn to overwrite the default Yes setting!

Remember, it is okay to say No! It is necessary to have boundaries and it is your right to decide what deserves your time and what does not. Hope this helps you out! :)

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