How many times do you say yes when you really want to say no? Why do we all do this? FOMO? Fear of disappointing someone? Fear of not being liked? But how many of us really consider our needs before volunteering to help someone else?
I used to do this all the time. Say yes to everyone else but never said yes to me. And all these yeses equaled a lot of my time and sanity being given away and left my cup empty. And when I knew I wanted to say no, I didn’t know how without sounding like a total jerkface.
You know that feeling right? When faced with a tough choice but you don’t know how to say no politely. First, you feel the guilt eating away at you. Then the butterflies in your stomach are tickling you as you nervously try to find a way to say no. But alas, as you always do, you accept. You try to do all the things for all the people but forget to do all the things for YOU.
Saying no is hard, and it takes practice. I was room mom every year for five straight years. I volunteered for every class party, craft, and always accepted every blog sponsor without giving any thought to how it would affect my life. But that changed this year when I decided to go on my quest to be who I want to be. And I can’t be that person if I’m constantly being and doing what everyone else needs.
So here are a few things that helped me say this little word with a big meaning. My hope is that you’re here because you know that you and your needs matter, and it’s time to take back, well, your time. Because it’s the most important gift we have, and it needs to be cherished and only given when really necessary.
9 Ways to Say No Without Being a Jerkface
Why do we always say: “I’m so sorry, I can’t. I have to take Jimmy to hockey, then Julie to dance, and I have to make homemade organic gluten free bread for their sandwiches tomorrow.” Why on God’s green Earth are you sorry?! You did nothing wrong and you are admitting guilt. Stop. Stop it. Right now. Don’t apologize!
Instead: “Oh thank you so much for asking! Unfortunately, I cant….”
2. What’s Your Because?
Which leads me to “because”. I’ve realized when I say I can’t, a lot of people expect that I need to give them a reason. Do you have to do this? No of course not! But it does soften the blow.
3. Take a Time-Out
Whenever someone asks me, especially via text, I never answer right away. And if it’s in person I usually say, “Let me check my schedule and with Bob and get back to you!” I never have my schedule on my phone, it’s on my desk in a paper planner so that’s the truth ya’ll. And sometimes I need to visualize what my day is like. For example, the day after HEAT broadcasts I’m usually dead tired and can’t do anything creative that day for work. It’s how I’m wired. Give yourself some space to think about it!
4. Be Honest
I’ve clearly been living my truth lately, and not afraid to be honest. And a lot of times I just don’t have the energy to do something. I used to make up excuses, but now I’m pretty straight and honest. “I can’t do the podcast early because I have spin class, but can do it at 9am.” Honestly is always the best policy, unless….
5. Little White Lies
Ok, what if your Aunt Edna is trying to get you to eat something you hate on Thanksgiving? When it comes to hurting someone’s feelings it’s totally fine in these situations to make up something small. “Sorry, I’m allergic to dairy, I can’t try your delicious looking jello mold wih sour cream!” I mean who doesn’t have an allergy anyways these days!?
6. I’m All Set
Is someone trying to sell you something? “I’m all set, thanks!” is the perfect no.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Say it Twice
The full court press is the worst. I know that guy at my door really wants to sell me hurricane impact windows, but dude No. No thanks. Close the door.
8. Too Much Work?
Change the frequency if someone needs something from you on the work front. I use, “My schedule is just packed I don’t have the bandwidth right now! Thanks for thinking of me though.”
9. Offer a Referral
Back to the work example, you can always offer or suggest someone else that can do it when you can’t. I recently had an offer from a wonderful woman who wanted me to help her make videos for her business. I seriously considered doing it, but I then took a day to look at my schedule and knew I’d be overworking myself. So I politely wrote her that I wouldn’t be able to help her at this time, but knew someone that could. The awesome part? She wrote back saying, “That’s so awesome that you were able to say no and protect your time with your family.” I loved her response so much I totally want to help her now!
I know it’s hard, and you feel bad, and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But think about YOUR feelings first. And if what you are being asked to do will compromise your health, stress level, time with your loved ones, or you just think it sucks, JUST SAY NO.
I promise they won’t hate you. They just might respect you more.
Did you like this post? Then please follow on Facebook for more inspiration! You might also like this post, Stop Doing All the Things Now.
Or How to Fill Your Cup When Life Gets Overwhelming.
Stacey W says
I love this! I am one of those people who always feels the need to apologize for saying no and then feeling bad about it. I am saving this!!
Kristen Hewitt says
Don’t apologize, you and your time are valuable!!!
Janine Huldie says
I absolutely love this, because yes I have been known to take on too much here and don’t always find the word, “No” to be easy for me to say. Therefore, I appreciate any and all help I can get on this. So thank you so much for sharing and reminding that sometimes it is OK to say, “No.”
Jill Robbins says
Preach. I think saying no gets easier as you get older. I definitely have less GAFs as I age and sometimes, saying no means giving me the time to take care of myself, which is often more important than the thing I’m saying no to.
Also, what IS it with women saying “sorry” for saying no? I know…I do it too and I try to be cognizant of it.
Kristen Hewitt says
I think we’re programmed to do it. As a society women are expected to be caretakers so we feel shame if we can’t – hence the “sorry”. I’m done apologizing. If I can’t do it a no has to suffice.
J. Ivy Boyter says
As I get older, no is so much easier to say and I care so much less if someone hates me for it. I have to take care of myself and my family, and that’s best done if I’m not stretched too thin!
Kristen Hewitt says