As a society, we’ve become oversaturated with the concept of saying “yes.” When it comes to our personal and professional lives, this can be a good thing: when we say yes to opportunities and people, we’re extending ourselves and sharing our time. However, saying “yes” to everything isn’t always the best option. To feel more confident in our decisions and free ourselves from the pressures of others and ourselves, it is important to practice self-care by saying no occasionally. For example, if you have a lot of things on your plate right now or if you feel like your friends would feel guilty if they knew you were turning them down, then saying no might not be an easy task for you right now. Once you begin practicing self-care by saying no more frequently — whether that means setting boundaries around your time or limiting the number of people who know about your availability — you will notice a difference in both the quality of your life and your psychological state. Here are five ways to say no without feeling guilty:
1. Thanks, but no thanks. I appreciate the offer
While being kind to others and accepting their offers is essential, it is also okay to express gratitude and say no. There is no need to feel pressured to constantly be doing things for others; there is also no need to feel guilt around simply refusing to do something. While it may be awkward at first, you will find that this practice will free you from unnecessary social pressure and allow you to focus more on the things that truly matter to you.
2. Thank you for thinking of me, but I am going to have to decline your offer
While it is important to be a good friend, it is also essential to set boundaries and let others know that you are not interested in doing things for them all the time. When someone offers to include you in something, it is okay to let them know that you are not interested, but it is also okay to express gratitude and let them know that you appreciate the offer but that you want to decline.
3. I’m flattered, but the opportunity, but no, thank you
If someone repeatedly approaches you with a project you are not interested in but genuinely flattered by their offer, it is okay to politely decline. If you are in a situation where you just cannot say “no” but need to practice saying “no,” you can choose to focus on the project’s benefits or downsides and the opportunities you are being asked to join.
4. Unfortunately, that’s just not possible. It won’t work out this time
If someone keeps asking you to join their activities and initiatives but they seem to be having trouble carrying them out themselves, or they keep saying that they “need help” or “need your resources,” then it may be time to practice self-care and say “no” so that you can free yourself from the social pressure to join.
5. I can’t help, but I have some resources I can forward to you
If you have friends who are always asking you to join their initiatives or projects, and they don’t seem willing to do any of the work themselves, then it may be time to practice self-care and say “no” so that you don’t feel guilty for declining. You can offer them resources to empower them to complete the task and still help, just in a different way.
There are many different ways to approach this process when it comes to saying no and practicing self-care. If someone keeps turning to you for help with their projects or initiatives, but you are not interested in joining, it may be time to practice self-care and say “no” so that you don’t feel guilty for declining.