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7 ways to say NO (without the guilt trip)

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Does saying no, makes you sweat like a fish? You feel like throwing up at the idea of saying no? Do you find yourself saying yes, even when you practiced saying no in the bathroom mirror and get really upset with yourself? Do you feel people are constantly taking advantage of your nice-ness?





Imagine this: you've had a hellish, endless week. Your boss has been no less demanding than Miranda Priestly, your wallet got stolen two days ago and you and your partner are arguing over something petty.

After all this, you're exhausted and all you want to do this weekend is lie in bed and re-watch Brooklyn Nine Nine on Netflix.

You've just made yourself some popcorn, and you're about to get into bed, when your phone rings. It's your friend, and they're asking for a favour.


"I have four essays to complete before Monday and I'm packed at work, I would be so grateful if you could write just one of them for me, please."

What do you do? Do you downright refuse, or do you sigh and agree to ruin your weekend because you feel bad saying no?

If you do the second, this is for you.


We feel afraid to say no for plenty of reasons: you may be afraid of being judged or upsetting someone. You may be someone who likes to keep people happy, or is ‘too nice’– but it's also important to be nice to yourself.


Step One: The very first step to saying no is acknowledging that you cannot do everything. Another person or their job is not your responsibility.


Step Two: The next step to this is to notice all the times people around you say no to requests.


Step Three: If you feel like you still can't say no without panicking, you can ask for time instead.


Step Four: Offering an alternative helps you feel like you haven't left the person alone in a deep ditch by themselves. If you can't do much to help someone but know someone else who can, you can mention this to them.


Step Five: Something that will definitely help you say no easily is having a go-to phrase to fall back on when you're feeling anxious. An example of this could be ‘I would like to, but unfortunately, I have other commitments.’


Step Six: The sixth step is to use a relational account. "Sorry, it won't be fair to me as I need this break" is a legit reasoning.


Step Seven: Just say no. No is a complete sentence.


Saying no is the first step to standing up for yourself. You cannot let yourself be walked all over by the people in your life.
If you incorporate these steps into your life, you can slowly but steadily become someone who is not afraid to be assertive and doesn't find validation by pleasing others.


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