How to Say No and Not Feel Guilty About It

Updated on August 28, 2017
Saying no doesn't mean you're rude or selfish. It's a healthy act of setting boundaries.
Saying no doesn't mean you're rude or selfish. It's a healthy act of setting boundaries.

Saying no to someone can be difficult especially if you're used to always giving in to someone's requests and demands. Others view you as a kindhearted person whom they can easily ask for help in times of need. While helping others is indeed a good thing, you clearly have to learn how to set healthy boundaries.

If the habit of always saying yes is already making you feel resentful towards others (or even yourself), perhaps it is time for you to do something about it.

So the next time that someone asks you for a favor, whether it's a friend, co-worker or relative, try doing these tips:

Find Out Why You’re Having a Hard Time Saying No

The most common reason why one has a hard time saying no is fear of rejection. Take time to reflect as to why you're finding it truly difficult to say no. Are you afraid that by declining the requests and demands of someone, they're going to reject you? Are you afraid that if you say no, they're going to put the blame on you? Whatever it is that is hindering you from establishing healthy boundaries, you need to acknowledge it. By acknowledging it, you can come up with ways on how to deal with it effectively.

Evaluate If the Request Is Urgent or Valid

When someone asks you for a favor, it is important that you evaluate the request first. Is it urgent? If it is urgent, is it valid? If it is not urgent, for what purpose does it serve? You also need to recognize if that person asking the favor can do anything on his own to solve the problem, or is he merely depending on someone else to bail him out of his problem?

By evaluating the type of request being asked, you can give it more thought. You can properly analyze if your act of helping will both help you and that person who is asking the favor. It is also important that you recognize whether the help that you give is simply enabling that person to continue on with his negative or destructive behavior.

Most importantly, you have to properly assess if you're in the position to help. If helping out that person means that you're compromising your own health, finances, etc., then do you think it's worth it?

Give It Time

Don't say yes immediately. Don't give in to pressure. Establishing healthy boundaries won't be easy especially if you've spent most of your years being a pushover.

If someone asks you for help and it's not that urgent, you can tell that person that you need more time to think about it. By giving yourself time, you can save yourself from making hasty decisions. You can avoid the pressure of giving in to uncomfortable or troublesome situations that will only do you more harm than good.

Realize That You Can't Pour From an Empty Cup

You have to prioritize yourself first above anything else. You can't help others unless you help yourself first. Focus on your achieving your goals. Take action in removing negative, toxic and entitled people from your life. Genuine people will understand your reason for saying no. They won't make you feel guilty, resentful or trapped.

At the end of the day, always remember that you have your limits too. You are not born to please everyone. Prioritizing yourself is an important step towards personal freedom. By establishing healthy boundaries, you teach people how to respect you.

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© 2017 Kent Peligrino


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    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 

      22 months ago from Osaka, Japan

      Do what I do: ask for money. If they complain, I remind them that I'm a disabled veteran and that I'm broke. A lot of people don't mind paying, they just want their thing taken care of. The people who don't like it don't ask me for anything again. Also, whenever I need something from someone, I always offer money. Hey, it's the share economy!


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