Personal Growth

How To Say No Without Feeling Guilty

how to say no without feeling guilty

It’s common for people to say yes to everything. We don’t entertain the idea of how to say no without feeling guilty.

We are afraid of missing out on something important. Most of all, we are naturally people pleasers. So we always say yes to everything.

The thing is, in reality, we don’t have all the time in the world. And saying yes to everyone who asks a favor, invites us to an event, or calls us for a cup of coffee potentially gets in the way of accomplishing our own goals.

In living a life with purpose, the purpose here should be your own, not of others. Here are the 3 practical ways how to say no without feeling guilty.

Shift your default answer to “No.”

Rather than a default “yes,” switch to “no.” When someone asks you for something, whatever it is, make it a habit to think that the response should be no.

And then, give yourself enough time to decide whether the request is in line with your priorities or not. Most of the time, it’s not.

But if you find that the request might be something valuable for you and the person who asked for your help, then it would be easier to say yes to it now that you have given yourself some space to think about it. And it would be worth it for both of you.

Offer an alternative.

It’s natural for us to help the people who needed help. At the end of the day, we would like to be someone who is kind enough to help out when we can.

So even if you say no to someone, you can always do something for him or her that would be valuable.

You can think of the ways you can help out by doing something that you know would not take a lot of time.

For example, say you are a person who is known to be good in graphic design and your friend asks you to make a poster for his or her daughter’s first birthday.

If you feel that it would take a lot of time and would affect your own schedule, you can politely say no and offer an alternative like directing your friend to Canva, and somehow explain how easy it is to use the app.

Apply the sandwich approach.

A sandwich approach is a method of giving feedback constructively. It is done by telling positive feedback first, then the negative ones. And it ends by telling another positive feedback.

This method provides constructive feedback wherein a person feels accomplished for the great things he or she has done, and at the same time, reminded of the things that need improvement.

You can also apply this approach when you say no to someone’s request.

(Positive) Let the person know how great their idea is.
(Negative) Be straight and tell them that you can’t make it this time.
(Positive) Let them know that maybe sometime in the future you can help out.

As Marie Forleo said, “If you want people to value your time, you have to put a value on it.”

If you want people to value your time, you have to put a value on it.

Marie Forleo

It’s time to put a value on yourself and consider these 3 practical ways how to say no without feeling guilty. At the end of the day, saying no to someone else’s priorities leads to saying yes to your own.

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Rachel runs a small bakery & cafe in her town, alongside her high school best friends. She's a former teacher who pursued the creative industry and later on discovered her passion for baking and photography.

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