Many people are so used to saying "yes," both at home and at work. You probably also experienced buying something that you didn’t really want or need just because the salesperson was too persuasive and you didn’t want to be rude. This may be because we don’t want to offend anyone and we’re scared what they might think of us if we reject what they’re asking. But saying "yes" to everything we’re asked to do is a burden for us because a lot of times we really don’t want to do what we agreed to do. Saying "no" is a powerful skill and here are some tips on how to Learn to say "no" while still being polite.

Tell yourself it is completely acceptable to say no

Before dealing with people, you need to deal with yourself. First of all, you need to realize that you don’t need anyone’s permission to reject doing someone a favor (of course, we’re not talking about business or something that really is your duty). Agreeing to everything can cause you a lot of stress and make people rely on you too much. You can end up being overburdened and anxious. Establish your personal boundaries that will be reasons for saying ‘no’.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Be aware of the fact that people can be really persuasive and train yourself to come up with answers that will make them give up.

Be direct

Don’t beat around the bush but be direct and firm. Stay polite but don’t apologize too much for rejecting the person you’re talking to. Use phrases like ‘’I appreciate the fact that you came to me for this but I’m afraid it’s not convenient now’’.

Employ body language as well so as not to give away you’re feeling guilty. If the person is asking for something important but you're really not sure you'd be able to do it, offer a compromise.

Take time to think

Your gut reaction may be to say "yes" all the time and to everyone but try changing that. Tell the person you need some time to think whether or not you’ll be able to help. Tell them you have something else planned as well and you need to check if what they’re asking you to do fits your schedule.

Taking some time to think will give you enough confidence if you want to reject the person. You will have enough time to come up with a good response and reason why you can’t do it. Telling the person you would think about the matter will probably get them off your back. Start by being very polite and thanking the person for trusting you enough to ask you for a favor but be very firm when saying "no."

Get rid of the guilt

Think of the rational reasons you’re feeling guilty. You probably didn’t turn someone down when they really needed a favor but when it was something not so serious or important, like going out with friends.

Why are you feeling guilty then? Well, you may be a people pleaser by nature and you’re taught to avoid conflicts of any kind. You don’t want to make people angry or to like you less. This is not a reason to feel guilty, it just means you should work on changing your personality a bit, in your favor. Don’t reconsider the matter after rejecting because the guilt can make you do that. After you rejected the person, try to feel relieved and move on with your work and life.

Be self-confident

One of the reasons some people agree to everything is because they don’t appreciate themselves enough. They don’t think their needs and wants are as important as other people’s.

You think people will appreciate you more if you’re always there for them. While this might be true, it can also have a counter effect. They will rely on you too much and actually think poorly of you because you never stand up for yourself.

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