Have people ever told you that one of the reasons they love you so much is because “you put other’s needs before your own”? While this can feel nice to hear, it can also mean you have an unhealthy habit of being a people pleaser. Being a people pleaser isn’t just being nice, it is always choosing to please others, often at the expense of your own wellbeing. This can quickly lead to burnouts and can even lead to depression if this behavior goes on too long. Luckily, you can avoid this by working on saying no when needed and realizing that it is okay to say no.
Allowing Yourself to Say No
Saying no is one of your basic human rights, and it is healthy to practice. Most of the time, the reason some people have such a hard time saying no is because they don’t recognize that they are allowed to do so. A good thing to do is to remind yourself that you are not obligated to say yes. Your relationships will not be ruined and the way people perceive you will not change. These people probably wouldn’t want you to do things that you don’t want to do, and they are not thinking of you saying no as much as you worry they are. However, you will most likely still worry so one thing you can do to help yourself stop worrying is think or say to yourself “I am allowed to say no when I need to.”
Stop and Think
When someone asks something of you, you will probably say yes as an immediate response if you are a people pleaser. That is because, as stated before, people pleasing is a habit. To break this bad habit, stop and think before replying. You do not have to give an immediate response. It is okay to say “let me check and get back to you” so you can think things over before responding. Is this something you actually want to do? Would you rather be doing something else? Do you need time away from socializing to recharge? After thinking through these questions, you will be able to reach a conclusion easier. If you conclude that your response needs to be no, remember that is okay and that you are allowed to say no.
How to Actually Say No
So you’ve decided to decline someone’s offer, but how exactly do you say no? Many people pleasers believe that if they say no, it means that they are selfish, mean or uncaring. The fact of the matter is that is simply untrue. Think about this; do you think someone is being selfish when they say no to you? No? Then why do you believe these people are thinking that way about you? A step to overcoming this way of thinking is to first practice saying no to the little things. The more you say no, the easier it becomes. It is important to note that when saying no, you do not have to give an explanation or excuse. Just saying “No, thank you” or “Thank you for asking. It sounds fun, but I am not able to be there” is enough. Try not to over explain or apologize too much. This can subconsciously lower your self esteem and make you feel worse about saying no. It may also give the other person a chance to ask another favor of you that is undesired. Practicing saying no in these ways can really help you break your people pleasing habits and will make declining offers a lot easier.