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Why It's Important To Say No

Updated on February 21, 2019

Remembering To Respect Yourself Enough To Enforce Your Boundaries

On top of the techniques that you can use in the short term to help yourself say no when you’re put on the spot, there are things that you can do that will help you feel better about saying no in the long term. These techniques will expand on the confidence that you earn every day by learning how to stick up for yourself and learning how to say no by giving you more resources and more opportunities to prove that you can stand up for yourself. The most important part of helping yourself learn how to say no is to find and enforce your own set of personal boundaries. The desire to say no is your free will’s way of working in your favor to help you focus on your own goals, stay true to yourself, and avoid distractions. Whenever you give in and decide to say yes to something that you would rather say no to, you’ll end up beating yourself up for it later. That’s because deep down, everyone wants to succeed. Everyone wants to make progress in their own lives and create for themselves. All of those things are handicapped if you find yourself focusing on everyone else’s wants and needs instead of your own. If you want to say no to something, there is always a reason. Trust and respect your instinct.

Start by figuring out where your general boundaries are and make the promise to yourself that you will not step over them. It’s easier to say no to things if you’ve already acknowledged the fact that they aren’t the types of things that you’d like to do, especially if you’ve already promised yourself that you won’t say yes in those situations. It’s even easier if you know that the people around you are aware of your boundaries. It’s fence building. We are the people that are in charge of teaching other people how we want to be treated.

So the first thing that you should do is take a moment to think about some of the different kinds of things that you don’t want to do. You can make a list if having it in front of you will help you remember it. Make sure that you tell yourself that these are things that you will not do, no matter what. Tell yourself that you’re going to stick by that, and if people start to push those boundaries, remember the list. Remind yourself that you already told yourself that you wouldn’t do those types of things.

Getting other people to respect your boundaries is going to be a little difficult if you’ve already proven that you don’t respect them yourself. If you’ve already accepted offers that you didn’t want to, or allowed things to happen that you weren’t comfortable with, then people are going to assume that you’re alright with those things. So when it comes to situations where people ask you to do something that you want to say no to, but you’ve already said yes to it before, remember that you need to stay strong. For example, imagine you’re already doing something that requires your full attention and someone walks up to you to ask a question. In this situation, you’ll want to tell the person that you can’t talk to them right at that moment while assuring them that you’d like to talk to them later. You can even tell them a specific time when you’d like to reconnect to have that discussion. But it’s just as important to point out that you’re already busy and that is why you can’t talk right now. It’ll set the groundwork for the unspoken rule that if you’re obviously busy people need to be more respectful about approaching you and distracting you.

Maintaining the boundaries that you have set for yourself will involve a certain sense of training other people, especially if your previous actions have confused them on where your boundaries are. Doing that can be as simple as turning off your phone or not answering it when coworkers call during times that you aren’t willing to speak with them. You can even passively add a note into your voicemail to push them to call during times when you’ll be willing to talk by adding your office hours into it. If they ask you about it later, just firmly and politely let them know that you don’t take work calls at certain hours. It is building fences like these that will help you reach your own goals, because instead of opening yourself up to handing out favors at all hours of the day, you’ll be setting aside time for yourself. Just remember that effective communication is an important part of setting your boundaries, and you are never going to be in the wrong for putting your comfort first.

Why Saying No Is A Valuable Skill

As difficult as it might be sometimes, being able to say no is a valuable and important skill. It’s important to make sure that your own personal boundaries are being respected, and nobody can respect those boundaries if they don’t know what they are. There are so many things that can be improved if you can gain enough confidence to learn how to stick up for yourself in situations where you would like to say no, but you feel as though you can’t. It is so important that at times, not having this skill is what could be standing in between you and your happiness. Not having this skill is what will make you say yes to your bosses when they approach you about doing things that you don’t want to do. It’s also what will make you say yes when you’re asked for financial support from others, even when you don’t have enough money to spare to be sharing. It will also make you say yes when you’re asked to put yourself in positions that make you feel uncomfortable; like going out on dates with people that you’re not interested in, wearing clothes that your friends suggest for you that aren’t your style, and a plethora of other situations that come from an endless of unwelcome requests. By learning how to set your own boundaries and sticking to them, you will find that you’ve given yourself the opportunity to do things for yourself and for your own best interest. Fewer things will distract you and you there will be fewer unwanted intrusions in your life.

Saying no to things will open you up to being involved in more situations where you would want to say yes. For instance, if someone asks you to take on an extra responsibility that you don’t want and you say yes, then you not only end up in a situation that might make you uncomfortable, but you also lose out on the time that you spent taking care of that responsibility. If you had just said no, you would have all of that time for yourself to do something that you will actually enjoy. This improvement can be short term when it comes to responsibilities that don’t take very much time or that you only have to worry about once, but they can be long term too. If you turn down a job offer that you don’t want, you open yourself up to being able to use all of that time doing a job that you’d actually enjoy instead.

But it goes beyond the obvious reason. Not only does not being able to say no put you in situation that you don’t want to be part of, but there are other downfalls as well. Not being able to say no is a symptom of a bigger cause. Those that are incapable of saying no or find themselves extremely uncomfortable in situations where they would like to are probably insecure or timid in other areas of their lives as well. When you learn how to get better at sticking up for yourself when you don’t want to do things, you’ll also become confident enough to get better at sticking up for yourself in other areas of your life. Gaining confidence when it comes to sticking up to yourself will lead you to feeling better about yourself in other ways too. Sometimes, those that don’t know how to stick up for themselves feel as though they are less than in some way or another. They feel as though they shouldn’t say no because they’re afraid of what will happen. Once they figure out that everything will be okay, even if they do say no, they’ll realize that they are more capable than they previously thought that they were, and they might start to re-evaluate some of the other things that they didn’t think they could do before.


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