When you need to learn to say NO!

The urge to please

The urge to please others is in built in all of us. One of the fundamental human needs is to feel loved and feel like we belong, therefore it’s natural to want others to like you and to include you. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of saying yes to please others. This cycle is neither healthy nor conducive to happiness. It’s important, as part of the journey to find happiness and success, to learn to say no!

When someone asks something of you, do you instinctively feel the need to say YES for fear of disappointing that person or perhaps for fear of missing out on an opportunity? Do you sometimes do this, even when you know you have too much on your schedule already? Do you say yes, even when it doesn’t feel right?

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It’s natural to enjoy the feeling of being needed and appreciated. Agreeing to everything can make you feel like you’re important. When you feel needed by others, powerful feel good chemicals are released in the brain. Oxytocin is the chemical responsible for trust and belonging and it has the strong effect of bonding us with others. It’s an important safety mechanism triggered in the part of our brain called the limbic brain which is responsible for telling us what is good and bad for us.


It's easy to get stuck in a cycle of saying yes to please others. Share on X



Learn to say no

The problem is, when you say yes to everything, at the expense of prioritising your own needs, you are sabotaging yourself and your success. Learning to say NO is part of finding your own happiness. Learning to say NO is part of being successful.

Don’t get me wrong, saying YES to new opportunities is fantastic. Saying YES when it’s a direct benefit to you is extremely wise. In fact I’m a massive advocate of saying yes to as many new opportunities as you can. There are huge things to be gained in saying yes to things that are new and scary. You can open new doors and create new opportunities.

Learning to say NO is part of being successful. Share on X

There is a time and a place for saying yes, and there are important times to know when to say no. There is nothing wrong with helping out friends and family. The key is to be able to identify when to say yes and when to say no. Saying no takes practice. It can be scary. You may have a FOMO moment (fear of missing out) or you might be worried about upsetting the person who’s asking . It is not your responsibility to make others feel good. It is your responsibility to look after yourself and your own needs first and foremost.

The key is to be able to identify when to say yes and when to say no. Share on X

When you need to learn to say no:

  • you are being taken advantage of
  • there is no direct benefit to you
  • your schedule is already over committed
  • you need to keep your options open for other possible opportunities
  • you’re already short on ‘me time’
  • you’re over stressed or sick
  • someone else can do the task or take on the responsibility equally as well
  • you need to give yourself a break
  • you don’t actually have what the other person needs




If you are someone who is constantly saying YES to everyone and anything, next time stop and give it some thought first. A simple response such as “Can I get back to you on that?” will give you the time to assess whether you really want or need to take on another responsibility. If any of the above scenarios feel like they apply, try saying NO next time. I promise you someone else will pick up the slack, it won’t be as bad as you think it will and it will all be ok.

24 Replies to “When you need to learn to say NO!”

  1. I love saying no.. and find it rather easy! Haha! Nice write up and agree that it’s so important to be assertive and say no when needed to.

  2. Oh my goodness, I think you wrote this just for me. At 37 I still can’t seem to stop saying yes to everything. I might have to read this post a few more times.

  3. I totally agree! Saying no is absolutely critical to a well-balanced, restful life that you actually enjoy. It applies to all parts of life, professional or not. Thanks for sharing! (Also, thansk for the free download in the middle there.)

  4. Omg! My boyfriend is one of those persons who can’t say no like ever!! He is always saying yes to everyone and we do have problems because of that he ends up missing important stuff because he wants to please everybody. Loved your post I’ll send it to him maybe will help him to understand he need to say no once in a while

  5. I am WAY beyond the stage of having to say “No.” Now I’m coping with the fallout, and have to say, “Sorry, but no longer . . . ” It’s far better to say “No” in the first place!

  6. Good list. People sometimes feel it’s easier to say yes and do it instead of saying, let me show you how to do it so you can do it in the future.

    1. That’s so true Jennifer. I am very guilt of this. Sometimes it’s just easier to do it yourself. But it’s important to learn to delegate as part of saying NO to doing things for other people.

  7. I am such a people pleaser and have a hard time saying know. I like your suggestion to tell someone that you “will get back to them” to by yourself some time to plan your and be comfortable with your no response you will ultimately give them. Great post!

    1. Ah yes, you’re not alone Nikki! Remember the way other people react is not something you can control. Helping is one thing, being taken advantage of is another. Make sure you’re doing what’s best for you 🙂

  8. One of the hardest things for me is saying no to something that I’ve done for someone in the past because they expect me to do it again. Sometimes I just can’t make the same commitments that I had previously and they always seem shocked and upset that I have had to say no.

    1. This is a difficult one Michaela. Something to remember is that you teach people how to treat you. So every time you say yes, it teaches them to ask again the next time. If they’re upset, remember that’s about them, not you. Good luck 🙂

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