Learning to say “No”



I’ve grown up most of my life pleasing other people.  I try my best to help or support a friend/family member whenever I can.

Maybe as we grow up and we have more and more responsibility, we are already committed to many “yes” which leaves less and less time for other committments.

Take me for example, I work full time and I live on my own.  I take a night course on Monday nights.  I play volleyball on Wednesday nights (now moving to Tuesday nights).  I volunteer with my youth on Thursday nights.  I train  in the mornings on at least 4 times a week (i.e., run and swim).

There are weeks when I am overwhelmed with keeping up with my own life.

I’ve learned to say, “no”, because I simply can’t commit.  (I loathe people who commit, and then cancel last minute!)

A polite “no” is better than a half hearted “yes”.

Always decline politely.  And if you would like to be included next time, express that interest.

Everyone’s schedule is different, and everyone has a different pace.  Figure out what your priorities are, and evaluate if accepted a new invitation will be in line with your priorities.

This usually results in me declining a fair bit of invites; however, my friends know that when I commit to something – they can count on me.  This works a lot better than an individual who accepts many invitations but ends up canceling last minute or really late because they double booked.  Of course, you can also be the awesome life of the party by being the individual who is always ready to par-tay 😉

Know you limitations, and ask for help if needed.

This is along the same line as saying no.  No one can do everything themselves, and no one expects you to do everything on your own.  But if you don’t speak up and ask for help, how would people even know you need help?

I remember when I first started at work, I pushed myself really hard to get a tasks completed for my bosses.   Not only did I realize that I should not have to push myself to  unreasonable limitations, I realized that everyone looks out for numero uno – themselves.  Which means that I need to be looking out for myself.

Now, if I am asked to do an unreasonable task, or if I know I don’t have enough resources to complete a certain task – I ask for help.

How saying “no” relates to minimalism

What I’ve learned so far about minimalism is that it is conscious decision to include or exclude something in your life.  No more stuffing things the closets or cupboards because we don’t want to think about it.  We look at what’s in our closets or cupboards – we look at our stuff – and we ask ourselves:

Does this object make my life better?

Does this object serve a purpose?

Would I be unhappy without this object?

Can I live a happy life without this object?

Can I give this object to someone else who may appreciate it more than me?

It’s all about making a conscious decision of what makes each of us happy or adds value to our life.  Yes, to those things that do.  And it’s also OK to say, “no” to those things that do not make our lives better.

How about you?  Do you have trouble saying, “NO”?  How do you evaluate if you want to commit to something?

3 Responses to “Learning to say “No””

  1. Jersey Mom Says:

    I agree and those are very good questions to ask ourselves. I usually don’t have problems saying “No” to people unless it’s something important to the few people that are very important to me (husband, sister, and mom).

    And what a busy life you have! =)

  2. Hmm, I do have a tendency to get sucked in at work and keep adding more duties. If I think something is a good idea, I feel compelled to do it. But I’ve learned to fight that by first looking at how much time some new activity/obligation will take me and what, if anything, I’ll have to sacrifice in order to engage in that activity.

  3. @ Jersey Mom:
    Yes, it is quite busy – as you can see, I have trouble saying “no”, still 😛

    @ Simple in France:
    I think that’s a great way to evaluate whether I want to commit to something – thinking about what I need to sacrifice to engage in something. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: