Saying ‘no” can be difficult, and for others, this might be a completely terrifying experience. There is pressure in telling others no. There is a constant worry of what others might think of you, and the fear of missing out on something.
Or there is the possibility of feeling like if you say “no” too many times that people will stop coming to ask for your help.
The first thing I want you to do is this: stop worrying about what others think of you.
Your main priority needs to be centered on taking care of yourself and your family. Everything else comes second.
So how do you say no more without feeling guilty and worrying about what others think? Well, it’ll take some practice, but here are 5 easy ways with examples you can use.
5 Easy Ways to Say No Without the Guilt
1. Prioritize Your Schedule
One of the best things you can do is sit down and plan your daily and weekly schedule. You can do this in a planner or on your phone. Use something that you will refer to often.
When someone asks you to volunteer or fulfill a need and you don’t have time, be completely honest. People admire honesty because 9 out of 10 times is they’ve been there themselves.
This is the possible conversation you can have: “Thank you for thinking of me for the Bake-a-thon (or insert the desired task here), however, I will have to decline. My schedule is very full right now.”
2. Think of Your Wallet
Sometimes people will ask you to volunteer your time. The second thing people will often ask for is donations. Donations can include their children’s fundraisers, community events, (the list can go on forever).
If you have the funds and think, “I can spare $5, $10, etc.” then fantastic! You’re in a position that not many people are in. However, if you’re barely balancing the books and financially struggling then you’ll want to say no without letting others know your financial situation.
This is the possible conversation you can have: “That (insert fundraiser or request for the donation) sounds like a great cause. However, I will have to decline this time. I did not budget the money for the donation, but thank you for thinking of me.”
3. Compliment & Decline
It’s one thing to be at work or picking up your child from school and approached to do something. It’s another game entirely when others come to your home.
Sometimes you feel backed into a corner and invite them in because you don’t want to be rude. But remember, your time is valuable and your home belongs to you: it’s your safe haven.
It doesn’t matter if your attention is on your family, a great book, or if you want to stare at a bit of wall because you’ve had a long day. It’s very possible (and easy) to say no more without feeling guilt by declining a home visit.
This is the possible conversation you can have: “Thank you (Name) for coming over tonight. I’m sorry I’m a bit busy at the moment and cannot invite you in. If you’d like to get together another time, text me your availability and let’s find something that works for both of us.” (Only suggest the get-together if YOU want it, otherwise, you can end before that last sentence.)
4. Propose Another Idea
If someone asks you to volunteer your time for your local community 5K but you’d rather bring the water bottles, then use your current desire to help to your advantage.
I will provide a warning, do NOT ask for something else because you feel guilty you’re not doing anything. ONLY request another opportunity if you genuinely have the time. Remember, your self-care is extremely important and your family is counting on you to take care of yourself.
This is the possible conversation you can have: “Thank you for asking me, but I’m not able to volunteer my time. However, I would love to donate # packs of water bottles. What size do you need for the runners?”
5. Maintain Honesty
Be honest with yourself and be honest with those around you. People will respect you more if you’re honest than if you lie to get out of something.
It’s completely okay to say no and to make sure your needs are being met. You already have a lot on your plate with caring for your family, work, church responsibilities, and other daily demands. Sometimes the best policy really is the honest one.
This is the possible conversation you can have: “Thank you for asking me to do XYZ (insert request here), but I’m going to have to be honest about my time and decline for now.”
As you prioritize your schedule, think of your wallet, provide genuine compliments, suggest another idea, and maintain honesty, you’ll begin to notice how easy it is to say “no.”
Remember, there will come into your life different opportunities and times. As the children grow you might find you have extra time on your hands while they’re at school. Great! If you feel the need, volunteer, but only if you want to.
By saying no you are releasing from yourself unnecessary stress and pressure. You’re thinking about your own health, needs, and self-care. Is there a way you tell others no? Leave a comment below and let us know.
P.S. Don’t forget to sign-up for our weekly newsletter where you’ll receive practical tips, inspiration, and a friend in your inbox saying hello!