Being Happy – Saying No

This post is the second part of a series on Being Happy.  Links to the other posts in this series are at the end of the post.

When I decided to be happier I knew that I needed to make more time for myself.  I had over scheduled myself a bit and found myself out two to three nights a week.  Perhaps not a lot for some people, but I’m a bit of a homebody.  Being home recharges my batteries and being out that many times a week, even for an extra hour or two, was taxing.  The problem was that I didn’t know when or how to say no when someone wanted some of my time.

Below are some helpful guidelines to use for deciding when to say no and how to say it.

Deciding when to say no:

  1. Do you want to? Really think about it.  Do you want to do it?  Does the request make you excited or leave you with a feeling of dread?  If you’re not excited about the request or dreading it then say no!
  2. Check your schedule. Make sure that the request works with your schedule.  If you’re like me and like to have a few weeknights at home, then take that into consideration when making your decision.
  3. Check your priorities. Is the request in line with your current priorities?  If you have a commitment to doing mission work then volunteering at the local food bank might be right up your alley.  If you have a commitment to being home every night by 9pm so you can have some down time, then being out late isn’t in line with your priorities.
  4. Say No to something else. Do you really want to say yes to the request but it doesn’t fit into your schedule?  Perhaps this is an opportunity to review the other activities you’re doing and decide if you still want to do them or if they are still in line with your priorities.  If an existing activity doesn’t fit any more, then it might be time to say no to it and open up space for something else.

How to say no:

  1. Be brief. You don’t need to explain everything that went into making your decision.  Saying no can be as simple as “That doesn’t work with my schedule” or “That’s the right fit for me.”
  2. Be honest. Don’t make something up to get out of something.  You’ll both feel better about it later and you don’t have to keep track of fibs.
  3. Say No. Seems straight forward right?  Remember phrases like “I think that” or “right now” or “I’m not sure” make the other person think you might change your mind later.  Be clear with your response and let them know you’re not interested.
  4. Repeat.  Even when you’re clear with someone, they might ask you again later to see if anything has changed.  Be kind and let them know the answer hasn’t changed.

Do you have any additional guidelines that you use?  Let me know in the comments!

Other posts in this series:
Being Happy – The Start
Being Happy – Saying No
Being Happy – Stop Complaining
Being Happy – Change Your Negative Self Talk
Being Happy – Have Fun
Being Happy – Decluttering
Being Happy – The Conclusion

4 thoughts on “Being Happy – Saying No

  1. Tip 3 is the one I find most challenging — it’s hard not to want to put it “nicely” but if we don’t just say “no” clearly people do think there’s room to negotiate. Good tips!

  2. I agree with Michelle, step 3 is the toughie for me too. Even so, I’ve gotten better about saying no. All I had to do was accept I wasn’t really being selfish, I was just taking better care of me and my time. 🙂

  3. Accepting that we aren’t being selfish when saying no and are taking better care of ourselves can be very hard! It took me a long time to be able to say no without wanting to give five minutes of reasons why 🙂

  4. Great tips Evie. All very necessary to be able to sent resourceful boundaries. I remember for myself – when I learned to say no and I was congruent and non aplogetic my boundary setting…. my comfort with being able to say no – soared.

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