Mar 09

The People Pleaser: Learning How to Say No

people pleaser

Nothing’s wrong in saying “No”

Are you a people pleaser?

Do you find it hard to say “No” to people?

If a friend asks you for a favor but you’re too busy to do it, do you have the courage to say no?

When you’re out to the movies with your girlfriend, are you brave enough to tell her that you want to watch the action movie instead of sleeping through the chick flick she’s been waiting to see?

There’s a people pleaser in all of us whether you’d like to admit it or not especially when it comes to our loved ones.  Part of being a good person makes us put the needs of others above ours which is a good thing.

Sometimes it feels good to be needed.  It feels good that people can rely on us and run to us in their moment of need.  We feel we’re important to this person’s life that they turn to us all the time.

For some, the approval of other people serves as their confidence-booster.  If they say no, they worry that they’ll be viewed as unreliable, selfish, and lazy.  They fear that people will dislike them for putting over his need over theirs.

But just like everything else in this world, saying “Yes” too much can potentially become a risk.

Here are some useful tips you can do to learn to say “No”.


Be honest

If you really can’t do someone a favor because it will cost you time, money, or happiness, then just say it.  It’s not being selfish to take care of ourselves first.  Taking care of other people’s need by sacrificing yours is noble but if this will cost you your own happiness, then it’s not worth it.

I used to be guilty of this.  Even when I’m swamped with things to do, when a colleague asks me for help, I always say yes most of the time.  The result?  I ended up spending more time in the office to finish up my other tasks when I could have finished everything on time.


There’s always a choice

“Yes” is not always the answer.  There is an option to say “No” if you didn’t get the memo.  You shouldn’t feel guilty for refusing to give in to other people’s needs.

“Can you do this for me?”

“Can you check for me?”

“Would you mind doing this?”

All answerable by a yes or no.


Learn to prioritize

There’s a perfect time to say “Yes” and a perfect time to say “No”.  Knowing your priorities will help you come up with the better choice.

If you have time to spare and a friend asks you to accompany him to the grocery to buy something, go.  Doing him a favor won’t cost you any inconvenience.

If a relative invited you to a party but you have a date with your wife you have scheduled prior, I don’t see why you can’t say no to it.


Stall if you can

You don’t necessarily have to say “Yes” immediately.  If you think there will be complications to saying yes, just tell the other person to give you time to think about it and that you will get back to him as soon as you’ve come up with a decision.

It’s better for you to stall than to say yes immediately then back out the last minute because of conflicts you didn’t realize existed because you failed to think about it first.


Set a time frame

Make it clear that while you’re willing to help, you’re also not a convenience store that’s open 24/7.  It’s okay to say “hey, I can help you out but I’ll only be free till 8pm.”


Check if you’re being manipulated already

As much as we would like to see the good in everyone, there will be times when you will come across people who will try to take advantage of your kindness.  It’s quite easy to spot manipulators.  They sound insincere and they will try to oversell your abilities.

“Hey dude, you’re the best graphic designer I know.  Would you mind creating a logo and website for this business I’m trying to put up?”  Yeah right!


Is it worth the “Yes”?

I posted an article before about being right vs being happy where I touched on learning to choose your battles.  You can read this article by clicking below:

Would you rather be right or be happy?

This is somewhat similar in that you need to determine if saying “yes” is all worth it.  If your boss asked you to come up with the monthly report in the next hour, it’s definitely worth it because your job depends on it compared to a request from a friend to pickup his laundry on your way home.


Avoid coming up with excuses

This is the worst thing that can happen in such a scenario.  You sounding defensive by coming up with excuses.  If you really can’t do what others are asking you to, just say it.  This is a better choice rather than coming up with multiple excuses that will   just make you look bad.

“Sorry I can’t” sounds a lot better than “Oh I’m sorry but I have this thing…”


Don’t feel guilty

Our own happiness should always come first above everything.  Learn to accept that can’t be there for everyone every time they need you and that it’s not your fault.

Superman helps the people of Metropolis but can he be in Gotham City too if they need him?  That’s why they have Batman there.


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions

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