5 ways of saying NO effectively for the sake of your mental well-being

Published on:21 January 2020, 09:30am IST
No means no–then be it for that pushy colleague or that irritating aunt. Learn to master the subtle art of saying no with this polite guide.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Always saying yes can drain you out both physically & mentally. GIF courtesy: GIPHY

Being selfless is fine but at times you need to be a little selfish and say NO if you want to keep your mental peace intact. Saying yes can be your weakness but not at the cost of your mental well-being. 

So, if you too are a member of the “yay” club then you’ll be well aware of the fact that you can’t keep everyone happy. And saying yes all the time, especially when you really want to say no, you end up feeling over-burdened. Isn’t it?

And that’s why at times shamelessly saying no can actually save you from unwanted stress. And this is even backed by the Mayo Clinic.       

“Saying ‘no’ is not something that comes naturally to the majority of people,” says Susan Newman, PhD, social psychologist and author of The Book of NO—250 Ways to Say It—and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever

In her book, she adds:

For some, saying ‘yes’ is a habit, frequently an automatic response; for others, saying ‘yes,’ agreeing to take on whatever is asked, is an addiction.

We know you must be nodding in affirmation while thinking: how to say no, baba? After all, you don’t want to hurt anyone right? That’s why doing it subtly is the trick.

So, embrace yourself ladies as we present to you five ways of saying no without offending anyone

1. Stop beating around the bush
Our brain is wired to judge and doubt the intentions of others and if you keep cooking top lofty tales instead of saying no outright the other person might feel that you are trying to convince them. Instead, be firm when you say no and provide a strong reason to back it. Trust us it won’t offend the other person.

2. Switch on your Sherlock mode and understand people’s intention before saying yes
This happens a lot in a professional world where people take undue advantage–especially of their subordinates. But to deal with it tactfully you need to be a little smart. Judge the intention of the person you are dealing with–for instance, whether the work s/he is asking for is even your priority. You can very well say that you can do it but it will take some time. And if the work doesn’t pertain to your KRAs at all–feel free quote that reason and refuse taking it on.

Faking emotions at workplace
Always saying yes to everyone can make you feel unhappy and unsatisfied inside. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

3. Talk back magar pyaar se
Be it your boss or relatives–at times you can get caught up in unrealistic expectations. But you can deal with them by being polite. You can tell them that you already have so much on your plate and this will take some time. For family, all we can tell you is–talk it out.

4. Be firm and don’t let that “please” put undue pressure on you
Just saying please won’t shift the responsibility on you, so don’t take that much load if someone is tugging on that cord. Or here’s a quickie–use the same trick with them. No one is stopping you from saying “please no!”.

5. It’s perfectly fine to be a little selfish
Being selfish is actually beneficial says a report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Now even science says it too so why can’t you take this leap?

Now that you know how to say no, it’s time to try them out. And here’s another tip for you and i.e. you need to set the expectation right so that people don’t take advantage of your yes-saying habits. 

So, give a break to this undying urge of pleasing people by being a yay-sayer and put your mental well-being fore by saying a BIG FAT NO! 

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.