Feeling overbooked and overtired thanks to agreeing to all the invitations, favors, assignments and dates that come your way? If you are, you probably know that you could avoid this kind of burnout by just saying no, but it’s not always so easy to do. At least not without feeling guilty or caving in at the slightest pressure. But if you want to lighten your load and save your sanity, it’s time to set some boundaries and stick to them, which means saying “no” more.
These tips can help you get comfy and feel confident responding with a “nope”:
- Make “let me get back to you on that” your go-to phrase - Saying “yes” may seem easier than finding the strength to say “no,” that is until you’re up against a deadline you shouldn’t have agreed to or you’re on a cringey third date. So instead, give yourself a built-in grace period by saying you’ll get back to them when you’re put on the spot.
- Get your FOMO under control with a “no for now” - If you’re worried that saying no to a friend today will get you blacklisted from fun invitations forever, decline for the present, but leave the door open for the future. “Sorry, I can’t go this weekend, but please, please let me know next time” will do the trick.
- Know your audience - Telling a friend “I can’t” is fine, but at work? You’ll want to tweak it to something more like, “That won’t be possible” or “Unfortunately, that’s not an option.”
- Customize your “no” - Adding some high praise to your “no” can make it easier to accept. When passing on a friend’s charity dinner, toss in a compliment, like, “I don’t have the cash to spare right now, but I think you’re amazing for putting this together and I’m proud of you.”
- Pull the power “no” - As in don’t respond at all. This works best for unsolicited sales pitches, sketchy dating app messages and texts from toxic people you’ve broken ties with and don’t deserve your good graces.