Self Improvement

Stop Saying ‘Yes’ All the Time—10 Tips to Get You to ‘No’

Our brains are working against us. But you can gain control.

Alex Bentley
5 min readMar 14, 2022

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Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Saying “no” is hard.

It’s one of the most difficult things we can do, even when we know it’s the right thing to do.

For many of us, it feels like we’re being a bad person when we say no. We worry about disappointing the other person, or making them angry. We worry they won’t like us anymore if we say no.

But why do we feel like this way the moment we deliver the bad news?

The answer is because our brains are working against us.

When we’re confronted with a request, our brain goes into overdrive. It comes up with all the reasons we should say yes. Our brains think about all the other tasks or chores we can shift around to make time.

We might think about how it will make the other person happy, or how it will be good for our work career. We might also think about how saying no will make us look bad if the other person doesn’t get what they want from us.

Our brain is programmed to focus on the negative things that could happen if we say no. And this is because, historically, it was more important for our survival to avoid dangers than it was to seek opportunities.

But in today’s world, saying no isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can be really helpful for our careers and our relationships.

So, how can we make it easier on ourselves to say no?

There are 10 things you can do to make to make saying no easier.

1/Be clear about your boundaries

Know what you’re willing and unwilling to do.

Be upfront about it with the other person. If you’re not comfortable with something, don’t do it. It’s okay to set boundaries in your relationships. In fact, it’s healthy — although it’s not always a common social norm.

You can say something like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that,” or “That doesn’t work for me.”

2/Use “I” statements

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Alex Bentley

I write about crypto, personal finance, business & tech. Also, I publish a bit of humor to make you laugh.