4 Reasons Some People Have a Hard time Saying No

One of my favorite lines in Sarah Bareilles song King of Anything is this “All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy while I just hurt and hide, waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide.”  That line depicts that the girl always gives but hardly receives, so this time she wants someone to say that it’s okay for her to do what she wants without everybody’s approval. On the other hand, I’ve recently watched a movie entitled “Hello, Love, Goodbye”  and in that movie, the main character was a domestic helper in Hongkong. She always worked, day and night to provide the needs of her family in the Philippines, even did some jobs that she didn’t like. There were two scenes that touched my heart, the first one was when her sister asked her to buy new pair of shoes but she was hesitant to buy it because she was saving money for her visa in Canada. Yet, she didn’t say no because she loved her sister and she was used to choosing her family’s happiness than her’s. And the second one was when her boyfriend told her that if she really loved him she would not leave Hongkong, of the main character immediately disagreed and said that she loved the guy, however, this time she wanted to choose herself, her own happiness. So my question is, what do you think is the similarity of the girl in Sarah Bareilles’ song and the girl in the movie that I’ve watched? Easy, both of them are not assertive but eventually learned to stand for themselves. So, have you ever wondered why some people have a hard time saying no? Here’s the list.

  1. They see themselves as no good.

People who have a hard time saying no believe that they don’t deserve everything because they think lowly of themselves. They just accept what people want, to supply the lack of self-worth. I had an ex-colleague who was like that, I noticed that when our co-workers would ask for her help she would accept it outright even though she was not yet done with her own work. So, it turned out she had to take overtime just to finish the work that she left. I asked her about that and she said that it was because she felt like her job was not that important and helping our fellow workers was the only way that she could make up for every time she made a mistake.

2. According to Karen Horney, they have a neurotic need for affection and approval.

And because they are afraid of rejections, criticisms, and hostility of other people, saying no, dreads them.


  1. They think of the benefits they will get.                                                                                      Erich Fromm believes that these people have a character type called marketing where they accept what people want from them as long as they received something in return.

  1. They simply love to help.

Some people just love the feeling of helping others, to the point that they do multitask just to help both themselves and other people.

So, what can you do about it?

First and foremost you need to work on your self-esteem and after that follow these helpful tips from Savvy Psychologist by Dr. Ellen Hendriksen.



Creator, Nerdy (2016, May 23). 6 Revealing Reasons Why People Are So Eager to Please. Nerdy Creator. Retrieved August 26, 2019.

F. Diane Barth (2016, January 15). Why Is It Hard to Say “No” and How Can You Get Better At It?. Psychology Today. Retrieved August 26, 2019.

Hendriksen, Ellen (2019, April 19). How to Say No (Without Feeling Guilty). Quick and Dirty Tips. Retrieved August 26, 2019

Cherry, Kendra (2019, June 13). Fromm’s Character Orientations. VeryWellMind. Retrieved from August 26, 2019.

Cherry, Kendra (2019, July 15). Karen Horney’s Theory of Neurotic Needs. VeryWellMind. Retrieved from August 26, 2019.

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  1. Hi Jessica, this was a really good start to the topic. Love how you used pop culture to draw your audience in. The examples are great, but the lists could definitely be longer. 🙂 Anyone else wants to share their reasons for saying no?

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