5 Signs You Should Say “No” More Often, 5 Steps To Do It More Confidently

Hey, Psych2Goers! How are you with personal boundaries? Do you find it hard saying “No” to people? Do you feel uncomfortable saying it? Saying “Yes” to things could bring several opportunities but it could also lead you to difficult and painful situations. Situations you could have avoided if you were only capable of saying “No” and knowing when to say it. So, here are 5 signs when you should say “No” more often. 

  1. Your Body Feels Fatigued. 

Denying your feelings but your body will tell the truth for you. According to the World Health Organization (2021), the stress that people gain from long hours and tasks at work contributes to the increasing number of health problems workers are experiencing. They easily get sick and eventually quit their jobs. So, when your body tells you to say “No” then you should probably pay attention. 

  1. When Your Quality of Work Declines.

They say it’s better to let the work speak for itself. So when your quality of work declines, maybe it’s time to assess the commitments you make. You try so hard to cover all our responsibilities that the quality of what you give already suffers. In any situation you find yourself in, quality is always better than quantity. 

  1. You Have No Time For Far More Important Things.

Do you find it difficult to find time to go to important life events? Time management is a valuable skill. But the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (1989) says you cannot manage time, you can only manage yourself. Knowing your priorities will help you set boundaries. Saying “Yes” to fleeting and random things is saying “No” to the moments that actually matter.

  1. You’re Losing Your Motivation. 

Have you experienced saying “Yes” to things that ended feeling too much or too burdensome? The drive theory of motivation says that you are motivated to do things because it keeps the balance of your body (Cherry, 2021). So, when you’re committing too much, your body loses its balance affecting your motivation. You may say “Yes” but you will not have the same energy to do it anymore.

  1. Losing Your Sense of Self

When you want to impress people you try to say “Yes” to everything they want. But when you get to a point of committing to the things far from who you are, “No” should be your option. There is no opportunity nor relationship worth pursuing when the sense of who you are.

Saying “No” can be difficult. But saying with confidence can be more challenging. Sometimes, even if you say “No”, people don’t believe you. Maybe because you are too shy in saying it. So, here are 5 steps you can make for your “Nos” to be seen as real boundaries.

  1. Check In With Yourself. 

Check-in with yourself once in a while. Assess what you are getting into and see if they align with who you are and what you believe in. Knowing who you are and understanding yourself is the only way you will make the best decision. Self-care is not selfish.

  1. Believe in your skills and capacity.

Now that you have assessed yourself, it is time to believe in your skills. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief that they can succeed in their endeavors (Cherry, 2021). Believing that you have the capacity and the skills to offer will give your more confidence in setting the boundaries. When you know your skills, you will be able to stand firmly for yourself and not be directed to do just whatever anyone wants. 

  1. Set Boundaries Fairly (A No is A No). 

Now that you are reminded of your priorities and skills, you need to start setting those boundaries fairly. Saying “No” should be equal among colleagues, peers, and even family. Putting these boundaries without exceptions will let them know your priorities are non-negotiable.

  1. Offer Alternatives. 

If they find it hard to solve their issues without you then offer alternative solutions. Maybe, you can give them a timetable or another person to do it for them. This will reiterate your boundaries and will allow them to know which favors you can and cannot answer.

  1. Just Do It. 

There is no greater practice than to just do it. You will never be able to build your confidence until you practice it. Start with the small stuff like saying “No” to a weekend trip with a group of friends because you’re tired from work. Then say “No” to your family when they ask you for your time during the most important time in your career. When you start doing this, you will understand what you truly want, how people will react to it, and how you’ll handle it better the next time. 

Final Thought

Boundaries are difficult to create. You never want to miss out on anything. You want to impress people and make them think that you can do it all. It may be nice to say “Yes” to every opportunity or request they ask you. But you’re only human, you have your boundaries. These boundaries might bend sometimes but they should never be broken. Because once it’s broken, you might find it difficult to fix.


Cherry, K. (2020, July 22). How self efficacy helps you achieve your goals. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-efficacy-2795954 

Cherry, K. (2021, April 17). What motivation theory can tell us about human behavior. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/theories-of-motivation-2795720#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20drive%20theory,the%20internal%20state%20of%20thirst. 

Covey, S. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon & Schuster. 

Word Health Organization. (2021, May 17). Long working hours increasing deaths from heart disease and stroke: Who, ilo. World Health Organization. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.who.int/news/item/17-05-2021-long-working-hours-increasing-deaths-from-heart-disease-and-stroke-who-ilo

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