The importance of saying “no”

The importance of saying “no”

by Natalie Dau 20 Feb 2020

We’ve all been faced with situations where we’ve wanted to say “no” but for some reason or another, couldn’t. For some of us, it may even be near impossible to say “no” to someone without being wracked by guilt. This compulsion to please others is neither uncommon, nor is it something to be ashamed of. After all, the desire to be liked by others is only human. Nonetheless, not being able to turn someone down can take its toll mentally and physically, so the importance of saying “no” cannot be overstated. Still need convincing? Here are a few reasons you should consider:


1. You create your own boundaries in your relationships

Something we often forget is that our relationships with others don't come with pre-determined boundaries. When you find yourself navigating a newly established relationship, there’s no harm in setting boundaries. In fact, doing so could save you grief in the future, and ensure that you’re not walked all over by people who don’t know enough to expect anything different.


2. You’re responsible for your actions, not others’ reactions

It’s easy to value an action by the reaction it elicits in others, even if it’s one that you disagree with personally. Rather than dwell on how well-liked your office’s resident “yes-man” seems to be, keep your own best interests at heart. If you can’t or don’t think you can handle an increased workload or put in overtime, say so. Be polite, be firm, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind.


3. Saying no improves your productivity

By saying “no”, you’ll find that you have more time to dedicate to the pursuit of your own work or interests, as well as more time to recover and rejuvenate. Rather than channelling your energy into making someone else happy, you’ll find yourself more focused on your own goals, and able to concentrate on what’s important to you.


Although the part of you that aims to be a people-pleaser, however small or large, may shy away when it comes to making tough decisions, saying no when you need to will ultimately benefit yourself. Saying “no” may be difficult at first, but don’t be afraid to commit your time and effort to what matters to you.