How To Say No Without Feeling Guilty

how to say no

Let me guess.

You’re tired of doing things you don’t want to do. But something holds you back from saying no. On the other hand, you know saying yes it’s a big waste of time.

Something needs to be changed. The question is: How could you say ‘’no’’ without feeling so bad about it?

Read this article and find out.

Never do things you don’t care about:

Two years ago, I decided to learn French.

I thought I ‘’should’’ learn this language because it’s ‘’good to know’’. So, I blocked time in my schedule for that.

But for one reason or another, I couldn’t get started. I was just procrastinating. ‘’Learn french’’ was in my to-do list for 6 months.

I told myself all the time:

  • ‘’I’ll get to it later’’
  • ‘’I’m tired today’’
  • ‘’I’ll do it tomorrow’’
  • And other excuses.

Finally, I realized I won’t do anything at all.

The reason?  I really don’t care about learning French. I should have not bothered to put it in my calendar.

It’s just an example. I got through similar situations many times. When you say ‘’I really should do that’’, that’s the code for ‘’I won’t do anything’’.

Say NO to the things you ‘’SHOULD’’ do. They just make you feel guilty, lazy and depressed. 

Stop worrying about them.

You will save yourself a ton of time. Instead of procrastinating, you can do something that matters.

If you don’t really want to do something, that’s perfectly fine. Remember you have only 24 hours/day. They’re not enough to do everything.

Be a real friend:

If you apply my first tip, you’ll see how great is to say no. 

And you’ll have more courage to say the same to other people.

However, how can you say no in a nice way? Without hurt anyone’s feelings? Without being rude? 

Well, the best way is to tell always the truth. Most of us never do that. We say yes just to please others. And when we say no, we also make excuses.

The #1 excuse is: ‘’I’m busy’’

Come on! If someone tells you that, would you believe him? 

Don’t make excuses with your friends. Tell them the truth.

You can say something like ‘’I can’t help you/hang out because [AUTHENTIC REASON]’’.  You can say exactly what you do. 

Maybe you want to work more. Maybe you need to go to a networking event. Maybe you’re just too tired and all you want is to binge-watch Netflix.

Say these things. You can also say ‘’I don’t want to do that’’ if that’s on your mind.

Understand that “no” isn’t cruel. 

By itself, saying no isn’t rude, mean, or uncaring. You have every right to set boundaries for yourself. After all, your friends do, and people still like them.

You teach others to treat you by how you behave. When they see you can say ‘’no’’ you also:

  • Make them value your time and commitments.
  • Force you to be honest with yourself about what’s important.
  • Free up your mental energy to worry about the things you care about.

If a person insist to help her, don’t give up. Wait until she gives up.

Think about that from another point of view: When you say no to others, you say yes to yourself. 

You have more time on your hands. You have more control. And you even have more confidence. You respect yourself more and so will others. 

They might not like you as much, but if they are trying to step over your boundaries, they probably don’t like you anyway. The truth is you’re not responsible for the others.  They can refuse you, so why you can’t do the same with them? 

Being nice is a BIG waste of time. While being nice makes you likable, being inauthentic makes you hate yourself. 

You can help a friend at work on a Friday night. But do it once and you’ll end up doing the same thing again. Why? Because you invested in the friendship and she’ll ask for help again knowing it’s hard for you to say no.

That’s what being nice does.

It makes you avoid what you want, waste your precious time and it is obsessed with doing what others want. 

Being authentic is better.  You can still be nice but learn to do it in alignment with yourself.


It’s hard to say no. 

But if you want to be successful, you need to value your time. You can’t waste it doing things you don’t give a damn about. 

Spend most of your time on yourself and make sure you care about what you’re doing. And stop feeling guilty about it.

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