#TIPTUESDAY: How to say NO without feeling guilty

We at Grow Daily believe your self-worth is less about measuring yourself based on external actions it is about who you are, not about what you do!

“Saying yes when you need to say no causes burnout. You do yourself and the person making the request a disservice by saying yes all of the time,”

Duke Robinson

  • Do you suffer from the desire to satisfy others?
  • Do you aim to please?
  • Do you find saying “no” to a request can be a hard thing to do?
  • Do you avoid introducing negativity into a conversation or worry someone may think less of you because you don’t agree?


Helping people can be fulfilling, but if you say yes to everyone who asks you’ll never be able to do it all. Saying no is about respecting your own time and making sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin, in order to value your self-worth it is important to recognise you can’t do it all and appreciate you should not feel guilty when you say “no”

In order to feel comfortable when saying “no” it is key to understand why we say yes so often, part of the reasoning for this it is that we are programmed to say “yes” it goes back to childhood… When Mum or a teacher asked us to do something, we were taught to say “yes.” We say yes because we don’t want to let people down and sometimes because we feel trapped. We feel bad that we’re not helping. We also say “yes” because it’s easier than saying “no,” and we would rather deal with our negative feelings than other people’s negative perceptions of us.

Here are some handy tips to say no without feeling guilty

Think before you speak

Your response to a request may depend on how you feel about the situation and who’s asking you for help, and whether you feel capable and or have the resources to assist with the request. In order to break the habit of giving an automatic “yes” response to requests from others, you need to delay your answer in order to think through your options carefully. Once you learn to insert time between an invitation, demand, or request and your reply, your sense of control will immediately increase. On the other hand if you know what your answer is going to be, give it when you’re asked. Don’t tell them that you’ll get back to them just to put off saying “no.” Don’t keep your partner hanging for days or weeks, hoping they’ll “forget” about it. They won’t.


Saying no comfortably and without guilt requires you to focus and to think about what is important to you. As you learn to eliminate unwanted obligations from your life, what are you making room for? When you can identify and embrace your priorities and focus on what you want more of—for example, time with the family, money for an important project or cause—you feel more justified saying no in order to pursue those goals. By staying true to your priorities and beliefs, “no” becomes a lot easier to say, and guilt goes out the window because it’s the right decision for you. Don’t over-fill your calendar with commitments that disrupts your focus and takes you away from the things that you want to do.

Briefly explain

Sometimes providing a “no” without context can seem a bit harsh depending on the nature of the request, you may want to explain why you’re saying no. But don’t go into too much detail or give your entire life story. It’s not necessary just be concise and honest. All you have to say is “no, I’m not able to” or “no, I don’t have enough time right now.” Feel free to throw in a “but thank you for asking/thinking of me”.

Offer alternative options

When you’re confronted with a situation in which you have to say “no,” your approach is going to depend on the circumstances. For example, you might decline a request from your boss a bit differently than you would a relative or a friend. A major key to saying “no” is to include an alternative form of support. E.g. some quick tips, or suggest something or someone who might be able to help. The “alternative” should be something that you are willing to give (or do) because it is easier, less complicated, it doesn’t cost money, or it just feels good for you to offer. It should not be something that takes more of your time.






#TIPTUESDAY: How to say NO without feeling guilty

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