Why Are You Still Saying “Yes”?

Admit it: you say “yes” to others way more often than you want to.

You are not alone – so often people say “yes” when they really want to say “no”, but why do we do this, and how can we stop this? Let’s explore a few of the reasons why we say yes and why we don’t want to, but should, say no at times.

Sometimes, we say yes to others because we don’t want to come off as mean or rude. We want to come off as kind, generous, helpful or some other variation of nice. We don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings by saying no. We over extend ourselves and try to make nice because if you make nice, people will like you. Right? Possibly, but what happens when you constantly say yes? People begin to almost expect it and know that you are the person that can always be reliable and will always help or say yes.

By: Angelica Beker, LPC-Intern Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

By: Angelica Beker, LPC-Intern
Supervised by Lora Ferguson, LPC-S

How does this begin to make you feel though? Resentful? Angry? Annoyed? Maybe all of the above. Often times, in my work, I’ve noticed people will say yes because they are afraid of rejection. They feel that if they say no, then someone may get “mad” at them and reject them because they were not willing to say yes or do whatever was asked; however, we cannot always be available.

Taking care of ourselves is extremely important. If we cannot take care of ourselves, it becomes difficult to take care of others and say yes to them. Overextending yourself will eventually make you feel tired and possibly resentful on the inside towards whomever you are saying yes to. Leaning on other people’s approval will not allow you to grow as an individual – know your worth and your needs.

Here are a few helpful tips on saying “NO” when you really are not up to saying “YES”:

1) Be direct and honest.

Especially as adults, it is important to stand for what we need. If someone is a true friend and/or valued family member, they will understand that sometimes you need to say no.

2) Saying no now will lead to less resentment down the road.

We cannot always be there for someone. You do not want to say yes to someone over and over just to have resentment build up in the future. Do not set yourself up for that.

3) Be polite and offer to say yes another time, if you can.

If your best friend asks you to come help move furniture and you just worked an 11 hour work day and are exhausted, it is ok to say no. You can be polite and say, “I had a really long work day and I am exhausted. Could I help you another day this week?”

4) In a work environment, we do not want to be rude or come off as unhelpful.

Sometimes, people worry if they say no, they may lose their job; however, even at work, we cannot always say yes. If you have too many projects or commitments on your table, be honest. Try to meet someone in the middle by offering whatever help you can. You don’t want your work ethic to suffer because you are saying yes to everyone and overextending your energy and efforts.

5) Finally, know your worth.

Know that your worth is not determined solely on how often you say yes. Know that sometimes it is OK to say no. It is ok to take that time for yourself. You do not want to live in a state of guilt or resentment because you are constantly saying yes to others. You will feel happier and more in control of your life if you are able to make decisions based on what your needs require first. Remember that you are a generous person and that you do say yes, and you are helpful whenever you are feeling your best.