Learn To Say No Without Explaining Yourself

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It’s Sunday night and you just remembered you agreed to bake 3 dozen cupcakes for your son’s school bake sale and you are scheduled to take dinner to a friend after they have returned from surgery. Your phone rings and a friend is calling to ask you for a favor. You respond “sure, no problem.” You get off the phone asking yourself “why did I say yes?”

I hear these types of scenarios from friends, fellow mom’s, co-workers and clients all the time. The other scenario is you actually say no but it comes with a long explanation. You start to feel that guilt creeping in for saying no. Something happens and you feel this need to give an explanation. I know, I was one of these people. As soon as I can hear the explanation coming from my mouth, I would wonder “why can’t I just say no and be done!”

I have gotten much better over time and with practice. Keep reading if you want to know why you can’t say no and learn to say no without explaining yourself?

Learn To Say No Without Explaining Yourself

There are countless reasons why we don’t say no. I have put together a list below. Take a look and make note of how many you can identify with.

Reasons Why People Say ” Help me…I Can’t Say No” 

  • People Pleaser
  • Hate to disappoint someone
  • Never want to offend someone
  • Fear of hurting someone’s feelings
  • Feel Guilty
  • Want to be or appear caring
  • Want to be or appear dependable
  • Worried about making others angry
  • Feel like you have to or need to in order to get ahead-Saying yes to your boss or being a yes man or woman
  • You like to feel in control/Need for power
  • Raised to always say yes
  • Want others to see you in a positive light

I can identify with several of these. If you are reading this I am sure you can too. Sometimes it simply helps when you identify the reasons. For others, they need some action steps to follow.

Action Steps To Say No

The big question, how to say no? You aren’t going to like this answer but the fact is…just do it! I know, it sounds like a tagline! It is a tagline! But, it’s the truth. Then…practice, practice, practice! Below I have a list of questions to ask yourself that will help you say no.

Think things through before you commit. At what cost are you saying “Yes?” If it increases stress, causes resentment and sucks all your energy then you have to ask yourself, “why am I considering this?”

Next, there is no rule that says you have to answer “YES” right away. People who tend to say yes, say it without even thinking about it. This time, hold off. It’s ok to say, “I’m not sure” or “let me look at my calendar and I’ll get back to you.” Just make sure you do follow up with them. If they need an answer right away, then say NO because you can’t commit at this time.

Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Say Yes

What do you currently have going on?

Do you have the time or are there any conflicts?

Do you have the energy or resources to do this?

If you don’t have time, energy or the resources, simply say NO.

Lastly, ask yourself this simple question…Why am I agreeing or offering to do this? Be honest with yourself! Are any of you answers from the above list? Hint…those aren’t good answers!

If, you honestly have the time, energy, resources AND…

this is a BIG ONE here…you WANT to do it, then go for it.

How To Say No Without Explaining Yourself and Without Feeling Guilty

Since I am or was an offender, I understand how hard it can be. Not to mention once I started saying no, then came the guilt! Like I needed any other reasons to feel guilty. If you struggle with guilt, especially mommy guilt, you can read here. Like all things, the more you practice the better you become.

There is no need to apologize or give a reason for saying no. We say sorry way too much! I am including myself in this category as well. It is perfectly acceptable to simply say, “no, I can’t. Thank you.” You don’t have to be rude. It’s possible to say no and still be polite. Here is a list of ways to say no nicely. I only caution you to refrain from always saying sorry and going into a long explanation.

Feel Free

I have to admit, the more I say “No”, the more liberated I feel! It feels good to set boundaries, I started to feel confident in saying no and it allowed me time to focus on myself.

I fall short sometimes but I have become much better over the years. When I fall back into that yes cycle, I remind myself why I tend to do this…I’m a people pleaser, I don’t like to disappoint anyone and I am a bit of a control freak…just to name a few! I ask myself those simple questions and get back to it.


If you DON’T have the TIME, ENERGY, RESOURCES and you DON’T WANT to say “Yes”, then DON’T do it.


A Few Quotes to remember…

“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.”

“Saying yes to happiness means learning to say NO to things and people that STRESS you out.”

“You can do anything but not everything”

“If you want more time, freedom, and energy, start saying no.”

“”No’ is a complete sentence. It does not require justification or explanation.”

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide…I love them all!


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