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The Power of Saying "No" in Work and Social Life

From the moment we start to make our own decisions, we are taught to say no; say no to drugs, no to talking to strangers, no to peer pressure, the list goes on and on. What we aren’t taught is how to deal with saying no to friends, employers, and people that we generally don’t want to disappoint. Telling your friends “no” to a night out can make you feel flakey, and telling your boss you can’t handle another project right now can make you feel like you’re not qualified. Nobody stresses how powerful saying no can make you feel and seem to other people. To encourage our readers to consider saying no in situations where it is what is best for them, we put together a list of the ways saying no can improve your quality of life and change the way people see you, for the better.

People will respect your limits

The way you respond to people influences how they treat you. If your boss is piling work onto your plate without any objections from you, they will continue to add more and more because they don’t know that you need time to do your projects well and efficiently. By saying no to a few things, you will teach people that you know what you can handle, you can do it well, and they cannot take advantage of the work you are willing to do.

What you say “yes” to will have better quality

Whether it is in work or social life, anything gets old if you do it enough. In doing too much of anything, the zeal wears off and it becomes almost a hassle. By turning down an invitation to a night out or a project at work, you avoid losing interest in future opportunities. In work, saying no to having too much to do will improve the quality of the work that you agree to.

You won’t feel obligated to do things you don’t want to do

Everyone has experienced a time when your friends want to go out and you just want to spend a quiet night at home. Even if you end up getting out of it, your friends still don’t let you forget that time they went out without you. By saying no when you feel like you just need a little “you time”, your friends will start to see it as a treat when you go out with them, as opposed to it being what is expected. In work, saying no to certain things you don’t feel like you should do will show your employers and coworkers that you have boundaries, as well as a conscious idea of what you’re capable of.

Your “Yes” will be more meaningful

When people get used to you turning down things you don’t want to do, it will mean more to them when you do say yes. The quality of the work you do and time you spend with people will go up dramatically, and people will better appreciate the things you do for them and with them. Feeling obligated to say yes to things often causes people to see you as someone they can push things off on instead of someone with valuable time and skills that are worthwhile.

Of course, saying yes to someone feels good, and making others happy is something that often brings joy to you; by teaching people to respect your no’s, however, you also teach them that they should appreciate any yes’s you give them. In finding your voice and being able to say no, you will garner respect and appreciation from everyone in your life. Saying no doesn’t always have to be to a bad thing, but it should always make you feel like you have the power in a situation where you deserve it.

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