• Zoë

Why you can't say no!

We could learn a lot from children. They confidently say no and have no problem telling you how they feel about something, regardless of how it will come across.

I recently changed my hair colour and when a child I was teaching at the time saw me the following Monday at school, she exclaimed rather excitedly that my hair was different. I asked her if she liked it (big mistake!) and her reply was honest and to the point: No, it was better before.

Now, I'm not saying we should go around telling people everything we think because unless it is constructive or helpful, sometimes we don't need to say anything. However, if you are agreeing to things or saying yes because you think you should or because you're worried people will think badly of you or because you feel guilty, then it's time to be start being honest.

At some point in our lives, we shifted from being the assertive, no-saying child we once were to appeasing adults who would rather go events we don’t want to attend, spend time with people we don't even like much, eat foods we dislike and be at the beck and call of those around us than have to say no. It leaves us feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, lacking self-esteem and even resentful that other people always seem to get what they want but not us.

So with all this in mind, why can't you say no?

1. You've been taught that it's rude

We have been taught and conditioned, especially as women, that saying no is rude and selfish. We shouldn't inconvenience someone or decline an invite for example, because that's improper and bad manners. We are taught that what someone else wants, comes above us and we should prioritise them.

2. You're afraid of hurting someone's feelings

Your natural tendency to observe and be aware of the feelings of others and how the mind works means you are more likely to be empathetic and compassionate. These are beautiful qualities to have, but it also means that as someone with the innate desire to look out for others and make them happy, you feel that if you say no, you are going to hurt their feelings and upset them. To avoid this, you go along with what they want and need in order to protect them.

3. You crave their approval

If saying no means that someone will be upset, then surely that means they'll think less of us, right?! Rather than risk them disliking or rejecting you, you place their beliefs, opinions and needs above your own and so you don't say how you really feel. Their opinion of you is far more important to you than what you want or need.

4. You want to avoid conflict

If you knew that everyone would still be happy and embrace you with open arms every time you said no, it wouldn't be so difficult. But we know there is a risk that someone won't like that we're expressing ourselves, especially if it's something they aren't used to. As a general rule, introverts dislike conflict and confrontation because it brings drama and often we find it difficult to express how we feel when we don't have time to think things through. It's easier to stay quiet and avoid rocking the boat!

5. You’re unsure of what you actually want

It's likely that if you don't feel confident to say no, that you're struggling with your self-esteem, or maybe have done in the past. When we lack confidence and consistently let others take the lead and tell us what to do, we lose touch with what we actually want to do. Making decisions about your needs and wants is very difficult when you don't know what they are!

Saying no doesn't make you a bad person!

It may leave the other person feeling disappointed and even taken aback if they aren't used to you saying this but ultimately, it will work out for the best. They'll get over it and if they are someone worthy of being in your life, will respect your choices.

We all deserve to have a life that reflects our values, needs and desires. No one has the right to limit your life for the sake of their own.

If saying no and setting boundaries is something you need support with, I'd love for you to join me over in The Hideout - my free Facebook group for introverts where you can access free mini coaching workshops and support from likeminded women.

Click here to join me!


Hi, I'm Zoë!

Proud introvert, life coach, cat mum & tea lover!

On my blog, you'll find my views and experiences on introvert life which I hope will help you understand yourself better, feel empowered and in love with who you are!

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