How to Say No and Stop Being a Pushover

no or yes--how to say no without being a pushover


Saying no to some people can be hard. Yet, many of us do it all the time because we don’t know how to refuse without hurting another’s feelings and appearing inconsiderate. Hence, we often reluctantly agree because of guilt to avoid the possible consequences such as resentment from friends, family, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, co-workers to risking job security and demotion at the workplace from the wrath of the boss. Instead of allowing yourself to constantly be trapped in this unhealthy cycle of behavior, here are a few simple diplomatic suggestions on how to say no and stop being a pushover.

Despite what you think is expected of you being the decent person that you are, pledging to help with that request immediately is not always the wisest thing to do. After all, you could be taking on more than you can handle that could complicate your own situation. Therefore, tell the person that you’ll give it some thought and then get back to them the next day. This gives you the necessary time to muddle the request over before committing.

Delaying your response doesn’t mean automatically dismissing the request. It just helps you weigh your options instead of being self-conscious. Ask yourself would your help really be in the best interest of that person? Or, would your saying yes to that person make you an enabler of self-destructive behavior?

Let’s be honest. Some people can be users of our good natures to take advantage of others. For instance, a visiting relative comes for dinner but always makes excuses leaving when there is a stack of dishes to wash.  On the other hand, you always volunteer to do dishes when you visit that same relative. Prior to sitting down for the meal, the relative always makes it a habit to ask if you need help with the dishes first. When this convenient excuse happens every visit, then this relative is exploiting your kind hospitality when you say no and stop being a pushover.On the flip side, you just might not mind washing an extra stack of maybe seven additional plates, cups, glasses, dessert dishes, salad bowls and the like because it is the kinder thing to do.

Another example can be your child  grabbing boxes of presweetened cereal into your cart and making a fuss when you put it back in favor of unsweetened cereal. You don’t want a scene when your kid starts crying and judgmental looks from other shoppers thinking what a cruel mother you are denying your kid his cereal even though you replace it with a healthier choice. How do onlookers know that additives contribute to more of his or her hyperactivity? Saying no and stop being a pushover is especially important, regardless of the attention you may receive. Furthermore, denying your child in this case helps you feel like a more responsible parent with better control of the child’s demanding behavior.

All words are not created equally. A legal contract is a prime example of how words can be interpreted. Unless you are a lawyer, there may be one word in how that contract is phrased that can have an entirely different meaning. What I’m saying is to consider how you will respond to the request by planning your words out beforehand. Write your explanation out and practice saying your response in front of a mirror to hear how the refusal sounds. If you’re invited to a party that you don’t want to attend, you can still be gracious. Thank that person for thinking of you, but you have another obligation and can’t attend.

Though as determined as you might be to stop allowing others to walk so easily over you, saying no without being a pushover can be risky when dealing with certain people. Standing up for yourself can alienate you from a certain friend or friends because you refused. For that reason, are these individuals really your friends if that is how they regard friendship?

Trying to please everyone at the same time is not always easy, but learning to say no and stop being a pushover is!



  1. gloria patterson
    August 23, 2019 / 2:08 pm

    II learned years ago to say NO …………… Sorry I have other plans ………….. WHAT plans??? Raised eyebrows .. PLANS

  2. gala
    August 26, 2019 / 4:58 am

    I still struggle with saying “No”, especially to my family

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