The ‘Saying No’ Check List

We all like to be able to do things for others. Contributing like this makes us feel good.   But that doesn’t mean becoming a world-class doormat, it simply means doing something for someone IF you can.

Have you got into the habit of saying ‘yes’ to everything? It’s easy to do, especially if you are a parent who wants to make relationships with kids less problematic, an employee who doesn’t want to upset their boss or colleague, a partner who wants to make the relationship less hassle. But beware, it’s all too easy to end up not actually knowing who you really are and whose life you are actually living.

If you have to say “no” to a request for something, you don’t have to beat yourself up. You will feel better if you do say no. Unfulfilled promises are a huge source of frustration and guilt.



  • Are you in control of your agenda?

Make a list of your weekly activities. Don’t take on more than you can cope with. If you are asked to organize a social event for colleagues and you are already having dance classes or tutoring your children, politely saying no will give you more time to concentrate on the things that having meaning for you.

  • Are you listening to negative mind chatter?

Become aware of what you are saying to yourself. Keep a note of anything that might be negative. “He/she won’t like me if I don’t say yes.” “It’s not nice to say no.” Then change these to better thoughts – It’s OK to say no. People won’t think any the less of me if I say no to this.

  • Are you adding unnecessary stress to your life?

If something is going to stress you out, you have to say no. You owe it to yourself, to your emotional and physical wellbeing.

  • Are you feeling guilty?

Need I say this? We should never feel guilty about following our own values.   If you are invited to participate in an event at your children’s school or at work all you need say is I’m sorry, I have other plans that day but thanks for asking. Maybe another time.

  • Are you making up excuses?

Excuses have a way of coming back to bite you, so simply say no, perhaps another time.

  • Are you giving great, long-winded explanations?

A simple “Sorry my diary is too full at the moment” is fine. You don’t owe explanations.




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