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We are always told to say “Yes!”
To jump at opportunities, to push ourselves beyond our limits, and have amazing experiences that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to dream.

But sometimes you can’t say yes. Sometime you just have to say no.

In this week’s How to Tackle I just want to confirm that is OK to say no to things. You don’t have to try and please people 24/7, it can sometimes be better for you, and better for other people.


I can feel guilty very easily.

I apologise if I walk into inanimate objects. I feel bad for things that I see in the news which don’t directly affect me, and I have no control over. And I seem to have an inability to say “no” to people.

I have lost hours of my life to Mormons, and people canvassing at my door, but I can’t say no without taking a leaflet or agreeing to go to a meeting (which I don’t go to and then feel bad about). I always make plans with friends without consulting prior engagements because I want to see them so much. I will eat where other people want to eat. I will watch what films other people want to do. I will go to events I have no interest in just because my friends want to. I am so scared of upsetting or offending people that I will agree with what they want most of the time.

This has to stop. It needs to stop.
It’s not good for myself, and I’m sure other people would appreciate it if I put my honest opinion across more often.

The idea for this post actually stemmed from an experience that I have had with my driving instructor recently. To cut a long story short, he is a lovely guy, tonnes of people in the area know him, and he has taught me how to drive. However he recently got involved in some Aloe Vera pyramid scheme which he is trying to recruit me to. In typical Emma fashion I lied and said it sounded interesting and the next thing I knew he was giving me samples (that I never used and pretended to like), inviting me to Facebook groups, and trying to make arrangements to take me to an induction evening that would only cost me £200. I finally drew the line here but it should have never got that far. I need to be more affirmative.

In typical How to Tackle fashion, I had a look on Google for some tips on how to say no to people and, after stumbling across an American 1980/90s anti-drug campaign, and a song by the cast of Grange Hill, I came across this article.

The tips given are pretty self-explanatory but are something that I am sure are useful to be reminded of:

  • Be firm — not defensive or overly apologetic — and polite.
  • If you decide to tell the person you’ll get back to them, be matter-of-fact and not too promising.
  • If asked for an explanation, remember that you really don’t owe anyone one.
  • Remember that there are only so many hours in the day. This means that whatever you choose to take on limits your ability to do other things.

Just say no. Saying yes is obviously good to do – you don’t want to say no to people all the time. But if you are in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, or are only agreeing to something to please other people, don’t feel like you have to agree.

This may be seen as a negative blog post – and maybe it is – but you cannot please everyone all of the time. I am guilty of being a people-pleaser at times and it is something that I need to work on. If I know I can’t (or don’t want to) do something I need to just tell people. It is better for both parties and neither gets upset.

You don’t owe anyone anything. Don’t feel bad about saying no.