How To Say No To Everything And Still Keep Your Friends

The power of no is more powerful than yes. You’ll find your life is a lot less stressful.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of saying yes to everything, particularly if you’re a people pleaser like me. We want to make everybody happy and so find ourselves saying yes when we really wish a no had slipped out instead.

Whether it’s saying yes to going out for dinner when you’d really rather snuggle on the couch with your partner and/or dog, or agreeing to an early morning catch-up when you wish you’d given yourself extra time to prepare for the day in solitude; we do whatever it takes to make sure the people we care about are happy with us.

Many of us are ‘instant gratification junkies’ who do everything in our power to please people. We want people to like us. No, we want people to think we’re fabulous! And that’s why we find it difficult to disappoint others, especially our friends.

So glad they said no. I've been hounding them for ages.

But saying yes immediately is often fraught with difficulties.

For me, it means the day before the scheduled catch-up or event I’ll be thinking "I don’t want to go!” Then I’m torturing myself, trying to come up with excuses that are believable and don’t make the person suspect I’m just trying to get out of seeing them -- which is exactly what I’m trying to do!

I don’t want to make anybody feel bad but, by doing that, I’m making myself feel guilty that I was weak enough to agree to do something I didn’t want to do.

READ MORE: What Your Virtual Friendships Are Doing To Your Real Ones

My life turned a corner when I made a decision to stop saying yes and find the guts to be honest and say no. You don’t have to be the eternal people pleaser. You need to be brave enough to take a moment and ask yourself, "Do I really want to do this?"

If the answer is no then have the courage to say no. You don’t need to explain why you can’t do something, you can simply say that you don’t have the time.

Here’s what you need to do: take a few seconds to stop, reflect, and be completely honest. There is a lot of power in pausing. Ask yourself, "Is this the best use of my time?" If not, then be unafraid to say no. I believe the power of no is more powerful than yes. You’ll find your life is a lot less stressful.

Will you lose some friends? Not if you handle it well. Don’t say you’re ‘too busy’. We all glorify the notion of busyness and I like to encourage people to remove the phrase ‘I’m too busy’ from their lives. Here’s a simple experiment: for one week, stop telling people that you’re too busy, or be unafraid to reframe it.

And here’s a great way to maintain your friendships; my partner and I have started a monthly Friday dinner party for 12-16 people. It’s a fabulous way to for us to get all our friends together in one room.

You can kill 12 birds with one stone.

We feel great, our friends feel like they haven’t been neglected and you can knock off several catch-ups in one fell swoop! In reality, there are really only a handful of people in your life that you see on a regular basis so finding ways to bring all your people together on one night is a win-win situation.

And if any of your friends are angry about your nicely stated, perfectly reasonable no?

Easy, just let them go. They were never a true friend anyway. And the good news? Now you’ll have more time to say yes to the friends that really matter.