woman using MacBook

7 Ways To Say No, For The People Pleasers Who Always Say Yes


If you’re a people pleaser, you know how tempting it is to say yes to things you just don’t feel like doing.

You might as well just get it done and over with, so nothing bad happens, right? But the need to constantly make other people happy comes with a price.

When your highest priority is to be liked all the time, you aren’t in touch with your own needs. The good news is that it’s a changeable habit. Here are a few tips for the people pleasers that struggle to say no.

1. Get some data.

Take the next couple of days and observe how you spend your energy and time. Keep note of the number of times you say yes, no, or maybe to someone else’s requests. Just observe, don’t criticize or judge yourself. Then, record how each of those requests made you feel. 

Which types of situations tend to stress you out or set you off? Pay attention to those things. Doing so can help you identify the times when you do say no, and everything turns out okay-so, you know which situations you can practice saying no to in the future.

2. Create the habit.

If you’re a recovering people pleaser, getting into the habit of saying no won’t be easy at first. But by starting to build the habit, you’ll, in turn, build confidence within yourself. Start by saying no to more minor things, like skipping a coffee run with a friend so you can focus on a work project. Practice saying no when the stakes are low so that when situations that really matter do come around, you’ll feel prepared to make the right decision.

Remember, if something doesn’t help you work towards the life you want, there’s probably no need for it in your day.

3. Trust your gut. 

When the situation arises for you to say no, learn to trust your intuition. Avoid allowing yourself to doubt your right to say no to other people, and remember that your time is your own. If you feel in your gut that something isn’t a great use of your time, acknowledge and believe that feeling. 

If you’re a chronic people-pleaser, you know how hard this can be. While it’s easy to feel shame or guilt when you want to be alone, remember that everyone deserves to have control over how they spend their time. Use yours to create the life you want for yourself.

two women walking around near mountain at daytime

4. Be wary of elaborating.

Saying no doesn’t require an explanation. Be careful of getting tied into an unnecessary explanation — you don’t owe anyone an excuse for the way you use your time. And if someone is unhappy with your no, or no thank you, remember to trust your gut. 

If you feel up for it, offer a ‘maybe another time as a way to not leave them hanging. Spending time planning an acceptable explanation is an underlying search for external approval. 

Remember that no matter what, nobody needs to approve the plans you’ve already made for yourself. Say no thank you, move on, and feel good about your right to defend your priorities.

5. Understand your limits — and learn to respect them.

If you miss out on the things you want to do because you say yes to the things you shouldn’t, start to pay attention to your energy levels throughout your day or week. How busy were you? Did you say yes to too many things? 

If you notice that 90% of your week is doing things that you dread or make you feel like you’re trapped, you may end up realizing the reason for your anxiety. So the next time someone asks you for something, assess the amount of time and energy you have before saying yes.

6. Pause for a moment before saying yes.

There’s a significant amount of power in the pause. Often, people pleasers jump to say yes to relieve any anxiety or perceived tension. Not only does pausing buy you a little bit of time, but it helps you assess what’s really behind the request being asked of you. Was it a demand? Or a suggestion? This can help quiet any anxious thoughts that can lead you back to people-pleasing. 

7. If it’s a ‘definite no,’ say ‘no.’

Saying ‘maybe’ or ‘I’ll let you know’ are ways that leave too many options open. This is when you’re likely to get persuaded into doing things you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do something, deep down, you know it, say no, and mean it. Rather than beating around the bush, use the actual word. It isn’t rude or mean, but rather an honest, assertive way of communicating that’s necessary to get comfortable with to protect your time.The right people will understand your need for space at times. 

If they try to argue or belittle you, then it may be time to evaluate your relationship with them. Cut the negativity and move towards the life that you desire and deserve.

Share this post with a friend, let’s spread some easy therapy.

If you struggle with anxious, self-critical, racing thoughts and consider yourself an overthinker then don’t worry..I’ve got you…Check out The Overthinking Toolkit.

Is Your Overthinking Sabotaging Your Success?

Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.

man in black leather jacket beside woman in black and white stripe shirt

Take the quiz!

Is Your Overthinking Sabotaging Your Success?

Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.


woman leaning on door looking outside

Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success (you know) you deserve.