19 Things You Get (or Don’t) from Saying No

Want people to easily dislike you? Keep saying no. Yes, it’s one of the fastest, most straight-to-the-point and most convenient ways to make people raise their eyebrows and reevaluate your worth in their busy little world.

Saying no will most probably be unpleasant, not understandable and pretty.

Imagine this. You’re quite in trouble and you need some big help. You run toward someone who you know can definitely give you that help. You approach him or her, sweat popping out of your forehead. (The pressure on you is simply overwhelming.) You’ve basically worked on your lines all your life for times like this.

You get a calm “No.”

Or something else that meant the same thing.

People who seem to say no, most of the time, aren’t the bad guys.

Maybe it’s time you assessed how you dealt with your commitments all throughout your “work lifetime.”

You think saying no is brutally inconsiderate? Find out what you can gain or avoid from saying no.

1. You empower yourself.

There’s a particular way of saying no it becomes empowering to the one who says it. By saying no, you tell yourself it’s the right thing to do at the moment. You have to do it—there are other tasks that are supposedly more important. Remind yourself of the purpose of accomplishing those tasks. It’s a great way to put value on every “no” you’re going to say.

2. Others won’t dictate when you’re having a break.

Okay, we all know that majority of companies follow a schedule for breaks. But I’d be happy for you if you do take your breaks wholeheartedly. Without getting anxious. Without thinking whether you did a quality job a while ago.

Sometimes I found myself working during breaks. Why? Because it was during those times I found momentum for myself that I didn’t find when I simply agreed to take on any other tasks during real work time.

3. Your “yes” becomes sought after.

You also get to hone your skills, which you’d demonstrate every time you’d say yes. Those would eventually be your specialized skills. If you have them, people will definitely notice them—they’ll find and arrange time for you, for your “yes.”

4. You learn to be firm.

This is when you actually present yourself to be potentially “disliked.” But stand your ground. Don’t feel guilty—if you do, you only allow yourself to get stressed. Don’t apologize. Apologizing is acknowledging you did something wrong—you didn’t do anything wrong. You’re only respecting the little time you have.

5. You won’t sweat asserting yourself.

You have your reasons of saying no, and they are good reasons. That’s why ideally, no one should be able to veer you off of your well-planned timetable, unless of course, something really important comes up it can’t be ignored. Use the opportunity to literally talk your way out of the things that would slow you down. Yes, that’s asserting yourself.

6. You enhance your power of persuasion.

Now that you wouldn’t worry about asserting yourself, go back to the basics of persuasion. Saying no could be interesting, especially with techniques like the “sandwich approach”—you say yes at the beginning of your response, then a calm no, then another yes to close it. That’s right, mind the feelings of the person you’re talking to.

7. It’s time management.

Turning down other commitments alone should motivate you to stick with your current schedule. I know I decline other important tasks. But if I don’t do well with the task at hand, I instantly waste two perfect opportunities—the one I should be doing, and the other I could be doing.

8. Saying no is saying yes to productivity.

Have you crossed out your goals for today? Have you been productive? How do you know you’re being productive anyway?

If you don’t like your answers to these questions, perhaps you need to stop saying yes to others for a while. Work on your productivity and make sure you get a sense of fulfillment first before entertaining what others may request of you.

9. Who likes stress one can avoid anyway?

Let’s face it—stress can be inevitable. If any, a bit of stress can even get yourself warmed up for work.

But there’s also this other kind of stress—the one that’s absolutely avoidable. And if that’s the case, why would you say yes if it would mean months of everyday stress? It’s absolutely pointless. Now life is too short and precious for that.

10. You promote respect.

Respect is two-way.

You’ll definitely show respect to the person you’re saying no to—it doesn’t matter whether they’re your boss. But you’ll also earn it. Truly knowing within yourself that declining other work for the sake of your priorities, will evidence outside. People will see that you mean business, that you are serious. Respect will be as authentic as you’ll see it.

11. Mind over matter.

This is a cliché you’ve probably heard many times already. Saying no isn’t about being inconsiderate—no matter how the person might have begged for your time. But you also don’t have a heart of stone. Take some time to actually consider what they’re asking of you. You know you priorities. But don’t get carried away by your emotions—or their emotions—when you make decisions.

12. You avoid burnout.

When you take on an endeavor, you accept that there are parts that will bore the heck out of you, and that’s fine. They’re only a bump in the road. They’re part of the decision you had to make.

But imagine constantly giving in to someone who imposes a work upon you, work that would surely stall you from your own endeavor. That is an easy ticket to Burnout Island.

13. Saying no opens doors for others.

You may be the best in your trade, but saying no can actually let others shine. You give them the opportunity to experience what they might have only been waiting for. You allow them to learn more and thus grow. Now be proud of yourself—by saying no you can help others for real.

14. Your self-confidence will look good on you.

And you’ll be confident for others too.

You’ll help in somewhat eradicating the mental stereotype that saying no is a bad thing. You’ll have faith that saying no shouldn’t necessarily start some ugly confrontation. Instead, with your diplomatic ways, it could pave way for better harmony and understanding within your associations.

15. You allow better focus.

Not being firm alone can sway your focus, and if others can smell that, they’ll only bug you as much as they can. They have to get what they want from you after all.

Say no if you need to, but say it like you mean it, like you’re going to say it only once. You can get rid of most distractions. And people are not an exception—you can set boundaries they will respect.

16. You become more and more realistic.

This is cutting straight to the chase, removing the fluff. While still being persuasive.

Always give a straight answer, clear enough the other person wouldn’t have to ask you twice. Avoid making excuses—they’re still excuses whether they sound good or not.

This lesson doesn’t limit you to only saying no. You must apply everything you’ve learned in your life—no matter how complex they are—in practical terms. Being practical is being realistic.

17. You encourage honesty in everybody—including yourself.

You won’t achieve excellence if you keep saying no just to avoid some difficult task anyway. Saying no is an honest gesture. It is a selfish act, in a good way, because you don’t easily give away your time for something that you’re not even sure is worth it. You’ll go a long way being honest with yourself and others.

18. You have more time for yourself.

And I don’t mean only breaks or anything else you do to relax.

Saying no can show you better horizons in your career, perhaps even a better opportunity outside your job. But that’s only for work.

Saying no is also freeing yourself so that you can do other things that have always been dear to you.

19. You enjoy a better life.

In any aspect of it.

Would you accommodate the company of toxic people? Would you compromise your health for a high-paying job? Would you spend that much money right away after you earn it? You get the point.

Like many things in life, saying no can be hard, but most of the time it’s simply the right thing to do.

Think About It

Saying no does take courage, but it also takes wits and consideration for other people. It may cause some buzz at the start of it all, but if you show people you’re sincere whenever you say it and focus on tasks you say yes to, there shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll probably hear some criticisms along the way, but don’t forget your worth. Follow rules, but don’t compromise yourself. Keep on learning, but take only what you can at every moment. Be fair with others, but be fair with yourself first.

It’s all a process. After all, your decisions affect your future—whether near or far. You must be alert, or else you’d be working hard for nothing.

Speak Your Mind

What’s the best thing that has happened to you simply because you said no? What’s the most effective way of saying it? Don’t say no—tell us about it below!

Share this if you found this helpful!


  1. Carina

    Saying no is difficult, especially in professional situations, but you are right that it is an important skill to develop. If you want to find time to do the things that really matter to you, you can’t let everyone pressure you into following their agendas and priorities all of the time. Thanks for the post and the reminder of some benefits of learning to say no. 🙂

    • Ethan Bridges

      Hi Carina,

      You’re welcome 🙂

      There are lots of skills we can develop, but saying no is sort of the one that helps hold everything else together. You say yes to everybody and your work becomes mediocre to poor, and you even wonder why.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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