Why Saying No Can Be Difficult

Why Saying No Can Be Difficult

Posted 2016-01-13 by Marie Vonowfollow
Image by Marie Vonow

Some people find it difficult to say that tiny word, 'No'. Others don't. Who finds it hard, and why? What is the outcome of always saying, 'Yes' when sometimes you want to refuse?

There are a variety of reasons you may find it hard to refuse. Here are some -
  • You are afraid refusing will cause conflict.
  • You like to help people.
  • You are a people pleaser. It is quite likely you were praised as a child for doing as you were asked without argument. If you are female you may have been brought up to believe you should do what pleases others and put yourself last.
  • Perhaps you feel guilty or think it is selfish.
  • It doesn't occur to you to use the "N' word because you are in the habit of doing things others ask of you.
  • You don't want to disappoint others.
  • Refusing makes you feel you are letting others down.
  • You may think you will be more popular if you say yes.
  • You don't wish to appear rude.
  • You are afraid of hurting another person's feelings
  • You are afraid you will miss out on opportunities in the future by refusing.
  • Being asked to help makes you feel important and needed.
  • In a work situation you may worry refusal will cause a backlash.

  • Women are more likely than men to have trouble refusing. Society, especially in the past, has expected women to be compliant.

    Research has shown women in particular get a boost of 'feel good' hormones when they agree to do something asked of them. This is more likely to happen if they can manage the task or fit in attending an event. If they are already very busy they are likely to feel resentful and not get that 'feel good' boost.

    Sometimes it can happen that a person's feelings are hurt or there is a negative reaction when you say no. However, always saying yes can make you feel overwhelmed, stressed and taken for granted. Others may not even realise how you feel if you do not assert yourself.

    On the other hand, they may not take your needs and feelings into consideration. The more often you automatically agree to do as you are asked, the more they will expect your compliance.

    Sometimes saying yes is actually decreasing another person's opportunity to become more independent. In the long run, it may not be beneficial to him/her.

    On some occasions choosing to say no can be beneficial to both parties. You don't feel so stressed and the other party learns new skills and becomes more independent. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to say, but it does get easier with practice.


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