When you say NO to someone else you say YES to yourself.
Watching the Katie Couric show today and she and her guests were discussing this topic, which reminded me of a recent conversation with a girlfriend of mine. Why do women have such a hard time saying no to someone? Is it that we are just so hard-wired to be people pleasers that the word no is no longer a part of our vocabulary?
Don't say yes to something when your first instinct is screaming NO! If you have a hard time saying no immediately, even when your inner voice is blaring at you like an amplifier, respond with "I will have to check my schedule" or "let me think about that and get back to you." But get back to that person in a timely manner, don't leave them hanging. A fast no is better than a slow maybe.
When our schedules are over booked as it is, why add to it when all it is going to do is bring you regret and stress? Most of us have a hard enough time accommodating what needs to be taken care of, let alone adding the needs of others.
If this person is someone you care about, it is important to validate their wishes by thanking them for wanting you to be a part of their luncheon, book club, girls night out, etc...But if it is something that you are most adverse to, quickly and confidently let the person know that no, you are not interested, but you do appreciate them thinking of you. Keep in mind you are not obligated to give a reason, a simple "No thank you" should suffice in most cases. If you hem and haw, or pause in your response or give an indirect answer, you are going to give that person the opportunity to talk you into something you
don't want to do.
Make the things in your life that have meaning to you a priority. Let go of any guilt or fear you have over telling someone else no. Know what your limitations are when it comes to your schedule (or money, or whatever resources you will need to tap into) and stick to those boundaries.
For some, it is easier to say yes than to say no. You are not obligated to say yes to anything. It is not selfish to tell someone no. You are doing them a favor by not committing to something that you either can't be fully immersed into, for whatever reason, or simply don't care to do it. Enter into an agreement with someone because you want to and are able to fully commit to the request.
It's OK to say NO. When you do, you say YES to yourself!