Today I’m sharing my next guest post from another fabulous blogger and the topic in question is so relevant right now. Over the last year or so, we’ve all been forced into placing boundaries we probably didn’t think about. Some boundaries have been forced upon us, others we’ve had to establish ourselves.
Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash
That friend who wanted to hang out during lockdown but you didn’t feel safe to do so, so you said no? That’s a boundary. That voice inside you telling you get off of social media because the nature of all the news was affecting your mental health? That’s a boundary. We’ve been forced into situations where we’ve had to say “no”, either to others or ourselves. And that doesn’t always come naturally to a lot of people.
Don’t miss my last guest post: 10 Mental Health Lessons Learned from 2020
Boundaries are something I’ve been working on a lot recently since starting my life coaching so I’m mega excited to share this wonderful post with you today about something that is so prevalent in our lives right now.
A Guest Post From Wool of the King:
Hi everyone, I’m Lauren from Wool of the King and I’m so excited to be writing for Jenny’s blog. I’m writing about a topic that I think is really important and that is saying no. Sometimes, saying no can be really hard to do but is often important and I’m going to be sharing why, when it’s important and why it’s not mean or bitchy to say no.
I have come across a lot of people who feel bad about saying no to friends or loved ones. Let me start by saying, this isn’t me telling you that you should start saying no to everything, but it’s just to make sure you set boundaries for yourself. I hate to be a teacher in the noughties but if your friend asked you to jump off a bridge, would you?
I have found in certain friendships and relationships that if you say yes to a lot of things, then people might ask you to start doing more for them to the point where they aren’t giving a lot back. It’s good to have a balance in your personal relationships as it could put a strain on you if one of your relationships is becoming one sided.
Being asked to do things you don’t necessarily want to do doesn’t have to just happen in social situations either – it could happen to you at work. When I was working part-time at a café, they would sometimes ask me to work extra hours or days. If I didn’t have anything else to do and wanted extra money I would say yes but if I had lots of uni work to do, which was often the case, I would say no.
If you are looking for more friendship advice, check out my Friendships: The Low Down post.
Is it mean to say no?
The answer to this is very on theme, NO. You don’t owe anyone anything and if someone makes you feel bad for saying no to something that you don’t want to do then you should really think about what that says about them.
If you want to please people and feel bad saying no sometimes, that is completely normal and the route to saying no and protecting yourself can be a tricky but ultimately important one. I used to feel bad about saying no to things especially in relationships but it was when I noticed I was doing more for certain people than they would ever do for me, I knew I needed to set some boundaries.
Again, this is not me saying you have to be completely equal with people, it’s nice to do kind things for people without expecting anything in return, but if you are getting taken for a fool it starts to become a problem.
Things to remember if you feel bad for saying no:
- Would this person do the same for me?
- I am protecting my mental health
- You can’t ever please everyone at one time
Protecting your mental health
For me, I really enjoy going out with friends so for the most part if someone asks me to do something fun, I will say yes. This isn’t always the case though, sometimes you just need to take a mental health day and spend some time looking after yourself. That may involve saying no if someone makes plans with you.
I really think it should be more widely accepted for people to just say they are staying in and having a day to themselves. I don’t know about you, but I always feel pressured to make up an excuse.
You know yourself better than anyone so you will know when is the best time to say no to look after your mental health. It will become easier the more you start to say no too.
The key moment is when you realise that after saying no to your loved ones, they probably won’t even mind and will treat you no different than before. You may even find that they respect you more for looking out for yourself and setting boundaries for yourself.
About the Author: Lauren is a lifestyle and travel blogger over at Wool of the King. You can follow her on social media over at: Twitter and Instagram!
This article is very helpful to me. In the future life, I should learn to say no.
[…] Even things which aren’t my fault. I also struggle with intense feelings of guilt; for saying no, for spending time doing X instead of Y – basically I feel guilty for existing half of the […]
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This is hit in the head post. The importantce of knowing when to say no is so important for your well being. Love the post.
It really is, I agree x
Thanks for sharing, I have to still learn when to say no to things that are going to be better for me in the long run, as sometimes when you tell people that have said no they are like why have you done that, so I have the regret afterwords but I’m learning not to hold to that
It’s annoying when they constantly ask why. Because you don’t want to is a valid enough reason.
I hate saying no and find it a lot easier just to go along with things, but this post has really made me think about myself! It’s so important to say no, especially when you simply don’t want to do something. I feel like I need to justify myself!
I’m glad this has made you think about your habits!
Great post! It’s definitely really important to know when to say no. The amount of times I’ve had to say no to a friend wanting to come round over lockdown – I’ve lost count! I think as well as knowing when to say no, it’s important to know when to accept a no from someone as well! x
Ugh that’s so frustrating that they don’t respect the rules x
Thanks so much for sharing! I feel like when the world gets back to normal there’s going to be so much pressure to say yes to everything, but we’ve all got to remember that if we need alone time that’s still ok!
Katie | katieemmabeauty.com
There really is isn’t there! I think it’s important not to turn down opportunities and experiences because after 2020 you really don’t know what’s going to happen but only doing the ones that feel right for you! x
I always say no to things. I’m just really honest about it rather than making excuses! People are usually fine with it.
That’s amazing! So glad to hear that. Shame so many people find it so hard x
Super interesting, I totally agree, you don’t owe people anything and most importantly sometimes you have to make sure to do things for yourself and if that’s saying no, that’s the most important thing! xx
I am definitely a “yes” person and I have always wanted to please others! But the last year or so I have really been working on myself and trying to do more for me too because pleasing others is so exhausting and as much as I love making others happy I need to focus on me too x
I’m so glad to hear that!
Awesome post! I just recently had a conversation with my mom about this, she is terrible at saying no and then gets overwhelmed with all she has to do. Me on the other hand, if I feel like I’m being taken advantage of or really don’t feel I should do what’s being asked of me, I let them down gently.
It’s great that you’re happy to say no. Hope your mom starts to learn something from you!
Great post! We know ourselves better than anyone else, and we know when something does not sound right or fair to us. It is hard to say no at times, and sometimes, we just want to keep the peace in any given circumstance. But, it is very important to have boundaries; otherwise, we feel trapped in situations that make no sense to us personally.
Totally agree 🙂
Ah this post is so important to share! Boundaries are the most important thing to protect your mental health xx
They really are! x
I really enjoyed reading this post. Saying no is so important in many aspects of your life. I used to find it really hard but as you said, it does become more easier as you say it. Great post!xx
It definitely becomes easier!
I can attest to the fact that always saying ‘yes’ makes it very hard to live my life supporting the doing the things I believe in. I used to think it was terrible to say no, that saying no meant I was mean or could not open up space for someone else. Saying no IS mean if I am denying something I need, not some someone else wants.
Thanks for sharing some lovely words on why it is important to say no and when! Love that you are holding some space for fellow writers who have powerful words to speak. 🙂
Same because I love sharing incredible posts like this! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Saying no is something we need to remember more often- and especially saying no to those we love when we just can’t handle something. If people care about you, they will understand. I’m the worst for agreeing to do things at work etc. because I want to seem helpful and hard-working, but sometimes you have to set boundaries and say that you have too much going on. Thank you for this reminder to prioritise ourselves x
I totally agree!
This was such a great guest post from Lauren – thanks for sharing it with us Jenny! I completely relate to struggling to say no to things sometimes so this was a really helpful post x
Great post, isn’t it? She brought up so many great points!
I enjoyed reading this so much! I have been through hell in life because of the fact that I couldn’t establish boundaries. Now that I’ve been working on it, I’m proud to say that it’s been going well! Thank you for sharing x
Lynn | http://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com
I’m so sorry to hear that but glad you’re working on it!
This post is very relevant, thanks for sharing
Saying no is important 👍🏻
It’s definitely extremely relevant right now.
You can’t say yes to everything and it is important to say no once in a while, you’ve got to think about yourself sometimes and only do what you can do rather than taking on too much at once x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I totally agree!
My OH really needs to learn to say no! I love this post. So true… no one should make you feel bad about saying no to something you don’t want to do.
So does mine! But boyfriend struggles to say no to anyone – apart from me haha!
This was a great post, thank you for sharing! Working on saying no was a really big thing for me in 2020. I set A LOT of boundaries with friends and family and sometimes they weren’t all well received. But you must do what you need to for yourself, mental health is so important. Bringing those boundaries with me into 2021!
So glad you took that step and set those boundaries!
Yes! So important to say no and I’ve felt so much better for doing so the last couple of years xx
I’m so glad to hear that!
This is such an important guest post! Saying ‘no’ and setting boundaries is something that we must do to protect our mental health and prevent burnout. Although at times it can feel awkward or embarrassing to turn down people or events, we need to put ourselves and our mental health first x
Sophie | https://www.loveandliterature.co.uk
We really do. At the end of the day, if someone actually cares about you, they’ll understand!
I love this. I have to admit I do say no to things, it is something that I have always done but I have family members who find it really difficult and they always end up rushed and stressed and doing things they don’t enjoy just because they can’t say no. I don’t know if I have picked this up from watching them over the years because I definitely don’t want to be rushed or stressed so if I know I am going to be busy or might not be able to then I would say no.
It’s great that you’ve seen what stretching yourself too thin by saying yes to everything can do to someone so have actively taken the opposite route!
First of all and as usual, I love the pictures. Second, the topic is so interesting because I always feel bad when I say no to people. I used to always say yes and get into uncomfortable situations. This is mainly how I learned to say no, because I prefer my comfort and my mental health. After this post, I need to learn how not feel guilt that it comes with.
Dealing with the guilt can definitely be hard!
I used to have a group of friends who wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was so frustrating, I was constantly having to make up excuses for why I couldn’t go to dinner or whatever because they were always asking what I was doing instead. I felt parented almost. They also weren’t always very nice to me, so eventually I decided to remove these people from my life. Saying no and recognizing when friends aren’t friends is important.
Oh my gosh that’s so frustrating and unncessary!
This was such a great read and truly needed! I always struggled to say no to people and always felt bad for turning them down, but as you said, you have to take in consideration how you feel about it and set boundaries! Thanks for sharing x
Definitely! If they’re good people, they won’t mind!
Such a fab post and I agree with all of it. It can be so hard to say no sometimes but we all need to remember to prioritise ourselves and if that means saying no to something then so be it!
Tash – A Girl with a View
Thanks so much for letting me write this guest post for you, I really enjoyed writing it. Have loved reading through all the amazing comments too, glad it’s helped people 🙂
Absolutely! Saying no isn’t the end of the world!
Very inspiring post with good insights! I always think that saying no will allow you to do something else that you might actually care more. Saying yes to everything just eats up all your capacity and then you might not be able to do the things you really wanted to do. So yes, do say NO at times 🙂 -Jenni
YES! That’s a great perspective!
This is something I struggle with a lot. I can happily say no to the kids or to my partner but friends I find it incredibly hard to say no to. I don’t even have any basis for why I might be like this.
With some friends it is simply for an easy life which is crazy! I’d forgo my own happiness and well-being simply to people please or have an easy life!
Brilliant post Lauren, thanks for sharing Jenny x
Ah Claire! I’m sorry you feel you have to do that with friends. I’m sure if you did say no, they’d completely understand! x
I’m really working hard on saying no to more things as I used to be such a yes person and it would end up doing me no favours!
Katy | http://www.katystephenson.com | http://www.thegrownupsclub.com
I think it’s good to say yes to things but having those boundaries is so important!
This is a really important read, because I know that personally, it can be very challenging to say “no” on a regular basis, though it’s often what I desire. Now, I don’t believe that it’s justified every time, because if I said “no” as often as I’d like… I’d never do anything thanks to my anxiety haha. But I do regularly turn things down because I need to listen to my body and take time away from things that are unhealthy for me. Thanks for sharing this guest post!
It’s definitely about finding a balance and listening to what YOU need and want!
Good post, Jenny. Being brave and decisive enough to say no is important. Saying yes all the time is bad. After all, not everyone appreciates us.
Thank you 🙂
I’ve always struggled with saying No, partly because I don’t want to let people down and partly in case I’m not asked again. But as I’ve got older, I’ve come to realise that my time is just as valuable as anyone else’s and I have to do what’s right for me. Saying No is part of that. Great guest post, Jenny! xxx
So glad you’ve realised that. When I was at my lowest point with anxiety, I had to say no to everything. Eventually I did stop getting asked and ended up losing my best friends but it just shows that they weren’t really friends in the first place if they were so quick to drop me, even though they knew what was going on!
I used to be terrible at saying no but it was soo counterproductive to my own self and mental wellbeing. These days, I say no to a lot of stuff. I still get that guilty feeling but it’s so worth it in the long run. I’m far less likely to burn out or get overhwelmed!
That’s great that you’re putting yourself first, regardless!
Yes to all of the above! I’ve been setting boundaries and saying no to certain people / events / situations etc for many years now and it’s something I won’t often bend for.
Thank you for sharing Jenny x
Kate | kindlyk.co.uk
YES! so glad to hear that!
I like this reminder – consent applies to everything, but so many people feel pressured into uncomfortable situations simply because they don’t want to appear rude. You have to be able to accept yourself and your own wishes without feeling rude. It’s better to potentially upset someone else by saying no, than upset yourself by going ahead with something you don’t want
I totally agree!
I really enjoyed this post. It’s something which I always struggled with, it was nearly impossible to say no – do you want to go and hang out this weekend, can you buy me this, can you work those extra hours after work — on and on it goes, until finally it clicked that actually I should put myself first. Although I love my friends, sometimes I need time to myself on the weekend, I don’t mind helping someone out for lunch if needs be, but I’m not a bank, and although working overtime can be good when you get that little bit of extra cash, working long days is not good. I use to feel guilty, like I was letting people down, but then I just realised, why should I make sacrifices to please others. Saying no one time does not make me a bad person, and I might say yes the next time, but only if I want to. Great post, thank you for sharing!
I’m so glad you figured out the benefits of saying no and started putting yourself first!
I totally agree that saying no is very important. I used to struggle with it because I didn’t want to hurt people but I realised that if I say yes when I don’t mean it I am actually hurting myself.
Antonia || Sweet Passions
I love this. I really struggle with saying no without feeling like I need a really good reason for it, even if it is just that I don’t want to do something. Sometimes it’s even with my own jobs – like I know I’m not in the right headspace to do this. It’s definitely something we should feel more comfortable with – you want your time with your friends to be enjoyable, not with the constant worry. Great post!
Because you don’t want to is a very valid reason for saying no! 🙂