How to say no

I’ve just finished reading the brilliant book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck, by Sarah Knight, and I’ll be honest, my attitude and outlook on life has literally changed. Like a light switch being flicked on.

My Sister gifted me the book, for Christmas; I guess this was her subtle message and hint from her?!

The book’s aim is ‘how to stop spending time you don’t have, doing things you don’t want to do, with people you don’t like’. Which, sounds incredibly simple (and pretty obvious), but, when you’ve been hard-wired — as many of us women are — to be on this earth to literally please all the people all the time, how the fuck DO you change? How do you push back more without hurting people’s feelings, or as though you’re letting those people down?

Say ‘no’ more, Knight says. Tell people politely, have good reasons for doing so — and be honest. Knight adds that this will free you up to spend time with the people you really love and care for, doing things you really love to do, and not run around pleasing people all over the place, just for the sake of it.

Makes sense, hey?

The book has techniques and tools for letting people down gently; she says you don’t have to be an asshole about it.

I can probably provide examples on here of 100 million times in my life where I have gone to something/done a task/said yes/ and then rolled my eyes straight afterwards, dreaded it and at all not enjoyed myself when doing it. Or, by saying I would do it, then stretched myself so thin that week (because of my inability to say no to anyone, or feeling as though I’ll let them down).

I’m also the type of person that would go and do something because of FOMO (fear of missing out). Social media makes everything look glamorous and exciting nowadays; as though everyone is doing ALL THE THINGS. So much so, that if you do get invited to anything (even non-related to your own business), you instantly feel obliged to reply with a big fat YES and show up and smile. Otherwise, you can end up feeling as though you’ve missed out on important networking or growing your online presence.

But, saying no more is extremely liberating. It’s actually pretty sensible. It’s self-care. It’s mature. It’s clever. It, is extremely important.

Think about how busy you are right now…are you? I bet the answer is yes. Me too. Think of being able to have more free weekends (with no plans) and free evenings. Loads of them. To do the things YOU love doing — such as reading books, or playing the piano, or baking with your children, or seeing more of the friends you really adore. Or having a hot soak in a bath with a face-mask on. Bliss. Or, more time in the working week…for only doing the crucial work tasks that will add value to whatever you do for living, rather than taking on everything all the work people throw at you (and not really knowing why you’re doing it).

People will NOT think any less of you. You won’t upset anyone. It requires a bit more confidence and being firmer though; not something that always comes that easily to a lot of us. But once you do it once, it feels great. It comes a little easier each and every time. You learn how to do it better.

I’ve realised lately though, that by having more time to be with my loved ones, to do the hobbies and tasks I like, and do the work that is the most fulfilling, is key to my happiness. Anything that isn’t related with these three things, shouldn’t require too much of my attention. I’ll therefore be pushing back a lot more from now on, and saying ‘no thanks’ when it feels right.

My husband literally could have written this book. This is his life mantra. Which, I’ve worked out, now means that I am effectively trying to be more like him, despite having tried to change him over the last twelve years. Let’s therefore hope he doesn’t read this anytime soon and realises that he’s indeed been quite right all along.


Written by Editor, Jess Soothill

Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mother of twins, blogger and writer.

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  1. January 14, 2019 / 11:23 am

    It’s a great book! My fav tip was that if you don’t want to go to a party/wedding/baby shower etc, RSVP no and send a gift. So simple, so effective, and still makes people happy!

  2. January 23, 2019 / 10:55 pm

    I think I’m getting better at this but still have a LONG way to go! This book is right up there on my ‘ones to read’. xx

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