Some would argue that No is a full sentence. If that works for you, go for it. I could never do it. I couldn’t even say the word without feeling guilty or uncomfortable. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It made me feel too uncomfortable. So I’d prefer to say yes to others at the expense of my happiness. It would bring up feelings of resentment and irritation.

So I decided to make a change. I knew I deserved to be happy too. When I started to say no, I started saying yes to myself. It was empowering. I took it slow. I started with sending regrets for Christmas parties. I already had three in one day, so saying no to one felt easier to do. I didn’t over explain or over apologize. I just sent a quick message saying that “I would love to come, but unfortunately I have to send my regrets”.

No one got upset with me. No one took it personally. No one asked for explanations. It was fine. And the more I did it the easier it became.

Try it. See how it goes. It can be done politely, without feelings being hurt.

  • No thanks
  • I wish I could, maybe next time
  • Unfortunately I already have plans
  • So nice of you to offer, but I’ll have to pass this time

Practice your response first. Maybe even role play it with your spouse. You can’t make everyone happy. You may upset some people, but they’ll get over it. You’ll have to learn to tolerate discomfort in yourself as well. That’s why it’s good to practice.

Good luck! You got this. I’m so happy as a recovering pleaser. I don’t ever want to go back.