Be Selfish: 5 Simple Ways to Say 'NO!'

Be Selfish: 5 Simple Ways to Say 'NO!'

It's so easy yet so difficult. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, taking on more than you can and tiring yourself out, it means you can't say NO. Life Coach Kreena Desai gives you simple solutions

Let’s understand this with one little Quiz and a popular fairy tale. Read these questions given below and answer with a simple Yes/No:
1) Are you constantly putting others needs before yours?
2) Do you find yourself regularly taking on people’s work?
3) Do you feel very uncomfortable when you have to refuse a favour?
4) Are you always lacking on a little Me-time?
5) Are you always overthinking your response when you have refused to do something for your friends/family?
6) Do your family/friends get mad at you when you do not do something for them that was ‘expected’ of you?
7) Do you constantly feel like you’re not living up to somebody’s expectations?

If your answer is YES to one or all of these questions, you’ve unfortunately gotten yourself into the ‘I’m doomed because I cannot say No’ syndrome.


(a) In majority cases, I’ve noticed the whole idea behind people being unable to say “No” comes from the fact that people find it difficult to disappoint the opposite person.
(b) Another common reason why people end up saying “Yes” is because of fear. Many people are afraid of how the opposite person will react if they refuse.
Let’s take a popular example!


We all know the popular story about Cinderella and her cruel stepmother and her cruel stepsisters. They made her work day and night and she was kept poorly in her own house. But, did anyone ever think of how it all started? It was always explained that Cinderella was a kind and beautiful girl. But, no one ever emphasized on her inability to say ‘No’ to them all. On the contrary, it was implied that being kind meant doing everything quietly. Couldn’t her mistreatment be avoided had she just stood up to them and said the two simple syllables ‘NO’? How many of us do this too and unintentionally get caught in this vicious circle? Is there a way out? What if I said there was?


1) Start with saying ‘No’ for small and unimportant things

It is always easier to refuse smaller tasks than bigger ones. Start with refusing to do simple things like meeting for a plan that has no special occasion or refusing work that can be easily managed by someone else or doing the dishes.

2) Instead of immediately saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, tell the person you will get back to them later with your answer

Psychologists have proven that taking time to answer a question usually makes it easier to be honest. This is because there is enough time to think and weigh the pros and cons. For example: Many bosses use this technique when employees say they want to quit which in turn helps them to re-negotiate.

3) Take advice

Have an assertive person who can guide you about the relevance of the task to be handled.  For example: My friend, an interior designer who is great at delegating work tells me how she always discusses such topics with her mother before responding. She points out chores which can be handled by her staff.

4) Apologize or use other words instead of “No”

“I’m sorry I will have to decline,” “I apologize but, maybe later,” “I really doubt I will be able to,” “I strongly feel this isn’t important right now” “Unfortunately, I’m really hard-pressed for time” etc. can be used instead.

5) Offer to do something else instead at a later date

As per psychology, it is easier to replace a task than eliminate it altogether. This trick helps the mind believe you aren’t completely denying the job at hand but, helps you politely refuse the task. These simple tips will go a long way in helping you think a little more about yourself and a little less about how you can do right by people. Because it’s important to also do right by your own self.

Kreena Desai is a life coach who guides people in achieving effective solutions and attainment of goals through the right blend of practicality, positivity and faith in one's good destiny. She believes human behaviour and the subconscious when aligned with the forces of nature can do wonders in helping one realize his/her dreams. Kreena can be contacted on 0091 9967422329 or email id:

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