Sometimes, we all have to say “no” to things — but it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing at that moment. 

Whether it’s in your career, your friend group, or at home with your family, it’s good to say no. Knowing when to say no is the tricky part, but I’m sharing a few of my insights and tips to help you navigate saying “no.”

Is Your Obligation Real, or Is It FOMO? 

Most of the time, we’re saying “yes” out of a feeling of obligation. 

But, does that obligation even really exist, or are you just putting pressure on yourself to meet someone else’s standards? Is it FOMO that’s pushing you to say yes instead of an actual desire to engage in the activity? 

Those feelings of FOMO or obligations may just be reflecting your own insecurity because you’re not feeling empowered in your decision to say no. 

Understanding the instances where you actually are obliged versus the ones where it’s personal or social pressure will help you learn when to say no. 

For example, if someone went out of their way to help you in the past and you owe them a favor, it might be a good time to say yes even if it’s a little bit inconvenient. 

But, if someone requests something of you for their own personal benefit and you’re just tacked on as a convenient tool in their fantasy — and it’s something that gives you a bad feeling or gets in the way of your goals — that’s certainly a time to practice saying no. 

Are You People-Pleasing or Living Your Truth? 

Even if you are obliged to do something based on a real and concrete give-and-take situation, you still need to weigh that request against your own inner guidance. 

If it’s a case where the person doesn’t value your time or you’re dreading it instead of feeling excited, you might want to say no. 

But, just because you say no now doesn’t mean you can’t say yes later. Politely declining the request and saying “maybe next time” can help you navigate these situations. 

The simple act of saying no first can give you the chance to stop and think about why you rejected the offer in the first place. Then, even if you decide to call them back and say yes, you’ll be doing it out of your own volition. 

It won’t be people-pleasing anymore because you’ve disrupted the cycle to make your own strong decision. 

Saying No Gives You the Power Back 

One of the main reasons I believe that we all deserve to say no more often is because it gives you your power back. When you have control over your time and are not running after the ideas of others, you’re able to focus your attention on what really matters in your own life. 

This allows you to dedicate 100% to the most important thing versus 20% to a bunch of things you don’t even really care about.