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June 25, 2021

4 Ways to Say No with Zero Guilt

Have you ever been tempted to say yes to something simply because you didn’t want to seem rude or unhelpful? The good news is, you’re not alone. The bad news is, it’s a very common problem, one that usually carries a ton of guilt along with it. Saying no can be a huge struggle, especially if you’ve spent most of your life trying to accommodate other’s feelings. However, adding no to your present vocabulary will not only save your sanity but it will help define clear boundaries with those around you.

Here are 4 simple ways that you can start saying no and still walk away guilt free. 

1. Give Yourself Time

When faced with a situation where you feel drawn to say no, it’s helpful to give yourself a little time delay before giving an answer. Start by developing key go-to statements that you can pull out at a moment’s notice such as, “I’ll have to think about that. I’ll get back with you,” or “Let me check my calendar and I’ll let you know.” Keep these statements in the back of your mind at all times. You’ll buy yourself some extra minutes and not feel guilted into an automatic yes. 

2. Start Valuing YOU

When you focus all your time and energy on seeking the approval of others, you discount yourself and everything that’s important to you. Start by recognizing that YOU get to choose your own value. Other people don’t define how worthy or important you are. Once you begin to realize this, it opens up a world of possibility. Your wants, needs, and opinions have a place in this world so don’t hesitate to show them off.  It will do you AND others good to see you taking a stand and putting yourself first for once.

3. Feel the Fear

And do it anyway. Let’s face it, sometimes you just have to do things that scare you to learn how to master them. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and decide to make no a part of your regular vocabulary. It may be messy and awkward at first, but just like everything else, once you get in the habit of doing it more than once, it’s going to feel like second nature, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly the guilt will melt away.  

4. Find an Alternative

If someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do, try to come up with another solution that’s a win for all parties. Instead of saying a flat-out no, it’s much easier to say, “I’m not able to do that, but how about this instead?” For example, if your friend wants to meet up for lunch but you’re trying to save some cash, tell her you could do a picnic in the park instead and make sandwiches from home. Finding ways to still be helpful will take away much of the guilt you would feel simply by saying no and walking away.


By using one or more of these tips it will ensure that you stay true to yourself and say no to the things that don’t serve you. This will forever be one of the best things you can do to protect your time and energy and save your sanity as well.  

While you’re here, don’t miss out on my quiz, “Are you a Pushover?” To take the quiz, click here!

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Dr. Monique Belton


Executive Coach and Clinical Psychologist, Monique Belton, Ph.D. helps empower people to create their dreams.

Dr. Monique Belton

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