The Biggest Mistakes When Saying ‘Yes’ (When We Actually Want to Say ‘No’)

Sometimes we find ourselves agreeing to things even when everything in us wants to say ‘no’. Maybe a loved one is asking for a favor or your job wants you to pick up extra hours, and you say ‘yes’ because you’re a kind person. Maybe too kind.

Saying ‘yes’ to everyone eventually means you have to say ‘no’ to yourself and your needs. And the more you say ‘no’ to what you need, the more miserable you’re going to become. Maybe even resentful of the people around you that you continue to say ‘yes’ to.

Be mindful of what you agree to and how it will use up your time. Here are 3 of the biggest mistakes people make when saying ‘yes’ so you can learn to avoid them:

3 Mistakes Made When Saying ‘Yes’

1. Saying ‘Yes Right Away

There will pretty much never (hopefully) be a situation where someone is holding a gun to your head demanding to know your schedule next week and requiring an immediate answer. As much as you make yourself believe that the people around you need answers right away, they can wait.

Avoid saying ‘yes’ to something immediately, no matter how great it sounds. Offer a ‘sounds great! Let me check my schedule and get back to you!” instead. It’s just as polite, and the person will learn they can rely on your word when you do get back to them, regardless of if you join them for the suggested event or not.

Take your time with what you agree to. Whether you actually check your schedule or if you just sleep on it, the feeling of knowing you must provide an answer is a great indicator of your gut reaction. If you’re dreading passing that answer along, it’s likely a ‘no.’ Even if you don’t have a schedule conflict, be okay with telling people ‘that’s not a fit for me right now.’ You don’t have to explain yourself. Allow that person the chance to find someone who is all-in for what they’re asking, and move on with your time!

2. Not asking questions first

This mistake tends to happen when we encounter the ‘hell yes’ situations. They almost sound too good to be true…and sometimes, they are!

Always ask questions before you commit to something, no matter how perfect that thing may sound. How much time will it take? How many resources will you need to use? Do you have deadlines? Meetings?

All the little details are the things that often slip through the cracks when we’re signing ourselves up for responsibilities. And sometimes those details can be make-or-break. If you don’t ask questions, you’re liable to sign yourself up for something you don’t actually have the bandwidth (or interest) for. Make sure you’re clear on all the info before signing your time away!

3. Saying ‘Yes’ Because It’s In the Future

Sometimes we get asked to do things weeks or even months in advance, and those instances are where you tend to say ‘yes’ no matter how you feel. You assume the other person may forget, or something will change and you’ll be a different person in 3 months when the event is scheduled. But when that time rolls around, you find yourself feeling the exact same dread you would’ve felt if it was the day you were asked. And now you’ve stressed yourself out about it for the last 3 months, for what?

Just because something is happening farther down the road doesn’t mean you should say ‘yes’ and hope for the best. Treat the event or obligation as if it were happening tomorrow. Would you still be excited? Would you still say ‘yes’?

Trust your gut when it comes to giving your time away. If you truly do not want to do something, no amount of info or money will be enough to make up for the time you will lose. Take control and say ‘no when you need to so you can go after the life you want!


QOTD: What do you struggle with when it comes to saying ‘yes’?

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