How to Say No Without Feeling Like a Bitch

If I asked you to name a "yes" man or woman you know, who would be the first person that comes to mind? You know who I'm talking about. The person who always says yes when they're asked to do something. The one who you can tell doesn't really want to take on another project but feels like they don't have the option to say no.

Would this person maybe even be you?

how to say no

how to say no



I'm fairly certain no one that knows me would label me as shy. But what might surprise them is I'm a recovering people pleaser.

I'm the person who has always negotiated terribly for myself because I don't want to offend someone else with my asks.

I'm the bleeding heart who believed if I didn't concede to every ask I would be letting the team down; I wouldn't be doing my job.

But what I started to realize is the more I said 'yes' the more resentful I started to feel.

I don't know how I got to be this way, but when someone asks me for a favor I often find myself saying yes before really considering whether a) I have the bandwidth to carry out their request or b) whether I really want to be doing it.


I recently listened to the Women, Work and Worth podcast featuring joy junkie, Amy Smith. She's the voice I've always wanted in my head telling me all the ways to decline invitations, requests, and demands in a cordial way that won't leave the other person pissed off.

You need to spend an hour with this podcast episode.

And because I think her message is so necessary, I'm also going to link to her website so you can sign up to receive her free e-book on standing up for yourself just because I think the message and practical application is soooo good.


I would be remiss not to address the elephant in the room. That being how unfair it is that when a man says no he's standing up for himself, yet when a woman says no she's 'being difficult.' I have no grand scheme about how to alter this cultural contradiction. I'm simply here to remind you - you're allowed to say no and still feel good about!

When was the last time you said no and felt completely relieved afterward?