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Co-workers asking for too much help? Try a ’20% no and 80% alternative solution’ response, says The Workplace Therapist

By | Aditi Shrikant |

Nearly 60% of employees report experiencing at least “moderate” burnout, according to a 2022 Aflac Workforces Report

One way to alleviate some of that pressure is to stop obliging co-workers who are always soliciting help.

If you’re a people pleaser, the idea of saying “no” when someone asks you for a favor is probably horrifying.

“The challenge with saying ‘no’ is it can be received personally,” says Brandon Smith, a therapist and career coach known as The Workplace Therapist. 

But if a co-worker is drawing on your appeasing disposition too much, it might be time to set a boundary. 

Here’s how to say “no” in a polite way when a colleague asks you for help. 

Your reply should be ’20% ‘no’ and 80% alternative solution’

First, abandon the mindset that you are the only person left on earth who can assist them. Even if they appear helpless, they are not.  

“While we think that they think we are the savior, all they want is someone to do this thing,” Smith says.

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