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How to say no without feeling guilty: 6 secrets from experts

By | Eric Barker |

They’re asking you for something. And you feel like if you say no, they’re going to hate you. So you’re tempted to say yes, even though you don’t want to. Ever been there? We all have.

But if you say yes, you’re going to be frustrated with yourself. And you’ll likely feel resentful and angry with them… even though you could have just said no.

And research shows this not only creates a cycle of awful feelings, it actually does real damage to your relationships. Yes, being “too nice” can cause legit problems.

From The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome:

Conflict avoidance is not an ingredient of successful relationships. Rather, it is a serious symptom of dysfunctional ones. It’s better to recognize that negative emotions between people are inevitable, and you must learn to deal with them effectively… If you cannot express negative feelings, your relationships will simply lose their authenticity.

So how do you say no without feeling guilty? Experts and research have answers. Let’s get to it…

1) Notice the No’s

Times when you said no and someone got angry stick in your memory like billboards made of neon. But the truth is people say no to requests all the time and suffer no ill consequences. The sea doesn’t turn to blood and frogs don’t fall from the sky. The requester just shrugs and says, “Okay.”

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