Five tips when saying no as an introvert
We’ve all been there. Someone is begging you to go out to that crowded bar or to their sister’s party where you aren’t going to know anyone … and you just don’t want to.
It doesn’t seem fun but they’re telling you how much fun it will be or that they need you there.
And all of a sudden saying that simple two-letter word seems like such a struggle.
Especially if you want to spend the night alone to recharge those introverted batteries instead of going out and socializing.
We live in a world where being around people is encouraged. It makes sense since when we were back in the ice age, we literally had to be in a pack to survive.
But the world is different now. We don’t have to be around people every second of every day nor do we really want to.
You need that time to focus on yourself. To indulge in self-care activities that make you feel reenergized and ready to tackle daily life stressors.
Oftentimes, if a proposed social plan interferes with your self-care routine, you’re expected to push it to the side. It isn’t a priority according to society.
But it is necessary. Otherwise, you’re going to get burnt out and stressed out. Quite frankly, you won’t be fun to be around (I know I’m not).
In order to spend alone time with yourself, you’re going to have to set boundaries and say no at times. I know this is easier said than done.
This is definitely something that I’ve struggled with since I’ve dealt with people-pleasing tendencies and being too nice. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings (which isn’t possible if you’re living authentically by the way).
So saying no seemed like a shot at the relationship. That if I said no when I could hang out, then I was sending a message that I don’t like them.
As I’ve worked on my confidence and setting boundaries, I’ve learned that this isn’t true. A person that cares about you will not hate you or make you feel guilty for wanting to take care of yourself.
If they do, then maybe evaluate that relationship because you deserve to do whatever the heck you wanna do. If that is a Friday night in watching reality TV and eating ice cream, then go for it girl. Your friends will understand, and you can spend quality time with them once you are recharged and can be fully present.
The importance of saying no
If that little pep talk hasn’t motivated you to start saying no more then let’s go over why it is important to say no. Remember everything you say yes to is saying no to something else.
So if you say yes to that party you’re dreading? Then you’re saying no to yourself and that self-care routine that you were looking forward to.
It is essential for confidence
If you’re able to set boundaries and say no, it is proving to yourself that you matter. This will lead to a boost in your self-confidence.
If you want to say no but end up saying yes to not upset the other person then you aren’t going to be happy to show up to that event, you may even beat yourself up.
Which is a hit to your self-worth. You can’t be confident and be pushed around at the same time.
While of course there will be times that you have to do something that you don’t want to do for the sake of the relationship, it is perfectly okay to say no from time to time. Especially if it is something that goes against your personal values or is going to be harmful in any way.
It takes courage to say no. But what happens if you say no to things that go against your personal values or something that is going to be damaging? You’re going to feel better about yourself.
You’re going to prove to yourself that you can set boundaries and be strong. This is the best confidence boost you can give yourself.
It allows you to pursue passions and hobbies, and reach your goals because you aren’t spreading yourself too thin.
The byproduct of saying no is that you’re going to be able to show up for yourself better. To be able to do the promises that you make to yourself because you have the time. There is no better mental boost than reaching goals and doing things that you said you were going to do.
Being able to pursue your passions and hobbies is going to allow you to have an outlet to be able to refill your cup. To have the energy to show up fully.
Passions and hobbies are a way to decrease stress and bring more energy into your daily life. It is what lights you up and makes you truly feel like you.
Tips on How to say No
So you can see how important it is to say no.
To be able to stand your ground and stay true to your personal beliefs.
But what if you know that saying no is important but you’re having trouble actually saying NO? That when the time comes, your brain goes into overdrive and you start convincing yourself why it might be fun or that it isn’t a big deal to go to make your friend or family member happy.
I get it, I’ve been there far too many times. So here’s what I’ve done to combat it.
1. Know why you are saying no.
It’s important to do personal growth work to know what your boundaries are. What you’re willing to do and what is not negotiable. If you are going to commit to doing an hour of self-care every Wednesday then commit to saying no when plans arise on that day.
If you have a reason for saying no, it is going to make it easier to convince yourself that it is okay.
This will also combat your falling into the trap where all you say is no. You don’t want to say no just to say no. You need to get out there and experience life still. Especially if you’re saying no out of fear.
Knowing yourself is going to help you decide if it is fear that is making you want to say no or if you truly just don’t want to because it goes against a core belief.
2. Preparation is key.
Introverts can sometimes struggle to put thoughts into words so preparation is key. It is because you’re a deep thinker but this can lead to you getting a little tongue-tied or tripping over your words. Which may make you even more nervous.
Which could lead you to say yes just to get the conversation over with. Instead, take some time to reflect and determine when you need alone time and what you’re able to handle this week.
If you’re coming off a busy week then maybe take this week to relax and recharge before the weekend rolls around. That way, if someone asks you if you’re available for happy hour on Thursday, you’re prepared to say no and that you can’t that night.
When we want to be social is going to ebb and flow so be prepared to respond accordingly. This is where journaling can be extremely helpful.
3. Delay your response.
And bouncing off that tip, the next tip is that you don’t have to give them a yes or no right away. The good old “I’ll think about it” then you can text them no. This can be extremely useful if you have people-pleasing tendencies or social anxiety.
It also gives you the time to think about it and determine if you actually want to attend. To think through the offer in an introvert-friendly way. Then you can feel good about the decision and not guilty about turning it down.
4. Be Direct, ‘No’ is a complete sentence.
I was a big culprit around the whole beating around the bush and then bailing at the last minute because I didn’t want to say no.
Which is definitely way worse than just being direct and saying no. It confuses the person, you’re getting their hopes up because they think you’re coming and then you just blow it up in their face and bail.
If you’re direct and you set expectations from the start then it is going to be a better experience for everyone. People understand that you aren’t going to be available all the time, what they don’t understand is why you seem to flake at the last minute. It comes across like you don’t like them, which I bet isn’t the intent.
Also, you don’t need to give anyone an explanation. No can be simply no. You don’t have to justify it, you don’t have to make up some excuse. You can simply say “no, but thank you for the invite.”
It’s direct, you’re saying no and you aren’t hurting anyone’s feelings. At least anyone that is a true friend and worth your precious time.
A bonus of not making up a story is that you don’t have to remember the fake story. That just sounds like extra stress that no one needs.
And if you think the person won’t get why you want to spend the night at home alone rather than with them just saying no thank you is fine.
5. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
I wish I could tell you that there is a magic formula or pill that would make saying no easier but there isn’t. With anything in the personal growth space, practice makes it easier.
The more you say no, the more proof you’ll have for your worried mind that your friends don’t hate you.
That staying true to your commitments to yourself feels good.
That the world will continue to spin if you decide to stay in.
With anything, you just have to get out of your comfort zone and just say no. It isn’t going to be easy at first. It is going to seem like the hardest thing in the world but over time it will start to feel natural.
You won’t feel guilty forever.
The feelings of guilt and overthinking the conversation will fade as your confidence grows and you realize that you can say no and nothing bad happens.
Once you realize that ‘no’ isn’t necessarily a bad word. It is just a word. It is important to put yourself first and say no to the things or people that don’t serve you.
It’s part of being human. If someone says no to you, how do you feel? I bet you understand and the people in your life will understand too.
Tell that inner critic to shush and live life on your terms.
Until next time,
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