Learning how to stop being shy when it comes to what you need and denying others what they want can be difficult. No one likes to say no.

Saying no is difficult, especially when we are doing what is right for us. People can construe us as selfish or unhelpful when really, it’s just about boundaries and self-respect. Learning how to stop being shy when setting boundaries is the key to saying no and doing what is right for you.

The trick is to start slowly and implement one thing at a time.

It can process to get to the point of confidently forming boundaries, but it’s worth the time. Remember that you are important and your boundaries matter. Refusing others is not rejecting them, you are simply answering a request.

1. Start slowly

To start off with, buy yourself some time. You are trying to break a cycle and old habits die the hardest. Ask them for some time to let them know before you answer.

This will give you time to think about whether helping them will really help you and if it’s something you want to do. If not, you have time to think of a response to let them down easily. The first time you are saying no will be the worst, but it will get easier from there.

2. Keep it simple

If you want to say no, be direct and firm. Don’t shy away, but don’t be so firm as to come across aggressive. Keep a straight posture and maintain eye contact. Say things like, ‘I’m sorry, but it’s not convenient for me right now,’ or, ‘I am too pushed for time on my own projects to help right now.’

You don’t have to ask for permission to say no. Remind yourself that they are asking you for something, not the other way around.

3. Don’t over explain your boundaries

You don’t need to tell people exactly why you are saying no. Just give them enough information to understand why you can’t help them. You don’t have to justify saying no if it is inconvenient for you.

Your own work is important and so is your personal time. Helping other people should not carve into this time if you don’t want it to. Keep your boundaries strong and keep in mind what is most important to you.

4. Try to compromise

If you genuinely want to help whomever is asking your help, but what they’re asking is too much, try to come to a compromise of what you are able to offer. Come to a conclusion which suits both of you.

You may not be able to give them exactly what they want, but you will still be able to offer assistance without having to give a flat ‘no’.

However, you should only compromise if you really want to help. If you don’t feel that you can help, whether you don’t have the time or the expertise, don’t feel that you have to help just because you are asked to.

5. Don’t apologize

You do not have to feel as though you are doing something wrong by telling someone you can’t help them. Remember that you are doing what’s best for you and that is completely allowed.

It’s hard when you are figuring out how to stop being shy when saying no to people. We naturally want to explain ourselves and apologize for letting people down. You are not making a personal offence by saying no to someone, you are simply putting your own needs first.

6. Don’t feel guilty

It’s easy to feel guilty when we say no to people. It can feel like we are disappointing them, letting them down, or hurting them in some way.

It’s important to remember that they are asking you for something. Just because they ask does not mean you have to say yes all the time. You are not letting them down because you have not promised it to them in the first place.

You are also not offending them because it is not a no given for personal reasons. When you say no, you are simply doing what’s best for you.

7. You don’t always have to say no

Learning how to stop being shy when saying no does not mean that you have to say no all the time. If you receive a request you genuinely want to comply with, you should enjoy saying yes.

Say yes to the things that excite and interest you, especially if you have the time to do them. The point of learning how to stop being shy when saying no is so that you do the things that are best for you. If you think saying yes will be best for you, you should say yes, but say no when it isn’t.

Saying no is difficult for most of us.

We naturally enjoy being able to help someone when they need it. The important part of how not to be shy when doing what is best for you and turning down requests is to make sure that you are doing what is best for you. Your needs are important it is okay to put them first.

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