3 Times You Should Always Say “No”
At work, at home, with your friends—there’s an emphasis on saying yes. Who wants to be the Negative Nelly (or Ned), the wet blanket, or the uncooperative, dissenting colleague? No is a rejection, a closed door. Yes is an invitation, a beginning.
You can see this cult of yes everywhere, from the big screen (“Yes Man,” starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel) to the written page (“The Year of Yes,” by Shonda Rhimes). But always assenting may not be such a good thing after all.
When your default is yes, you end up agreeing to projects you’re not truly equipped for, obligations you don’t want to fulfill, and opportunities that don’t teach you the skills you’re focused on. The yes habit can make it much, much harder to concentrate on your priorities.
No doesn’t make you selfish. In fact, it means your efforts go toward the most deserving work. Wondering when it’s okay to say no? Here are the three times not saying yes is the right move.
1. When you’re too busy
Anytime your schedule is full, you’re completely justified in saying no.
Let’s say your friend asks if you’re free on Friday to help her move. You’d love to help out, but then you’ll barely have any time to run the errands you’d planned and finish the book you need to return to the library. Say no! And then once she’s all moved in, take her a housewarming plant or plate of cookies.
2. When you’re being pressured
Contrary to popular belief, peer pressure doesn’t end when you graduate from college. Nor is it limited to your social life. We’re pressured to do things all the time, whether we’re in the office, talking to our relatives, or even submitting to societal expectations.
But no one—seriously, no one—can make you do something against your will. Maybe your colleagues are pressuring you to apply for a board you’re not excited about. Say no. Your mentor thinks you should get a graduate degree, but you’re not interested in the career path that would lead you down. Say no. Your dad thinks you should move, but you love your city. Say no.
It can be hard to withstand the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) encouragements to change course, but stick to your guns. You’ll be happier and more successful in the long run.
3. When you get a financial request
There’s an unstated rule that suggests keeping your money and friends separate. That means no loans, no joint enterprises, and no “gifts” with strings attached.
Following this rule isn’t always easy. When your friend asks to borrow money, you want to help them. However, consider that the value of the friendship is too high to say yes— if they didn’t pay you back, the relationship might suffer. Of course, if your friend is in true financial distress, this philosophy goes out the window.
These are far from the only situations you should say no in, but they’re a good starting point. Practice listening to yourself, taking a deep breath, and not saying yes.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the eighth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 14th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 26 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.