How To Say 'No' More (It's One Of The Secrets Of Successful People!)

August 29, 2016 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Style

Earlier this summer, we told you about the benefits of saying ‘no’ more at work, and now comes evidence that the same rule applies to other aspects of your life, too. As we age, we tend to feel a natural inclination to do this more–in your teens and early twenties, saying ‘yes’ is our MO–yes, to friends, school, family and of course social obligations (go out on a Tuesday before exams? Why not!). FOMO is a very real thing, but saying “yes” to every opportunity that presents itself is the fastest way to burn out on life. As Warren Buffett put it, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

So, if your goal is to be more discerning in life and to say ‘no’ more, follow these very simple tips:

Know the value of your time. Time is money, honey! You’ve heard the old adage, but what does it mean? It means that there a finite numbers of hour in each day, and the more of them you spend on activities that fulfill and enrich your life, the better off you’ll be. And I don’t mean monetarily–volunteering for a charity that you believe in, for example, is more valuable than other non-paid activities that don’t fulfill you. You should have a gut check for every activity you partake in–does it serve your soul? If not, find a way to opt out.

It’s also important to calculate your hourly wage to literally know how much you’re making at your job. If you’re working crazy hours at a job you hate, that high salary might not actually be worth what you think!

Cut out frenemies. As you age, you learn the value of ‘real friends’– the ones that help you move, give you a ride to to the airport, or just make you laugh when you need a good laugh. They pick up the phone when you call, they don’t backstab or betray you, they Like all your Instagram photos, they bring you soup when you’re sick, they keep in touch when you move far away. They don’t make grand gestures of friendship like buying lavish gifts, but instead provide consistent love and support over the years. Next time a fake friend invites you out to the bar, or to their bachelorette party, just say ‘no’. You’re doing it for all the wrong reasons (social climbing is a ladder that leads to nowhere). Cutting out frenemies will only yield positive results–trust me–you won’t miss them and you’ll get to spend that time with the people who deserve you.

Don’t give excuses. You don’t need to give an excuse every time you say ‘no.’ In fact, giving excuses is a slippery slope, because then the person can argue with your ‘reason’ for not being able to do something (Or you don’t have a ride? I’ll pick you up! Your grandma is sick? Bring her!). Be direct and honest with people–simply say ‘no’ and leave it at that. They won’t have anything to argue you on.


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

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