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How to say no

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How to say no

It’s a little word, but if you’re a chronic people pleaser it can be so tricky to say it. These tips and tricks will help


5 mins. de lectura
5 ideas fundamentales
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I’m done being a people pleaser, if everyone’s OK with that.

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“I’m done being a people pleaser, if everyone’s OK with that.” Does this sound like your annual New Year’s resolution? Do you have difficulty turning down requests for your skills, time and attention? Have you lost touch with your own identity in your efforts to satiate your family, friends, boss or colleagues? If your tendency to say yes infringes on your well-being, read this sensible article by science journalist Shayla Love, who cites several psychology studies while explaining how to break the cycle and learn to say no.


People pleasers lose their sense of identity when they become the person that others want them to be.

People pleasers’ instincts generally spring from an authentically good place: They wish to maintain social harmony and satisfy others. Yet this personality quirk can be self-sabotaging: If your desire to please engulfs you entirely, you can become anxious and depressed. You lose sense of your individuality, resulting in a “vanishing self”; that is, you exist merely to satisfy others and fail to pursue your own wants and needs. If you frequently feel obligated to bend to others’ wills, rest assured: You can learn to become more assertive, push back and say no.

The cure for “the disease to please” is to audit why and how often you say yes.

For a week, track how many times you say yes, how saying yes makes you feel, and how inconvenient each request is. At the end of the week, review your notes. Bear in mind that people pleasers come in various shades, all with a desire for acceptance: Some are incapable of saying no, even when saying yes pushes them toward burnout. Others yearn to appear amiable...

About the Author

Science journalist Shayla Love is a staff writer at Psyche. Her articles have appeared in Vice, The New York Times and Wired.

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