Being Willing to Set Boundaries and Say “No” is Important for Your Mental Health and Career

Say no

You might think making the most out of life means seizing all opportunities, but The Wall Street Journal elucidates why for your own well-being, you have to be willing to say no too. But for a lot of us, that is not an easy word to say to others.

Oftentimes it can feel easier to inconvenience yourself rather than inconvenience someone else. But unless you want to risk burning yourself out, you need to look after yourself too.

If you are looking to soften the blow when turning someone down so they don’t feel like you are rejecting them personally, make sure to express your gratitude for what was offered. Let the individual know you appreciate them thinking of you, but it is simply not a good time for you.

You also don’t want to haggle and get roped into doing something partway anyway. The person asking might invite you to their all-night event but say you only have to stay for an hour or so. But you know that with preparation, travel, and getting caught up in conversations, you could easily still lose more time than what you wanted. Stay firm in declining.

And lastly, just keep your response simple and honest. You don’t owe anyone some lengthy justification to pass on whatever they are offering. A concise “thanks, but another time would be better” can suffice. Don’t get pressured into sharing excuses you didn’t want to be public knowledge.

What makes being able to turn people down even more important is that there are so many situations in life where you will not have that option. You probably need to be a “team player” for your boss if they want you to stay late, and there are many family obligations that are considered rude to skip.

That is why it is important not to spread yourself too thin and be willing to look out for yourself when you can.

For more on the benefits of being comfortable declining what you do not want, read the Wall Street Journal here.


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The University offers over 200 accredited and career-relevant degree and certificate programs in flexible online and hybrid formats designed to accommodate adults of all ages who work full- or part-time or juggle demanding career, family, and personal schedules.

Learn more about WilmU here or register to attend one of the University’s webinars. You will find information about academic programs, flexible scheduling options, tuition, admissions, student services, athletics, and more.

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