If You Hate Telling People No, Ask Yourself These 3 Things First

If you've ever felt the need to explain yourself, you're not alone. In today's society, there seems to be an ever-constant pressure to back up your reasoning with an explanation.

Therefore, if you ever need to say "no" to something, you usually get a look of disdain in response. Well, to be absolutely frank, screw that.

"No" is an extremely powerful word. The best thing about it is it actually doesn't require an explanation.

It's a proclamation. It's personal, and it belongs to no one but you.

We've been trained to feel guilty when it comes to denying or rejecting something. It doesn't matter it's as simple as an invitation to dinner, or as complicated as a relationship proposal: Every single time I've said "no"in the past, I've felt an overwhelming sense of guilt.

Only recently have I realized that "no" doesn't need to have some underlying meaning beneath it. When we deal with our friends or family, we're aware of everyone's feelings. We don't want to cross lines or muddy boundaries. We sure as hell don't want to upset anyone or start drama.

But I've found that even with the common stranger, I tend to acquiesce rather than stand my ground. It's a bizarre feeling because, in reality, one shouldn't be afraid of doing what's best for him or her.

Yes, in numerous situations, you bend and compromise. You agree to do what's best for yourself and others. But sometimes, you have to put yourself — and only yourself — first. Sometimes, if "no" is the best, safest and smartest option for you, "no" is exactly what you should say.

Not only is "no" an extremely vital word to have in your arsenal, but it's also thoughtful. This may seem confusing at first, but saying "no" to something can actually be an extremely considerate thing to do for someone.

If you're in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, saying "no" is a surefire way to not only remove yourself, but to also avoid further awkward confrontations with whoever you're dealing with.

Saying "no" early on could essentially diffuse a possible high-stress situation in the future. We don't always tend to think so far ahead, but saying "no" to someone could save both parties time and energy.

It may seem like a harsh denial at first. But saying "no" can be extremely rewarding and empowering.

If you're ever unsure or uneasy about saying "no" to someone, here are three questions you should remember:

1. Is this helping me?

Is being in this situation furthering my needs? Is being in this situation harming me?

If it is harming me, how is it doing so? If saying "no" means selfishly not helping a friend or co-worker because you want to get out of the office 10 minutes earlier, rethink your decision. If saying "no" means not taking another shot of alcohol when you're out with a new group of friends, you could potentially be saving your life.

2. Does this person require an explanation?

How close are you with the person who's doing the asking? Are you strangers, acquaintances, friends or family?

Is this someone you deeply care about? Taking the extra time to explain yourself is not a horrible thing. When it comes to a relationship that is meaningful to you, explaining yourself could greatly benefit the situation.

Analyze exactly who you're saying "no" to. Sometimes, you don't need to give that person an explanation.

3. Am I OK with this?

I trust the fact that I follow my gut. Many others may disagree, but I tend to believe that my instinctual reaction to something is very often right. If you know, deep down, that saying "no" is best, go with your gut.

Trust yourself. You can listen to other people's advice, but no one knows yourself like you do. Trust that you've got enough experience in life to make the decisions that are best for you.

It may seem like a selfish practice at first. But you'll soon realize that it's extremely helpful. So go forth and conquer. When you need to, say "no."