Saying no is a vital skill for introverts, but it’s not always easy for introverts to do.
We live in a world that doesn’t always understand why we’re saying no. Or we may feel like we don’t have a good enough reason to say no to something we simply don’t want to do.
Additionally, a fair amount of introverts are also people pleasers. Often times, saying no can feel like letting someone down, making it all the more difficult for introverts.
This post aims to break down why it’s so important for introverts to learn to say no and provide some tips to help you put this skill into practice.
Why this skill is essential for introverts
It protects your energy
As we covered in the introvert 101 post, there are more extroverts in the world than introverts. Which means it’s likely that you will find yourself faced with extroverts asking you do to do things on a regular basis.
If you don’t learn to say no, you’ll find yourself drained with no energy to spare. You may even find yourself with an introvert hangover, which is no fun!
Introverts only have so much energy to give and the more time you spend doing an activity, the less energy you have. You can’t afford to waste your energy on things you don’t want to do, or on activities you just don’t have the energy for.
It helps you recharge
Additionally, introverts actually get their energy from being alone. So if you’re feeling run down, it’s important that you have alone time to recharge.
If you can’t say no, you won’t be able to protect any recharge time you may have planned.
Only you know how much energy you have left and when you need time to recharge. If you can’t protect that time, no one else is going to do that for you.
It’s possible that you might be letting someone down by saying no, but you’re also taking care of yourself. You can’t be your best for others if you don’t have the energy to give them in the first place.
How to say no
If you can, be honest (and polite!) when saying no. Tell the person asking you for something that you’re too tired, not up for it, or aren’t really into the activity they’re asking you to be a part of.
If you like the person asking for your time and genuinely want to give them some of your energy in a different way, suggest a different time or a different activity (or both!).
This works best if you’re dealing with another introvert who gets it, or if you’re dealing with extroverts who get you, and who you can trust to respect you and your choices.
It’s always best to be honest, so if you can, this should be your first option.
Let’s be honest. Sometimes, people don’t respect our honestly–especially if you’re dealing with an extrovert who doesn’t get what it means to be an introvert. They don’t accept your no and may try to pressure you into changing your answer.
Sometimes, these fights can take more energy than we have. That’s one way introverts end up agreeing to things they don’t want to do. So if you can’t be completely honest with someone without a fight, be vague.
Say that you’re busy, or that you have plans, or there’s just too much going on. As far as I’m concerned, these are not lies.
To me, “busy” doesn’t mean that I’m occupied exactly when someone is asking for my time. It means I’m too busy to add anything else to my plate. I also often make plans to have downtime. Those plans are legitimate even if the only person I make them with is myself.
You don’t have to elaborate on what you’re doing what your time. Your time is yours to spend it how you wish. If someone wants to know what these “plans” are, just say, “it’s too much to get into, but how about we get together another time?”
I’ve noticed sometimes people (and introverts in particular) give indirect answers typically when they’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings.
We may say things like “I don’t know, let me check my schedule,” “I’d like to by I don’t know if I’m free,” or “Maybe, let me get back to you” when we know full well we want to parts of what we’re being asked to do.
The problem with this is, if we aren’t direct with our no, people will often keep asking. And the more they ask, the more likely they are to wear us down into saying yes.
To avoid this, be clear and direct whenever you’re turning something down.
Be repetitive if you have to be
If someone keeps asking you why you can’t do something, it’s okay to give the same answer. They’re likely asking because they want more information, but just because they want it, doesn’t mean you have to give it.
If you know that your downtime won’t be respected, you don’t have to explain yourself. Keep saying you have plans. Eventually, they will stop asking.
Hold your ground
This is really important. As we’ve covered, sometimes when we say no, people will try to get us to change our minds. They’re typically extroverts, and because they get their energy by spending time with others, they often think they’re helping us by encouraging us to get out more.
But most of the time, we don’t need to get out. We need to be left alone to recharge. In those instances, it’s very important that you hold your ground.
When people push, say, “I really can’t” or “it’s really just not a good time.” But whatever you do, don’t let them turn your no into a yes. It bears repeating: If you don’t protect your downtime, no one else will.
This will be hardest in the beginning, especially if people are used to pushing until you change your mind. But I’ve found the more you hold your ground, the less you’ll have to fight for it in the future. People will come to understand that you won’t be changing your mind and they’ll stop arguing with you on it.
And if it helps, focus on how happy you’ll be when you’re home, alone, recharging instead of out socializing and being zapped of your energy.
Looking for more in-depth tips on how to say no and better manage your introvert life?
If you want to dig a little deeper into this topic, check out the Introvert Life Guide!
This guide was designed to help you build the introvert life of your dreams. And it’s full of plenty of tips and tricks to help you say no and protect your time, space, and energy.
It will also help you embrace your introverted nature and build a life to help you thrive!
Sound off: How do you say no as an introvert? What are your tips and tricks? Tell us about it in the comments!