If you have trouble saying “no” because you are a people-pleaser or because you are afraid of missing out on opportunities, you are not alone. You can avoid burnout, stress, and poor time management by learning to say “no” when you don’t want to do something. In order to help you learn how to say “no” with confidence, here are some suggestions:

When you have to say “no,” do so directly and honestly. You shouldn’t feel like you have to explain or apologize for everything. Don’t be vague or passive aggressive.

If you can’t grant a request outright, try to come up with a compromise that will satisfy both parties. If a friend invites you to a party but you’re not feeling up to it, you can always suggest an alternative, such as lunch.

Set your values and aims high. Create a list of what’s most important to you and use that when making choices. It’s acceptable to decline an offer if it conflicts with your priorities.

Learning to say “no” is an acquired skill, and while it may feel awkward at first, it will become second nature with time. You can practice saying “no” by declining smaller requests first.

If you must say “no,” do so politely and with respect. Being rude or dismissive can hurt your relationships.

If someone keeps pushing you after you’ve already said “no,” stand firm. Stay firm and restate why you’re passing.

Saying “no” is not the same as being unhelpful or selfish, so keep that in mind. Everyone benefits when you learn to set limits and prioritize your own well-being.