Relational Wealth

The Art of Saying “No”: How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

By harishsystango
October 21, 2020

No – such a simple two-letter word and yet it is so hard to say it. In fact, “No” is one of the 10 most common words uttered by babies, while “Yes” is not even in the top 20. However, as many of us turn into adults we developed a certain kind of inability to say no. 

As Paulo Coelho ( Brazilian lyricists and novelist) said:

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” 

Time is the most precious and finite resource we have. Neither it can be regenerated nor retrieved or reversed. Like water pouring down the sink as we brush our teeth, we have the power to utilize the time wisely. But, many of us find it hard to use our time sensibly. And, most often the reason is saying “yes” to the things which are meant for a “no”. 

But, have you ever thought why do we struggle to say a “no”? How to say no to someone and why is it important to learn how to say “no” politely? You must have, but finding the answer to these questions is not a piece of cake and that’s why we’re here.

In this article, we will unleash the art of saying “no” and will also guide through some of the effective ways to stop being a people pleaser.


Let’s dive in:

Why do we find it so hard to say “No”?

According to the research conducted by Columbia psychologists Vanessa Lake and Francis Flynn, “Many of us frequently say “yes” to invitations, favours, and requests in order to avoid the difficulty and discomfort of saying “no”. We, as humans crave for attention, recognition and intimacy. For our emotional and physical stimuli, we want to be nice to people and want people to like us. “No” is counterintuitive to this notion and thus when we say “no” to our friend for a movie or to our boss for extra tasks, we fear the repercussions.

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is another reason why we find it difficult to say “no”. The human instinct to be part of the community is incredibly strong. As mentioned by Professor Steve Peters in his book The Chimp Paradox, “The need to belong to a group is so powerful that we often compromise our lives and lifestyle to remain a part of the group”.

We feel this inner dilemma of how to say “no” to someone because we want to be kind and nice to others. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “nice” as pleasing and agreeable and “kind” as polite, considerate and caring. This means we can just be kind towards others and stop being so nice in some cases. The problem is, often people believe that being nice is a sign of a good person. However, this is not true. If you are simply stressing and overburdening yourself to be nice to others, then you are not a good person. Instead, carefully evaluating the opportunities and agreeing to things that align with your value, makes you a good person. And, thus for being a good person, you should also know the art of saying “no”.

We all can reconfigure our mind to say “no”

Yes, we can reprogramme our mind to say “no”. Thinking how? Eric Berne’s Transactional Theory will help you find out. According to Eric Berne, the Canadian-born psychiatrist, human behaviour has a set of three ego states as explained below:

  • Parent Ego State: This includes behaviours, thoughts and feelings that are heredity to parents.
  • Adult Ego State: behaviours, thoughts and feelings that we inculcate from our surroundings and situations that we face.
  • Child Ego State: behaviours, thoughts and feelings that we carry from childhood.

As per the Transactional Theory, the nature of social interaction is the sum of three states in the entire personality of a person. Berne explains why many people struggle to stay“no”, don’t know how to say “no” politely and at the same time also states that despite our past influences and external conditions, we can still make tough decisions for ourselves. For those who have been people-pleasers all their life and don’t know the art of saying “no” can redesign the way they behave by adopting healthy habits.

The different ego states of an individual make it difficult for him/her to say “no”. The battle between these pre-evolutionary ego states and your happiness is arduous. However, as soon as you recognize what changes saying “no” can bring to your life, it becomes easy for you to win the battle of your own happiness.

How to Say “No” Effectively – A Scientific Guide

William Ury, in his book The Power of Positive No, suggests that there is often internal conflict between sticking to our own sense of power and simultaneous desire to foster a relationship that makes it difficult to say a “no”. According to Ury, we often do the following three things in response to a request:

  1. Accommodate: This means we say yes when we actually wanted to say no. This brings us a false sense of peace which is replaced with resentment and apprehension later on.
  2. Attack: We aggressively say “no” to the ones whom we love or we take for granted.
  3. Avoid: We neither say yes nor no and simply leave the request unresolved.

Not being able to say a clear “no” is one of the biggest downfalls that successful entrepreneurs claim as their own key mistakes. Here is research that reveals how to say “no” politely.

According to the study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, 120 students were split into two groups. One of the groups was asked to say “I can’t” and the other “I don’t”. For example, students from the first group when asked whether they would like to go for a movie, they would say “I can’t go for a movie” while the student from the second group would reply “I don’t go for a movie” to the same question.

After repeating the phrases, students answered a set of questions which were not related to the study. And, once they finished answering the questions, they were offered a complimentary treat. The students were made to choose between a chocolate bar or granola health bar. Here is what happened: 

The students who told themselves “I can’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bar 61% of the time. Meanwhile, the students who told themselves “I don’t eat X” chose to eat the chocolate candy bars only 36% of the time. This simple change in terminology significantly improved the odds that each person would make a more healthy food choice.

The researchers wanted to find out how the right words make it easier to say a no. They did further research using the words “can’t” and “don’t” to find out how these words affect our willingness when faced with repeated temptations and distractions. They designed a new study, in which they divided 30 working women in a group of three. Each group consisted of 10 women, who were asked to sign up for a health and wellness seminar. They were given health goals to follow for the next 10 days.

Group 1 was indicated to just say “no” anytime they feel to skip the goals. Group 2 was told to implement a can’t strategy when they feel to slip off their goals and Group 3 was told to use “I don’t” anytime they feel to skip the goals. For example, Group 2 would say “I can’t miss my workout” while Group 3 would say “I don’t miss my workout”.

Here are the observations after 10 days:

  • Group 1 had 3 out of 10 who continued their workout for 10 days
  • Group 2 had only one member out of 10 who continued the workout for 10 days
  • Group 3 was the best performing group with 8 members who continued the workout for 10 days.

Saying “no” to the people is crucial at certain times as this will not let people take your advantage and approach you for the things to which you are more inclined to say “yes”. 

Furthermore, it is also sometimes required to say “no” to your inner self as well to overcome temptation and distractions. 

There are situations every day when you have to say “no” to something or the other. For example, the waiter who offers a dessert menu, your colleague asking you to help with his tasks when you are already overburdened with yours, your lazy self telling you to skip a workout.

Your response to these little choices appears to be insignificant, which is why you don’t make a big deal while telling yourself and others you “can’t” do something. However, if you’re polite with others and empowering yourself with the art of saying “no”, then you can lead a more productive and healthy life, without spoiling your relationship. 

Different ways of how to say “no” to someone:

Saying “No” to an Invitation/Offer:

  • It sounds lovely, but currently, I’m into something else.
  • Sounds great, but I can’t
  • Regrettably, I’m not able to.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t.
  • I’m thankful you considered me, but unfortunately, I’ll have to pass this time.

Saying “No” when you don’t have the time:

  • I’m not able to make it this week/month/year.
  • I’m really maxed out.
  • I’m not taking on anything else right now.
  • I’m booked into something else.
  • It’s not feasible for me to take this on.

How to say “No” for any random reasons:

  • I wish I were able to.
  • I have something else. Sorry.
  • Maybe another time.
  • Apologies, but I can’t make it
  • Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.

Many of us find it hard to strike the right balance between being nice and putting ourselves as a priority. While it might not appear as a big issue, being a people pleaser can harm your interpersonal relationships.

Who is a People Pleaser?

A people pleaser is someone who always tries to make others happy. People pleaser’s go out of their way to please someone even if they have to spend valuable time and resources. The main reasons why people pleasers often act like this is the lack of self-esteem and insecurities.

People pleasers are often of the belief that saying yes to every favour people want from them, will make them feel accepted and liked. Some people pleasers suffer from maltreatment and over time they develop a belief that they can get better treatment with pleasing people who mistreated them. 

Do you have people pleaser’s personality, here is a quiz to find out- Take the Quiz.

If you feel like you have been going out of your way to please people, start taking charge of your activities.

5 ways to stop being a people pleaser according to Experts

  1. Become Self-Aware:

No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of acceptance. – Robert Holden

We can only bring changes to our life when we look at ourselves with respect and when we start accepting ourselves as we are. Becoming self-aware means becoming aware of the thoughts and feelings, learning from them instead of unconsciously reacting to them.

Check your thoughts, and your actions as this will help you understand the flaws in your personality. Respect those flaws and try to bring good changes in yourself. When you will start encountering your personal truths, you will gain better control of your impulse to please.

  • Practice Safe and Small “No”:

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying “yes” too quickly and not saying “no” soon enough- Josh Billings

When it comes to changing your habit of pleasing-people, you have to learn the art of saying a “no”. Start practising “no” over small things and as we mentioned above, make use of the right words to be polite. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t go for a long drive” say “I don’t like going for a long drive” and instead of saying “I can’t help you with the assignments” say “I don’t have the bandwidth today to help you with the assignment”.

That said, it is also essential to excuses or avoids lies. When you’re saying “no”, speak with authority. Saying “no” with conviction will help you develop a habit of saying “yes” with conviction.

  • Accept that Uncomfortable feeling:

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” — John C. Maxwell

Stop being a people pleaser can be a bit painful initially. Sometimes, you will have feelings of shame, fear, guilt, and sadness when you say “no” to a request. However, these feelings will be for a short duration and in the later stage, you will feel that you made the right decision. 

Many times, we keep ourselves worried about the thoughts about how others would feel after our negative response. We think that our friends or colleagues might get angry or feel disappointed. However, it is important to remind yourself here that you’re not being selfish thinking about yourself. Sometimes, you should choose your happiness and peace of mind over others.

  • Know your Goals:

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”- Bill Copeland

It is much easier to say “no” to others’ requests and your inner distractions when you have goals to attain. It is always a good idea to keep evaluating your goals and set some short-term goals along with the long-term goals. 

Here are some of the goals that you should set for yourself:

  • Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years?
  • Which book do you want to read next?
  • Which skills do feel like acquiring to get better opportunities?
  • Which exercise routine should you follow?
  • Unleash your Internal Validation:

Seeking external validation brings disappointment. Validate yourself from within to find true happiness. – Amy Leigh Mercree

Most people pleasers are the ones who are desperate for validation and appreciation. In a study conducted by the Aarhus University in Denmark and  University College London, researchers gathered 28 volunteers to determine how someone can be identified as a validation seeker. Their aim was to understand the effect of external validation at the neural level.

They asked these 28 volunteers to list 20 songs they liked and then rate those songs from 1 to 10. They introduced 2 music experts who expressed their opinions about the songs. They scanned the brains of the participants and found out that greater validation the participants received, the more activity the brains showed. 

This means that confidence of most of the people is dependent on feedback from others. The best way to fight people-pleasing is to unleash your internal validation. Do activities that you enjoy, hang around with people who boost your self-esteem, enjoy your happiness and don’t put it in others’ hands.

Signing Off

Of course, developing a habit of saying “no” and learning to stop-pleasing people is not a thing that you will learn in one day. It is a challenging and time-taking process. Be patient and take one step at a time!

Relational Wealth

Is there a soulmate for you? What are the actual chances based on scientific studies?

By harishsystango
October 19, 2020

In this blog we will be deciphering the concept of ‘Soulmates’. Whether you believe Plato’s theory of soulmates or in the existence of twin souls (According to Hindu mythology) or the Spooky Quantum Entanglement (Physics that suggests that soulmates may exist) – all the three suggest that soulmates do exist. However, Finding your soulmate in this lifetime is not probable. 

Let’s dive into details. 


Do you believe in the concept of finding your Soulmate? If yes, then you are not alone, according to the Marist Poll, 73% of Americans believe that soulmates exist.

With the evolution of social media and apps like Tinder and Bumble, young people today are inclined a bit towards online dating. But the stats above clearly state that despite these trends, a yearning for a soulmate is a common thread across the generations.  

The idea that there is a person out there who can complete us and make us happy is constantly conveyed through different portrayals in books, magazines, films, and television.

But do soulmates exist? And, how to find your soulmate? Before coming to the answer to these questions, let’s first see how this term originated?

What the Term “Soulmate” Means?

The early use of the word “soulmate” is seen in the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s letter from 1822, in which he wrote: “To be happy in a Married Life… You must have a Soul-mate.”

Several centuries before Coleridge, the famous Greek philosopher Plato, wrote about the reasons behind the yearning for a soulmate in his text “Symposium”. He quotes the poet Aristophanes as saying that in the beginning, all humans were androgynous. However, Zeus, the Greek king of God, cut humans in two out of fear and jealousy.

The transcendent experience of two soulmates reuniting is explained by Aristophanes in the following way:

“And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself…the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other’s sight as I may say, even for a moment.”

But the question is what does soulmate mean? Here is a brief concept as believed in Hinduism about do soulmates exist?

Twin Souls as per Hinduism

The spiritual branch of Hindu religion believes in the concept of the twin flames, like the theological concept of the two-headed.

The harmony of man’s seven centres (the lowest being the sex centre and the highest is called Samadi) with that of a woman signifies that you have found your soulmate. Whenever such happens, there is a feeling of absolute oneness. Two people completely melt into each other, which is referred to as unio mystica. 

What is Twin Flames or Twin Souls?

Within God rests both the energies masculine and feminine and this is why Lord Shiva (The 3rd God in Hindu Mythology) is also known as Ardhnarishwar Shiva (Sanskrit: “Lord who is half women”). Both the atoms exist in this energy, which when manifested on the physical plane are split into feminine and masculine flames. These flames are called twin souls or twin flames. Every soul in the world exists in duality i.e. the male and the female, and therefore each and every has its counter soul. One-half of the soul manifests feminine and another masculine, the destiny of the two souls is to unite and achieve liberation at the end of each cycle.

These twin flames remain tied together with a crystal chord throughout their journey. During the karmic reasons, the two flames depart from each other. When all karmic debt is purged, the two fuse back together and get liberated.

Let’s now explore what does soulmate mean in terms of quantum physics.

Spooky Physics Quantum Entanglement Theory Indicating Existence of Soulmates

As described in Wikipedia, “Spooky quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon which occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other(s), even when the particles are separated by a large distance—instead, a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole.”

This is how subatomic particles, like protons or electrons, get entangled with each other even when they are at a great distance. It is a “really delightful, really strange” thing, says MIT physicist David Kaiser of the phenomenon which is called “quantum entanglement”. Somehow what happens to one particle can have an impact on the second one, even if they are nowhere near to each other. 

Quantum entanglement suggests that once a part of the system, two particles remain in touch with each other even if they are separated by spatial distance. It applies that everything is a part of a much larger whole which is called “Cosmos”.

Now, that we understood the spooky physics quantum entanglement theory that provides hints of the existence of soulmates. Let’s explore what are the chances of finding the one.

What the Numbers Say About the Chances of Finding Your Soulmate?

According to The Science of Soulmates, “scientific instruments recorded evidence of a fundamental energy pattern that reveals the source of existence and the source of the phenomenon of soulmates.”

In his book, What if?: Serious Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, Randall Munroe, one-time NASA Roboticist, tries to answer the question, “What if everyone actually had only one soulmate, a random person somewhere in the world?”

According to Munroe, the chances of finding Chandler to your Monica (or vice-versa) are second to none. He defines a soulmate as a person who is around the same age as you, which means that every person on this earth has more than 500 million potential candidates for a soulmate.

Let’s suppose that you meet a few dozen new strangers each day. Then as per Munroe, “If 10% of them are close to your age, that’s around 50,000 people in a lifetime. Given that you have 5 million potential soulmates, it means the chances of finding the one is one out of 10,000 lifetimes.”  Thus, according to Munroe and his calculations, the probability of finding “the one” is not in your favor (being generous here). 

Ditch Mythological Soulmate & Get Real – A Formula for Finding the “One” in This Lifetime

In a timely and entertaining post on the TED Ideas blog, mathematician Hannah Fry claims about optimal stopping theory which can help lovers decide whether to keep swiping right on Tinder or end this game for the good.

Fry offers a formula, derived using the optimal stopping theory, which as follows:

P in the equation denotes the probability of stopping and settling down with the best person. “n” denotes potential lovers and “r” denotes the number of rejection. This formula tells exactly how many people to reject to increase your chances of finding “the one”. 

So, according to Hannah Fry’s optimal stopping theory, “Say you start dating when you are 15 years old and would ideally like to settle down by the time you’re 40. In the first 37 percent of your dating window (until just after your 24th birthday), you should reject everyone — use this time to get a feel for the market and a realistic expectation of what you can expect in a life partner. Once the rejection phase has passed, pick the next person who comes along who is better than everyone who you have met before. Following this strategy will definitely give you the best possible chance of finding the number one partner on your imaginary list.” 

If you are trying to determine – if  she/he is my soulmate?, then Fry’s formula is no use to you. However, it remains a good strategy for deciding on the best choice in this large and uncertain field of finding your soulmate.

Fry’s formula gives an approximate number of rejections that you have to make before you finally stop to date someone. However, according to Joshua Klapow, Clinical Psychologist and the Host of the Kurre and Klapow Show, “If the belief is that soulmates are defined by perfect compatibility, lifelong passion and ease of connection for the entirety of the relationship, then finding your soulmate may be difficult,” 

Believing in the concept of soulmates can lead to issues if you expect your relationship to be a piece of cake.

How Believing in Soulmates Can Cause Problems in Your Relationships?

Relationships need effort and it is unrealistic to expect that you will never face challenges in a relationship with your soulmate or you would feel ‘passionate love’ at every moment. 

People who believe in soulmates are more likely to break up and give up on their existing relationship in the hope of finding “the one”.  

Researcher Raymond Knee tried to find how people answered the question- Do you believe there is one who is meant for you? He found that people have either- Destiny beliefs, which means that they believe they are destined to be with one person who is meant for them or Growth Beliefs, means relationships can be built strong with time and efforts.

People who believe in soulmates or destiny often ask themselves:

  • Is he my soulmate?
  • Is this the best I can do?
  • Is this it?
  • Can I do better to make the relationship better?

On the other hand, people with growth beliefs internally assess themselves with following questions:

  • Are we a good fit?
  • How can we get closer?
  • How can I be a better person?
  • What can I do to make the person better?

Looking for a soulmate decreases the motivation to make a relationship work. Finding the soulmate means being open to adaptability and growth. Here are a few ideas to think about:

Patterns of Past Relationships

Have you been in relationship with deal breakers? Are you going back to the same person over and over again? Examine your relationship patterns and connect this to your belief about soulmates. If you are a destiny believer, see if this idea has served you in the past and if you are a growth believer, examine whether you can learn from past mistakes.

Changeable or Unchangeable?

Not all bumps in a relationship are minor. There are deal breakers for sure, however, there is a difference between major differences or resolvable conflicts. Think about the past dumps or deal breakers? Were they changeable or compromisable?

Adaption is Advancement

People tend to believe that refitting our ideas to someone’s else is a sign of weakness. However, this is not true. The strongest people are always flexible and ready for compromises. Remember, when you love someone, you grow for them, you grow together and you change together.

In a nutshell,

Plato’s theory suggests the existence of twin souls and   or in the existence of twin souls or the Spooky Quantum Entanglement- all the three suggest that soulmates do exist. However, Finding your soulmate in this lifetime is not probable.  

Rather, when you have chosen that “one-in-a-billion-perfect-match” for you, you need to consistently put efforts to build a happy relationship with them.  Through communication and constructive conflict resolution, you can create that strong bond and establish fulfilling relationships irrespective of not being custom-built for each other from the beginning.


New Volunteer Opportunities

By patrickyourarqcom
September 14, 2020

Donating money isn’t the only way to give to charitable organizations, many of whom rely on volunteers for various services. If you find yourself with free time on your hands on your weekend, or during the week, you could consider putting in some community service. Not only will you help a good cause, but it can also be a way to meet people and learn new skills.


Celebrate Microvolunteering Day

By patrickyourarqcom
September 14, 2020

You want to get involved and give back to the community, but can’t fit another big commitment into your busy schedule? Then microvolunteering might just be the thing.

Microvolunteering is a small, bite-sized task or project, that is quick and easy to perform. Best of all there’s a range of things you could do online, in as little as 30 minutes. Donating processing time on your computer, signing an online petition, or promoting a charity on social media are all examples of microvolunteering that you could do today.