Some people are eager to answer in the affirmative no matter what the inquiry is. Maybe you’re a people-pleaser, or just like taking on new tasks for the experience. While both of these approaches to life can yield many benefits, it’s important to ask yourself certain questions before agreeing to any commitments.


What will it cost?

When friends are asking for favors or a colleague is making a request at work, you probably often think that you are obligated to do it. However, you need to ask yourself what it will cost you. Taking a friend to the airport could lead to traffic delays and a rush to work in the morning. Taking on a colleague’s work project could lead to an unfair hourly wage. While surrendering time and money once in awhile might be worth it, you need to know what you’re getting into, each time.


Can it be reasonably followed through?

Thinking before answering is important because it prevents you from making commitments that they realistically cannot keep. People who keep a planner or frequently-updated calendar may be better suited to answer such requests. You can look to see what you have going on that day and assess if fitting in another commitment is possible. It’s better to say no now than to agree and have to break the agreement later, which just makes you look bad and unreliable.


Is the request reasonable?

In addition to knowing if the request can be fulfilled, you must also know if the request itself is reasonable. For example, if someone is asking to borrow a large sum of money, you could decline but offer a smaller sum. Keeping in mind that it is also possible to negotiate with the requester is often an important component of these conversations. And, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.


Is there a reason for it?

Questioning the purpose of any request is important. Some people constantly try to shove their responsibilities off on others, and this situation does not elicit a reason to agree. In other cases, you might get some personal gain from exploring a new opportunity, or you may really alleviate a one-time burden that a loved one is feeling. Those are much more valid reasons and ones you probably feel comfortable with.


Saying yes sometimes is useful. However, the word “no” exists for a reason, and you are free to use it when your assessment of the request doesn’t line up with your time and schedule.