The Thriving Center of Psychology reported that while many people focus their New Year’s resolutions on losing weight or healthy eating, others want to make 2023 all about setting healthy boundaries. Boundaries are the rules and decisions individuals use to protect themselves.
Setting boundaries is important for your mental health, but it’s easier said than done. Certain generations struggle with it more than others, and our new survey of more than 1,000 Americans has found younger generations have the most trouble saying “no” to others.
In 2022, Nearly half (48%) of Americans admitted to going to an event that they wanted to skip. The most common events were family parties, parties hosted by friends, holiday gatherings, birthday parties, and work events.
Across generations, Gen Zers ended up at the most unwanted events. 66% of Gen Z ended up going somewhere they wanted to avoid. 48% of Millennials and 43% of Gen X felt the same. Only about 1 in 4 (26%) Baby Boomers went to an event they didn’t want to attend in 2022.
The top reason Americans admitted to going to these parties and gatherings was out of guilt or obligation (72%). More than 2 in 5 (43%) said it was to support a family member or friend, and 36% didn’t want to let others down. About 1 in 3 (34%) felt pressure to say yes initially and couldn’t get out of it, while nearly 1 in 6 (13%) ended up getting pressured to go by others.
Nearly 3 in 5 (58%) Americans have trouble saying “no” to others, and Gen Z is the worst at it, but Millennials aren’t far behind. 64% of Gen Zers who took our survey say they have difficulty saying no compared to 59% of Millennials, 55% of Gen X, and just 42% of Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers were the only generation where the majority said they have no trouble saying “no.”
We also discovered a difference in gender. 65% of women compared to 49% of men admitted to having trouble with this. While 63% of Americans consider themselves “people pleasers”, that also varied between men and women. 67% of women compared to 58% of men feel this way.