Saying no is not something that most people are very comfortable doing. Others will always need favors and as long as you are a willing ‘yes man’ (or woman) they will continue to ask. Should you say no all the time? Of course not. It is good to help our neighbors, friends, and family. Still, we should always be willing to say no when the situation warrants it. Here are 5 Tips for Learning How to Say No that will get you through this sticky and often stressful situation.
5 Tips for Learning How to Say No
Avoid the explanations. One huge problem with saying no is that folks leave it open for discussion. You have probably done this. Your friend approaches you and asks if you will help with a random chore on your only day off. You of course say, “I would, but..” The moment you put a “but” out there, the other person will take that to mean that there are just problems to overcome. They will think you really mean yes, when in fact you were being polite. Don’t explain it, just politely say no.
Be polite but assertive. If someone tries to push past that clear barrier, be assertive. You can be assertive without being aggressive. There is a difference. Assertive is a clear, calm, and straightforward no that leaves no opening for negotiation. Aggression is simply trying to push your way through the problem with anger or unfortunate language.
Ask to get back with them when you are unsure. If you want to possibly help but are not sure if it will be feasible, ask to get back with them. This will allow you to look at things and decide in a place where you are not being pressured. This also works if you simply want to think it over first. If they are not willing to wait for you to consider the situation, simply say no politely.
Don’t let them project their problem on you. People that are in need of help are not bad people. You have asked for help at some point in time too, right? That said, you can’t take on the weight of every problem. If a person is in trouble, frustrated, or otherwise inconvenienced by your inability to help, you should take that as a sign that they are upset about their situation. Don’t allow yourself to take on the blame or stress. It is not your fault.
Leave the guilt behind. Guilt is sometimes quite powerful. It can make us do things we otherwise would never do. It can make us say yes when we really do need to say no. Some folks will even try to use guilt to shame you into helping. If they do this, simply give a polite no and walk away. Guilt only works on you when you allow it to.
What other ways do you use to say no? Does one thing work better for you than others? Share in the comments!