Saying “no”

We often come across situations where we have trouble saying no to people. We feel pressured to say yes to everything. We think it is our duty to say yes because if we say no we are “bad people”.

Let’s look at why we often have trouble saying no:

It makes us look bad: We as human beings always try to please people or try to stay in everyone’s good books. We think if we say no people won’t like us anymore.

No seems like a rejection: growing up our parents would often say no to a lot of things. They did it to protect us but we took it personally. So, now while saying no we think people will take it personally and consider it a rejection.

We feel guilty: we mostly say yes to everything but sometimes, when we do manage to say no, we tend to die with guilt later. We are more affected by the no than the person who asked for our help. That person would have moved on, asked another person, or figured something else out but we keep feeling guilty.

Here are some tips that could help you say no:

  1. Give them an explanation: when people ask us for help they are going to be prepared for a yes or no answer. So we need to remember that they expect a no too. Now an effective way to saying no is by giving an explanation. Providing them an explanation shows that we are considering their feelings.
  1. Adding but after no: Another way you can say no is by using but after it. If someone asks you for help with their work. You can politely reply “no, but I know someone who can help” or you can try saying “no, but I will be able to help on Saturday”. In this way, you are telling them no but with a possibility of helping them out.
  1. Decline politely: Yes, this article is about saying no. But, I am not asking you to be rude. You can politely decline by using phrases like “I would love to help, but I am booked right now”.
  1. Understand your relationship: we have trouble saying no because we think the other person will feel bad and would not like us anymore. That’s when the need to evaluate our relationship with them comes in. If they are really your friend or someone that cares about you, they would understand that you are just busy. They would not have any hard feelings. If they feel bad after a no, think again if you need such people in your life.  
  1. Prioritize your needs: if prioritizing your needs is considered selfish; I don’t see the harm in it. We know that if we can help we would. But, if it something that will consume our time and drain our energy, we need to say no.

Life is going to give us more situations where we will have to decline politely and move on. We need to learn how to say no and feel okay saying it.

Categories: Skill Development

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