Why is it so difficult to say no when you want to? Many of us tend to do things we don’t like, so we can please others, and may end up regretting our actions. We bother about creating a wrong impression by declining a favor or refusing to help someone. Saying no may seem aggressive like you are rejecting the person, which often negatively connotates it. We may also worry about feeling guilty or worry about being perceived as unhelpful and uncaring if we refuse to do something, and many of us would want to avoid such feelings by complying with our will.
Furthermore, when some of us try to decline something, we often take an ineffective approach in attempting to make an excuse for saying no. For instance, you may try to decline a party invitation by saying, “I’d love to come, but I’ve got a lot to do this Saturday.” This way, you give the other person the impression that you might be free next Saturday or maybe this Sunday, making them persistent.
If you are tired of doing things to please others when you are unhappy doing it, you want to learn to say no and mean it. Here are some tips you can adopt.
Seven Tips to say No when necessary
1. Understand what you want
Sometimes, if someone suddenly asks you to do something, you may be unsure how you feel about it and maybe quick to respond with a “yes.” You don’t give yourself time to think about what you want. If you’re going to learn to say no effectively, you must learn to take a breather to reflect, rather than giving an instant response. This way, you would less likely be in a hurry to appease others.
Whenever you are confronted with such icky situations, learn to say, “Let me think about it” rather than, “Sure, no problem!” Thereby buying yourself time to think. Taking your time to evaluate what’s best for you is necessary when making the right choice, and shouldn’t mad at you for it!
2. Worry less about what they think
Most people tend to worry too much about what goes on in the other person’s head; while this makes some feel good about themselves, the opposite is the case for others. You may begin to ask yourself questions like what if they hate me for this? What if they never speak to me again?
The truth is, the other person is going to look for an alternative regardless of bothering yourself about your decision or not. Therefore, there’s no use dwelling on or analyzing the situation or stressing yourself out with many scenarios in your head.
If you are transparent and honest with them, chances are they would care less about your disapproval. They may be happy and supportive if you offer reasonable alternatives and try to work something out with them.
3. Be clear
You want to say no but don’t want the other person to feel bad, so you end up beating around the bush trying to tell them precisely what you mean so they don’t misinterpret. But in the end, you fail to convince them and end up doing what you initially tried to refuse to.
To say no effectively, you must acknowledge the fact that it doesn’t make you rude or curt, even if the other person thinks of it that way. When you’re saying no, you want to be as straightforward as possible; say exactly what you want politely and give reasons if necessary.
If the person finds it difficult to accept your no, it shows they don’t respect your decision for some reason or probably isn’t a true friend. However, be sure to stand firm with your decision and don’t feel compelled to give in to their demands regardless of how they think.
4. Be Polite
To make the task more comfortable for you, you want to learn to say no with a little courtesy. You could say something like: “I’m sorry I can’t right now. I’ll let you know when I’m chanced, and if I can.” Taking this approach is a way to decline politely and puts you in charge of the situation by telling the person you’ll let them know when and if you can. Another example, “I wish I could help, but I can’t right now.”
5. Don’t apologize when not necessary
Do you often find yourself apologizing for something you don’t need to? Or saying sorry countless times when you try to let someone know you can’t do something? Sometimes, people become more persistent with their request because they feel being apologetic makes you vulnerable, and would eventually fall for them.
To be effective with this, you have to understand that saying no does not mean you have to apologize. You don’t want to be a people pleaser and end up doing things you are unwilling to because you feel compelled to say sorry.
6. Set boundaries
Sometimes, we have a hard time saying no because we don’t understand our role in the relationship. There are bounds in every relationship, and if you haven’t taken the time to evaluate yours, you may end up doing things you aren’t supposed to.
Try to understand your role within the relationship; when you do, you won’t feel worried about what happens when you say no to them. Knowing your standpoint in their life would help you realize that the relationship is strong and can withstand your disapproval on certain things.
7. Offer other options
Being solution-inclined is a positive addition to any situation. When you find yourself in situations that suggest you do things against your will, you can develop other alternatives that would serve you and the person better. If you are given a task at work, you don’t want to carry out; you can come up with a couple of suggestions that are win-win for you and your boss.
Or if a friend wants to spend time with you and suggests you both grab dinner at a restaurant, you can suggest going on a walk instead if you want to save money. Saying no to those close to you can be hard, but when you say “No, but how about…” and come up with helpful solutions for everyone involved, the task becomes more comfortable.