Some people find it hard to say ‘No’, they worry about being disliked, want to please others or tend to avoid conflict. You may think that putting yourself first is selfish or you want to be polite. However saying yes when you really want to say NO is unkind to yourself and dishonest.
It’s true that some situations make it hard to say NO. Also some people are hard to say NO to; there are people who try very hard to get what they want by persuading people or making them feel guilty or even bullying people. In the moment it can be a challenge to say ‘No’ but ultimately it is helpful to set boundaries and say no to people as well as being kind to yourself.
You could see saying ‘NO’ as an art to practice. Here are tips on how to say, ‘No’, well.
The high quality ‘NO’
Be Honest: If you have a reason for saying no which you can share then do so but do not feel you have justify yourself or give a long explanation.
Be Kind: you can say no with a smile, you do not need to be aggressive or rude, just say ‘no, thank you’ or ‘no sorry that’s not possible’.
Be Clear: If someone does not want to take no for an answer, be direct and repeat yourself, then change the subject or walk away.
The second best, ‘NO’
When saying No is hard, then give yourself a break and try some less direct tactics.
Say no without saying ‘no’: You can say no in a general way using phrase such as: I am busy now…..I already have plans… I have a lot on at the moment.
Say you don’t feel like it: If someone tries to persuade you to do something you don’t want to then you can say, ‘To be honest I don’t feel like it’ no one can argue with your feelings even if they don’t like your decision.
Buy time: If you are not sure then say you’ll think about it, suggest you get back to them later. When you have decided, let them know.
Broken record: If someone won’t take no for an answer then just keep repeating yourself in different ways, this is good for small children but also works for persistent adults.
Reach a compromise: If you would like to accommodate someone but it is hard for you, then see if you can find an alternative solution which is OK for both parties.
Make an excuse: As a last resort, if you are feeling pressurised, are being asked to justify your decision or don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you can make an excuse. If you really don’t want to do something and are finding it hard to be assertive this could be the kindest thing for yourself.
If you find it had to say ‘NO’ then start by practicing in easier situations, try saying no in any situation where you would usually say yes. There will always be people or situations that make saying no hard, see them as a challenge and an opportunity to improve your assertiveness skills.
Remember you could be doing someone a favour by saying no. ‘I am thankyou to all those who said no, because of them I did it myself‘ ~ Einstien