Just Say No! But Go Easy.How many times a week do we have that pang of dread – like that Sunday evening feeling when you
don’t want to go to work. I am always saying yes to things that I later think why did I say yes to that!
Whether its extra work at a paid job, a coffee with someone who drains your energy, an errand that
you really don’t have time for I am always agreeing to things that would serve me better not to. Part
of the reason is that saying no feels rude sometimes; it feels like you are being lazy or incapable or
can’t manage. There are many reasons but actually saying yes to too many things does yourself a
disservice and also risks letting someone else down if you really can’t follow through. IF you think
you are likely to end up saying no anyway then it’s much better all round to say a quick no than a
slow maybe that is likely to end up as a no! If the boot was on the other foot it would be best to
have a straight answer as quick as possible wouldn’t it.
Saying no needn’t come across as rude or lazy; saying no needn’t be hard or feel unfamiliar. There
are some very palatable ways to “Just say no” and once you start practising you will find it will come
easier and more naturally. Once you start setting boundaries and taking a bit more control you will
find your self esteem boosted and even your decision making and sense of judgement will imrove as
your mind becomes unfuddled. As you being to lose that sense of dread and resentful feeling of
being controlled by someone else you will feel lighter and ironically more able to take things on.
Some nice ways to refuse are:
I can’t commit right now.
The timing isn’t right for me.
And if it is something that you have done in the past you can acknowledge this – I know I have been
able to help in the past but it made me feel_______ and I am no longer willing. Any of these
suggestions could be followed up with another suggestion of help i.e. why don’t you try ____ she
may be able to help. Or even: How about we touch base in a few weeks?
Have a helpful phrase at the tip of your tongue such as “That doesn’t work for me” or “I prefer not
to” and know when to stop talking – you don’t need to justify or make excuses.
The flip side of this is getting others to open up and discuss options when they have said no; be
respectful and calm and ask enquiring questions like Can you help me understand or try repeating
their concerns to show you have listened.
In either case the more you practise and the more confident you are the easier these negotiations
will be. Try it and see how it feels to “Just Say No.”