Do you realize how many uncomfortable and messy situations could have been avoided if you knew the power to say no when it mattered? As Josh Billings has famously said,
"Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough."
But of course, this is easier said than done. There are too many inhibitions. What if your "no" ends up ruining friendships and relationships? Or what if it leads to a confrontation or a fight? What if you let someone down? There must have been times when you, too, must have felt like not doing something but relented because, "she is my best friend, I can't say no to her."
Here's what you need to remember. Agreeing to do something only for others, even when it's against your wishes, seldom works out in your favor. Shane Parrish once said,
"Success in school is about saying yes. It's about putting your head down and doing what other people tell you to do when they tell you to do it. Success in life is about saying no to the non-essential. It's the things you don't do that give you the time and space to work on the projects and deepen the relationships that matter to you”
So how can you get out of these sticky situations? Curious on how to nicely say "no" such that no one is offended and you don't have to compromise either? We are about to reveal it all.
Why Learn Ways To Say No?
You must be wondering if you really need to learn how to nicely say no. It's not really a big deal if you do something once in a while that you don't feel like, right? However, this is where you are mistaken.
There are plenty of reasons that should encourage you to get out of the cage of "I can't say no." Here's why.
- It's vital to give value to your feelings and needs as well. Prioritizing your needs above anyone else's is crucial for your self-care.
- You won't be able to make others happy if you are dissatisfied with yourself.
- Sometimes, saying no is a mark of respect, too, since you value the other person enough to not lie to him. Being honest about your feelings can never be wrong.
- Saying no to something you don't want to do gives you time to indulge in stuff that matters to you.
How To Nicely Say No Without Coming On Too Strong?
Yes, it's vital to find the power to say no within yourself. But that doesn't imply that you become rude. You wouldn't want to become something that people are scared to approach. This will only alienate you from others. The solution? Learn the art of saying no nicely!
"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and non-apologetically – to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside." - Stephen Covey
Be Firm Yet Courteous
Let's say something asks you for a favor or help but doing it is beyond your capacity. One way to decline politely is to state that you really are honored that they thought of you, but you can't do much in this situation.
Quite often, people ask us to do something when we are already pretty busy. Of course, you can't postpone your commitment. So don't hesitate to simply let them know that you don't have the time to manage the task for them as of now.
You can let them know about your commitment and other responsibilities that warrant your attention more at the moment too.
Be clear that your schedule is completely packed, and you won't be able to make time to do what they want. Remember, it's not your responsibility to postpone your chores for someone else.
Make Yourself Available For Future
One of the best ways to nicely say no is to make it clear that while you might not be able to help them out currently, you will be happy to do so in the future if you have the time. This will convey that you aren't really declining what is being asked because you are completely not available. Instead, you simply don't have the time for it currently.
You can also politely tell others that you are glad they thought of you for something, but you can't manage it. For instance, maybe your friend wants you to come to a concert. But you already have made plans or perhaps aren't in the mood to go out. You can simply thank them for considering you and let them know that you aren't available right now.
Don't Beat Around The Bush
There's really no need to prolong the conversation. The power to say no often does not need any excuses. You can refuse something without letting the other person know the reason for the same.
"No is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation to follow. You can truly answer someone's request with a simple no." - Sharon E. Rainey.
Respond With A Question
Sometimes, it's not easy to decline something, especially if the request comes from someone higher in position. In such a situation, you can frame your no in a way that puts the ball in their court. For instance, if your manager asks you to take on extra work, let them know that you are already loaded and wouldn't be able to maintain quality if work keeps piling up. But the manager wants; you can do it and prioritize what he thinks is more pressing at the moment.
This way, not only do you get yourself out of a complicated situation, but you also ensure that your manager doesn't feel that you are questioning his authority.
Learn To Be Selfish
Of course, it's helpful to know how to nicely say no. But sometimes, that's not an option. You have to be clear and firm in your stance. That doesn't imply that you disrespect the other person but make it apparent that you don't intend to budge from your position.
How To Get Comfortable With Saying No
You aren't the only one who feels guilt-ridden while saying no. Plenty of people are in the same boat. But as Ernest Agyemang Yeboah once said,
"It takes true courage and real humility to say no."
If you still feel hesitant to say no and end up doing things for others, even at the cost of your own happiness, here are some things to always keep in mind.
- It's vital to know your priorities. If saying yes to something pushes you away from your goals, is it worth it? When you cannot decide whether to say yes or no, think about your priorities and whether they would be compromised if you agreed to the request.
- Introspect whenever you find yourself at a crossroads. Your instinct will tell you if something is off, and you will realize that your heart isn't in it. You don't want to do what's being asked of you.
- You don't always have to answer straight away. Sometimes, it's acceptable to take some time to think if this is something that you want to do.
- Always weigh your options before agreeing to anything. Try to figure out how your one yes is going to affect your future.
- Don't try to be a people pleaser or feel guilty if you don't want to do something. You don't have to do something against your wishes to be liked.
- Don't try to come up with excuses. This will only give others a chance to alter their request in a way that forces you to say yes.
- Just because you are saying no doesn't imply that you have to be rude. It's entirely plausible to say no while being courteous too.
- If you feel too guilty, keep this in mind. No doesn't equate to never. Simply because you aren't available for something right now doesn't mean that you won't ever have time for it.
- Practice saying no often. This will give you the power to say when you most need it. And you will realize that nothing really changes due to a single know.
Value yourself enough to come up with ways to say no!
At the end of the day, your own growth, contentment, and satisfaction should be exceptionally important to you. Of course, we want our friends and loved ones to be happy. But do you really want a relationship where you can't even be honest? Sounds hollow, doesn't it?
Even at work, when you say yes to something you don't want to do, you merely set yourself up for disappointment. You won't really be able to perform well if your heart isn't in it. Remember, the real power is to say no when required without succumbing to pressure. As Tony Blair once said,
"The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes."
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