Generally speaking, people often feel they cannot say “no” to someone who asks them for something because they are worried about upsetting the other person. Many of us are programmed not to say “no” because we think if we do its not nice. We have a tendency to dislike disagreeing, or we believe saying “yes” is easier than saying “no.” For some women especially, they simply cannot say “no.” These women end up taking on too much and it affects their health and well-being greatly. There are often times where it is best to say “no” to a request. So we’re going to Learn to Say “No” because it is oh-so-very-important to utter that small little word, and to do it in a guilt-free way!
Adopt simple strategies to say “no,” politely but firmly. You do not need to cook up stories in order to refuse. Many times people lie in order to avoid saying “yes” to something they don’t want to do. Do you do this? You don’t need to offer excuses. You can say “no” without being dishonest.
Here are just a few of the gajillion and umpteen ways you can say “no”:
- “No.” (Easy!)
- “I can’t accept this, with my present commitments. I’m apologize and hope you find someone who has the time.”
- “I’m rather quite busy now. I have to decline.”
- “I don’t think I have the time for it, as I am in the middle of something important.”
- “I already have prior commitments.”
- “I want to say ‘yes’ because I feel like that is what you would like, but I have to say ‘no.'”
- “No, I would only be able to do a mediocre job right now if I took this on.”
- “No, I don’t have any spare time right now.”
- “No, I’m not interested in this and I know because of that I won’t do a good job for you.”
- Not this time, please give me more notice next time and I’ll work it into my schedule.
- “I can’t.”
- Why don’t you try someone else? I’m not the right person for this.
There are a hundred other ways of saying “no” without feeling guilty, uneasy or hurting others by being blunt or rude. It is not so much the way you say it as the feeling you allow yourself to have afterwards. If you aren’t sure about whether to say “no,” you always have the option of asking for time to make the decision without feeling guilty. You may say you will have to think about it. If somebody persists with the request when you want to say “no,” you may have to be assertive and firm and that is totally okay. With the exception of a boss and coworkers, which are trickier to say “no” to, surround yourself only with people who would only ask once and understand if you were to decline. You don’t need to risk over-committing yourself by saying “yes” when you actually want to say “no.”
On the subject of bosses and coworkers, it can indeed be more delicate. Often people who take on more than they can reasonably manage to do within a specified time, end up either not doing the job at all or doing it poorly or sacrifice time with family and loved ones in order to get the work done. When it comes to work, show your boss the reasons for not being able to accept the extra responsibility and suggest alternative strategies or others whose workload is lower or competence levels higher for accomplishing that particular piece of work. Be sure to tell him or her that it is important to you, but… In any case, don’t accept anything that puts your job at risk or makes you suffer later. Also, make a point to take on extra work when you can (periodically volunteer for extra work when you can handle it) so that your boss knows you are a team-player.
Undoubtedly, learning to say “no” is a must-have skill for everyone. Saying “no” at the right time can help you to gain respect with your peers and help avoid bitterness from those to have to hear it.