In a world where people are always trying to please others, the ability to say no to people seems to be a harder and harder thing to do. Learning to say no can indeed be something which propels your productivity to the next level. Choosing the things to complete and prioritising accordingly can become a fine art. You are obviously here because you struggle with saying no to people. At first it can seem like a very uncommon thing to do. For many of you who tend to be affable in all occasions and wanting to please people, learning to say no can tend to be something that you struggle with just the concept.
Learning to say no ironically its a key part of developing the growth mindset. Saying no can be a very empowering thing to do as it allows you to focus more on the things that will improve you in turn improving your life and those that you care about. It seems counter intuitive but in fact the more you say no to things that add no value to you, the better you will become. There is so much truth in the idea of doing less but better.
Having a long list of things to do can sometimes become overwhelming. In fact we go through stages of prioritising the tasks we have in life. Where as what we should be doing is prioritising what we shouldn’t be doing. These words may seem foreign to you but the reality is, you should choose tasks in life which you believe are worth doing and add value. Yes this counts for all facets of life. Person, work, friendships. In all these instances learning to say no, will be a boon to your productivity.
Getting comfortable with learning to say no
Learning to say no on the fly is definitely not the best way to go about it. If you are prepared and understand that sometimes saying no is the best way forward. Visualise it and think about how you will approach such situations. A great in between step is using a pause to evaluate the situation. So rather than just saying no. When someone requests something of you use a pause. Say something like, “can I have some time to think about it”. In this instance it gives you the time to evaluate the request or the task before saying no or yes.
This can be a great way to soften the no when you finally deliver it. At least the person who has made the request will actually understand that you’re evaluating and a possible answer maybe no. If they say no to your request for time to think about it. You are then in a position to just refuse as this is then an unfair situation to put you under. You can explain this by saying something such as “well if that’s the case I’m just going to have to say no I cant complete it as I have other pressing tasks to do”.
In this instance if it is a work request from a superior, this may end up making a tense working environment. At the end of the day a level of respect will be built based on the fact that they understand you are prioritising your work load to succeed in your role.
Soften the blow of the NO with a compliment
This tactic works great to soften the blow. Especially in the example above of the work situation if you show a level of gratitude for them asking you to do the task, they will at least know you are grateful for the opportunity. An example of using this tact would be to say something down the lines of, “thank you so much for the opportunity to complete this task, it is a great opportunity and I am thankful for it. Can I ask to have some time to think about it as I already have quite the workload at the moment”.
That’s a pretty hard thing to say no to, they will understand that you appreciate the opportunity, you make it clear you have a big workload and you need to assess whether you can do it. A simple gesture which places good will and respect of the situation.
In personal situations such as someone asking you to say baby sit their child as a favour. You can reply down the lines of “wow what an honour to be asked to look after your child. You obviously trust me a lot to ask that of me. I’m a little unsure if I can commit to it at this stage. Do you mind if I check my schedule and get back to you?”:.
When you place a compliment in the discussion, it will make learning to say no much more easier. It’s a much softer approach to just saying no. Saying no can be difficult but if you play your cards right and phrase your response correctly it means that saying no can become much easier if you practice these initial two steps.
Be clear with your NO response.
Learning to say no is definitely a tough task. The even harder part is when you’re in a position of definite no be clear. So make its obvious explain why and leave it at that. As an example like the baby sitting example above. You can just simply say “No, I can’t look after your kid on Saturday night, I already have other commitments that night, good luck finding someone”.
Also in this case like the compliment method above, be sure to use this as a tag to the end of the no response. In this case follow the above line with. “It warms my heart to know that you can trust me with your child, but unfortunately I am not available.” Never put an open commitment to another time as well, you’re setting yourse up there as well. What I mean by this is never do the “maybe next time”.
This creates a perception that you will be able to do it another time when you may not want to do it at all. Saying No and thanking them is enough. Time to move on.
How are you feeling so far about learning to say no? Hopefully these tactics make a lot of sense. Trust me the quicker you can learn to say no to things the better your life will be. Especially in the work environment, where a want to be liked personality can end up taking on way too much stuff and then just end up letting everyone down because you miss deadlines. That’s even worse than the initial no.
Learning to say no – you don’t have to have a reason
It’s ok not to want to do something or commit to something. You in fact don’t need a reason and you don’t even need to justify it. When someone asks something of you they are the one making the request. Feel absolutely no burden of guilt just be ok with not wanting to do something. A really good example of that is if a good friend of yours invites you to a music gig of a band and you don’t like that kind of music. You can just say “no thanks, that’s not my kind of thing.” In fact you can just say “no thanks, but I really do appreciate the offer”.
In a work circumstance when there is no reason. Just say No I cannot commit to that task at this stage. If they ask why? You can just reaffirm that you cannot commit to the task. You do not need to justify it what so ever. But if you feel easier justifying in the work circumstance , you can say your current commitments do not allow you to this task.
Learning to saying NO will assist with future resentment
You know that feeling of when you have said yes to something and it doesnt play out the way you were expecting it to. This can lead to massive issues revolving around resentment and this can sour both a personal and working relationship. You would have been better off saying no in the first place and dealing with the initial awkwardness rather than the now resentful feeling.
The word No is strong but in the end can be the difference between resentment and your long term relationships. In fact it can help build a level of respect and trust in you. People may look at your different and see you as a more thoughtful and honest person. Being black and white is much better than being a flip flopping grey person. It shows conviction and confidence.
Learning to Say No – Recap
- Get comfortable with the idea of saying no. Practice and be prepared for situations where you think you will say no.
- Ask for evaluation time so you can make a decision.
- Use compliments as a tactic to soften the no blow.
- Be firm with a no if you are a definite no. Make it absolutely clear.
- Don’t feel guilty, you don’t need to feel guilty.
- No will assist with future resentment and build trust and respect in relationships
Hopefully this guide on learning to say no will help you in your endeavours on saying no to people around you. Learning to say no will definitely assists you in adopting the growth mindset as prioritising your life shows you have the ability to grow and know what you need to be successful in life. If you have any specific questions on this topic feel free to comment below.