How many of you find yourselves saying yes to something even if you know you don’t have time for it, just so you won’t hurt someone else’s feelings? Or you don’t really want to do it but you don’t want to be rude? You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand right now.
I admit it – I’m a people pleaser. Yes, I want people to like me, I hate letting people down, I want to be there for others as much as I can and also I have this silly notion I can do everything and I don’t want to prove myself (and others) wrong. That’s why I used to be really bad at saying no. In a way I still kinda am. But I’ve learned to be a lot better at it with time (and practice).
Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough | Josh Billings
Over time, I realized that saying yes comes with a set of consequences. Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. I used to think I’m more productive when I’m multitasking (refusing to realize I too only have 24 hours a day) but found out this only leads to burning-out over time.
This not only applies to turning down an offer or a request for help. It means not seeing friends and family when it’s not convenient for you or not picking up the phone when it’s not a good time to talk (Sounds obvious to some of you but it’s not…).
So saying no isn’t just a nice skill to have, it’s a must-have. Especially because you don’t want to (or can’t) hurt your work or family responsibilities, the first thing that gets booted off the list is you, your personal goals and your sanity… I’m not saying you should say no to everything but you need to choose your yeses wisely.
Do you ever feel like saying no means closing doors or missing out on what could have been a great opportunities? Well, the best way to know what to say no to, is to know what you want to say yes to, make sense right? It’s more important to say yes to the right things and the right opportunities rather than saying yes to everything.
Once you define what your top priorities are, it would be easier to know what it is you should say yes to. Is what you’re being offered going to get you closer to your goal? Is it aligned with your agenda/desires/wants? Just remember even “little yeses” to irrelevant things can ultimately deviate you from your main goal.
Our yes has no meaning if we never say no | Henry Cloud
For example, When you start a new business or a new project, you are often all over the place (also when you start to date LOL). A lot of people will tell you to say yes to every offer and every opportunity. While this may be good advice at times, if you agree to everything, you’ll end up spending a lot of wasted time and will run out of breath in no time, ending up with nothing.
You must be thinking you don’t want to turn any opportunity down on the off chance it could be something good and I get it, but once you’re clear on your end game it will be easier to know if this offer is aligned with your life or is it just a waste of time.
In the past, I felt that when I say no, I disappoint people. I didn’t want to let people down and for such a long time, I tried my best not to say no to people. But in the end, we need to remember that saying no is ok. It’s ok to put yourself as a top priority, even when it means “letting people down”.
Know that it’s impossible to please every person in your life and that you have to draw the line somewhere. If they are close to you – they will understand and even respect you for saying no and if they are strangers, well…
Don’t over-complicate things. If you want to say no, just do so.
You don’t have to be rude about it, decline politely, thank them for the offer but let them know you’re rejecting it. A simple “No, thank you” Will do. Sometimes we want to say no but end up with a lengthy explanation that makes the other side reply with a counter-proposal you’ll need to keep rejecting.
Learn to say no without explaining yourself | Anonymous
Try to avoid giving excuses because it gives people the opportunity to adjust their request so that your excuse doesn’t cut it anymore. Especially avoid fake excuses that will make you keep lying about it for years to come (no dead relatives and stuff, yeah?).
Sometimes we do want to say yes but… the offer or request isn’t exactly working for us, or we want to help out but in a different/smaller way. In this case, we can offer an alternative. This is also a good way to “ease” the rejection if we actually want to say no.
Let the person know that you’re not able to do X, but able to do Y. Offer a different time/location/ someone else that would be suitable etc. It’s definitely not a must but it would make you feel better about the “no”.
If you’re unsure about the answer you want to give, don’t feel pressure to answer right away. Stall with the answer a little and allow yourself the time and space to think about the offer and come up with the best answer for you. You can say something like “Sounds interesting, let me think about it first” or “I’ll check and get back to you”. This works well when dealing with salesmen, high-pressure people or major decisions.
Sandwich your “no’’ between two positive statements. Start your answer with a reflection and an acknowledgment of the other person’s need. Then, say no politely (you can add a little ‘I’m sorry’ if you feel the need) and finish off with a “but if” (if things change in the future/ if I can make it….).
Practice your “no”s. start with the small stuff like turning down a sales pitch and move your way up to favors and then loved one. Trust me, it gets easier over time.
If you get stuck try one of these: “I appreciate your offer, but no thank you”, “Thanks for thinking of me, but I have too much on my plate right now”, “Not today, thanks”, “I’m afraid I can’t”, “I’m not really into ____, but thanks for asking!”, “I wish I could” or one of these “29 ways to say no”.
In the end, learning to say “no” is essential to saying “yes” to what we truly care about. Trust your intuition and listen to your heart rather always doing what you think you “should” do. If it’s not right for you/you don’t have the time for it or you just don’t want to – say no.
The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything | Warren Buffett
How About You? Do you struggle with saying no? Do you have any other techniques you use? Let me know in the comments below!