Am I the Only One?
I don’t know if this happens with you or not, but it’s been many years and I am still learning how to say no politely and without feeling guilty. I kind of feel guilty when I say no, so I don’t and then I have to face the repercussions. It can be quiet frustrating at times but who’s to blame!
To be honest, there have been times when I am all psyched to say no but yes slips out. (SMH, right?)
And yet, we do it again and again and again! Even though it adds more to our crowded schedules and bulging to-do lists.
There are high chances that you may end up in uncomfortable and messy situations which can be easily avoided had you said a simple no.
Saying no to a certain favor or a task may sound easy, however, ask people like us. It’s a nightmare for people like us, trust me.
A Few Strategies
There’s always confusion about how to say no and not feel bad at the same time. I sometimes feel aggressive when I have to turn someone down because it’s like reject the person and not their request. I don’t want to be an aggressor because there’s a negative connotation to it.
But you know it’s not about turning someone down, it’s about turning their request down because you put your priorities first.
What matters more than saying no? How you say no Politely!
It is not necessary that your no has to be a rude one, you can refuse politely also. Here are a few ways to say no nicely –
1. Say it with Kindness or add a Compliment
Here the basic idea is to make the other person feel good despite the rejection.
For example, Your idea sounds like a great chance, however, I think I’ll pass. Thanks for considering me though.
If the above example doesn’t work for you then you may say something like this – As intriguing as it sounds, I’m afraid that it’s not a good fit for us. Next time, maybe?
2. State Reasons (That always works!)
Apart from compliments, another thing that you can try is giving your reasons and that’s something everyone appreciates. It’s not necessary to have ‘fancy’ excuses, candid ones work the best.
For example, This opportunity sound great but I don’t think we have a budget for this kind of project.
And if you want to turn down some trip here’s what you can say – I am sure that a trip to Singapore will be fun but I won’t have the time to swing it this summer.
3. Be brief, but not abrupt
There are times when you don’t have to explain yourself when telling someone no. But, it’s still considerate to gave a straight-up no rather than a non-response because leaving someone without answers tend to read as thoughtless.
As much as your message should be brief, there’s always a better way to do it.
For example, Sadly, I’m upset I can’t help you with this.
When you use a word like sadly, it shows you recognize that your response won’t thrill the other person and it gives you no joy to say so.
Another thing that you can say is – Thank you for considering me but I can’t take more work on as of now, but please do keep in touch.
4. Leave the door open a bit
This is something you can use when you don’t want to say no so you use an alternative – not now.
For example, Thank you. I am honored that you considered me to speak at your event but the timing is no good. Would you keep my name in mind for the next year’s summit though?
As handy as this approach is, you may want to use it rarely. Putting someone off all the time can come off as rude than telling them no at the outset.
5. Offer an Alternative
When you want to say no, but in the interest of the courtesy, at times, you want to tell your friend some other way maybe by suggesting another time or another option.
Here’s something that you can say – I can’t cover the weekend shift for you but I surely can cover for you on Monday if you need a day to recover.
Or you can say something else like, It’s not possible for me to give career advice to you right now. But my colleague John will be a better person to mentor you and the insights that he’ll give will be worthwhile. Shall I introduce you to him?
6. Be Firm
If the other person refuses to accept your no, then you know that he/she is not a true friend or doesn’t respect you, perhaps. You got to stand firm, and there’s no need to feel compelled to give in only because they are uncomfortable.
It is necessary for all of us to realize that saying no is an essential part of your life. There are times when you don’t have to offer the other person a Plan B or an explanation, however, it’s always worth taking the time to express yourself kindly.
Also, we got to realize that we have to put our needs first than anyone else’s. If we will prioritize our needs over others, we will surely find productivity and there won’t be any resentment pounding.
Saying no can free up your mind as well as time for another perhaps a more joyful activity. Whatever the case may be, you must focus on the positive outcome of your effort to say no. Isn’t this what saying no is all about? Allowing ourselves to enjoy what we’re doing at the moment.
Allow yourselves to be free from the guilt and enjoy!