Do you find it difficult to say no? If so, you are not alone. In fact, as many as 50% of us wrestle with finding a way to tell others no. Though there are many reasons for your struggle, there are a few that apply in most of these difficult situations. We tend to say yes because we don’t want the other person to feel rejected, we don’t want to let the other person down, we don’t want to create conflict, or we don’t want to feel guilty.
However, by agreeing to requests that you would rather avoid, you risk compromising yourself. Do a little self-reflection and consider what your boundaries are. How many hours of your week do you want to give away to others? How many do you want to reserve for the things that bring you happiness? Answering these questions will help you determine where you need to draw your proverbial line in the sand.
With a little effort, you can learn to say no with greater ease. Whether you are dealing with a friend, a family member, or a colleague, you can find strategies that will work. Here are a few simple techniques to consider that will help you become a pro at saying no!
1. PREPARE FOR THE NO
Often, saying no can be difficult when you feel pressured by an impromptu request. By preparing a generic response in advance, you can more easily navigate these scenarios. Why not spend a little time creating a response that you feel comfortable with? Be sure to make it a phrase that you can use with anyone in your life, personal or professional. While you may find it difficult to say in the beginning, it will get easier in time. To build your comfort level, try practicing it on your own. Saying it out loud (even to yourself) will increase your confidence and your rate of success.
2. SOFTEN THE NO
If you equate saying no with rejection, try adding a compliment or positive statement. This makes it clear you are saying no to the request, not the requester. Doing so can help to reduce your apprehension. At the same, time, it can help reinforcing your relationship with the other person. When responding, you can provide supporting details if it increases your comfort level. However, you are under no obligation to do so.
3. EMBRACE THE NO
When you are presented with a request that you do not want to do or feel uncomfortable with, you have the right to say no. In fact, saying no is a boost for your psychological health. Establishing and maintaining personal boundaries is a way for you to acknowledge your importance and to give yourself the same respect you show others. (By the way, you deserve it!) With a simple shift in your perspective, you can embrace the no by transforming it into a yes to yourself.
These are just a few techniques to help you become more comfortable with saying no. There are many more avenues for learning how to say no with confidence. In time, over-obligating yourself can have a negative impact on your work/life balance, your self-esteem, and your overall health.
Whether you’re struggling to say no to your significant other, your family members, your friends, or your co-workers, we can help. Reach out to us today if you’d like to talk things through with one of our licensed professionals.