Saying ‘No’

Some people find it exceedingly difficult to say 'No'. Others ca only say 'No' indirectly, softening the blow with excuses and apologies. The inability to say 'No' means that you lack some control over your life and that you have to cope with a consequent increasingly in stress. Saying 'No' directly and openly gives greater control and boosts self-esteem


Common myths:

Saying 'No' is callous, uncaring, mean, and selfish

Saying 'No' directly is rude and aggressive, too abrupt and blunt

Saying 'No' will hurt and upset others, making them feel rejected

Saying 'No' over little things shows small-mindedness or pettiness


Seven point to remember

  1. When you say 'No' you are refusing a request, not rejecting a person. Saying 'No' does not have to can rejection. Much depends on the way you refuse.
  2. When making a refusal, try accepting full responsibility for doing so. Don't blame or pass the buck. Change, "I can't" to "I don't want to".
  3. Saying 'No' without excessive apology or excuse does not mean saying 'No' without explanation. But asking yourself whether you are explaining because of your own anxiety rather than for the sake of the other person.
  4. You are probably overestimating the difficulty the other person will have in accepting your refusal. Very often by expressing your feelings openly and honestly you allow other people to express themselves.
  5. If you wanted to say 'No' but end-up saying 'Yes', it can show. Our bodies often express themselves despite us (i the form of headaches etc.) as a consequence of the stress which comes from being over-compliant.
  6. Acknowledge your feelings. A simple statement like "I feel guilty" or "I find this difficult", allows you to express your feelings honestly.
  7. If you are having difficulty in saying 'No' use the 'broken record' technique. This involves repetition of your assertive refusal each time the other person tries to persuade or evade you.

Any Other Questions?