Saying no is a difficult task for you.
In the past, I had a difficult time saying no to people. Another reason was that I didn’t want to be the one to abandon folks. An other reason was that I didn’t want to let anybody down. Aspect of me worried that saying no would lead to the destruction of connections with others (which is a deeply ingrained part of Asian society), and I didn’t want to put my relationships at risk.
As a result, I would say yes as often as possible and no as rarely as I could.
Affirmative Action in Real Life
However, although answering yes may seem to be a simple solution to the predicament described above, in fact, it was a disastrous choice.
Why? Because, although answering yes offered instantaneous short-term respite (by avoiding confrontation with others and coping with unpleasant feelings), it also had long-term ramifications of its own. Due to the fact that every time we say yes to anything, we are saying no to our own priorities in the process. As an example, consider this:
By saying yes to things you don’t truly like, you are effectively saying no to things you do enjoy.
You are denying yourself the opportunity to achieve your objectives every time you say yes to something you aren’t really enthusiastic about doing.
By saying yes to meetings that are likely to be fruitless, you are denying yourself valuable time with the people you care about most in your life.
You are saying no to the things that matter the most to you every time you accept yet another favor.
In order to get my company off the ground, I said yes to nearly everything when I first began. Meetups, networking sessions, pick-my-brain sessions, favors, collaborations, blog interviews, media interviews, and seminars were all a resounding yes, yes, yes.
After a few of years, this seemed to be a good strategy. Nevertheless, as my company expanded and I gained greater recognition in my industry, I found myself with more requests, invites, and expectations than I could possibly meet.
I also got requests for items I didn’t really care about on a daily basis from individuals who were proactive and aggressive in their attempts to get my attention, which resulted in these requests being pushed to the top of my priority list on a regular basis as a result.
The demands of others began to consume my days, and I found myself unable to keep up. Even while I was busy meeting people and fulfilling their interest about what I do, my progress on the items on my to-do list seemed to be stagnating. While doing interviews, responding to assistance requests through email, working with others out of courtesy, consenting to sessions where people could pick my brain, and providing free counsel to people’s issues, I found myself with little time for my own work.
Within a short period of time, I was completely exhausted. My time was no longer mine; it had been taken over by the demands of others on my time. As a result of this experience, I learned how critical it is to say “no.”
The Importance of Saying “No”
Ideally, we’d want to be able to say yes to every request. However, just saying “yes” in order to avoid confrontation or disagreement is not the best course of action in most situations. It is essential to express dissatisfaction in order to…
Finish what you’ve been working on. The fact of the matter is that we all have a limited number of hours in a single day. We’ll never get anything done until we say no to the other things that come up.
Take the necessary time for the essential things in life. In the Quadrant 2 category of goals, there are a number of objectives that are very essential but will never become urgent. Some of them include determining your life’s purpose, developing a five-year goal, pursuing your passion, and even launching your own company. When you say no, you are safeguarding your Q2 objectives and ensuring that you have the time to complete them.
Define your parameters, and then stick to them. It is possible that some individuals may think that you are available at all times, that their demands are the most essential, or that you should set aside time exclusively for them. When you don’t distinguish between your own wants and the needs of others, people will continue to assume that you should contribute and will continue to donate by implication. In order to establish boundaries and defend your space, you must first say no to something.
Make a conscious decision to take back control of your life! In the end, saying no is about reclaiming control over your life and making decisions about what you want to do with your time. The ability to turn down anything that does not fit your objectives or make you happy in order to live the life you really want.
Finally, every “yes” has a price – in terms of your time, effort, enjoyment, and achievement of your objectives. However, although the penalty of each “yes” may be little, a stream of incorrect yeses over time will cause you to stray from your desired path. All of these expenses and diversions must be avoided by learning to say no — in order to say yes to the things that you really want and desire.
Saying “No” in the Correct Way
You want to say no as efficiently as possible while still expressing it in a polite manner when it comes to rejection. I’ve compiled a list of my top seven suggestions for saying no.
1. Be straightforward in your communication.
When it comes to requests that you wish to refuse, it’s far preferable to turn down the individual straight away rather than delaying your decision. The longer you take to respond, the more complex the situation gets, since you now have the additional burden of justifying why you took so long to respond in the first place. All you have to do is be succinct and to the point.
When I find it difficult to reject someone, I follow a two-sentence rule to get it over with as quickly as possible. Begin with a “I’m sorry, but I’m unable to.” Then, in a single phrase, explain your reasoning. (Alternatively, if you don’t want to provide an explanation, just stop it there.) It is simpler to reject someone if you limit your rejection to two words. This is because, rather than giving a long explanation about why you are unable to do anything, which causes you to delay in rejecting the person, you cut straight to the point and say no. Even if you wind up writing a response that is three to four sentences long or more, the two-sentence guideline will help you get started.
“I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to attend this appointment.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to pass on this round.”
“At the time, this does not fulfill my requirements. It’s great that you have me in mind!
Because of a commitment, I will not be able to participate in this activity. Sorry!”
2. Be genuine in your expressions
We are often concerned that saying “no” would cause us to lose our credibility. As a result, we hem and haw before saying yes. Alternatively, we give in and say yes when the individual persists.
Here’s the thing: most people will accept your no as long as you are genuine in your refusal. There will be no falsehoods or gimmicks. Just pure and simple, unadulterated truth. For example, “I’m not available to meet from now until June due to [X] commitments,” or “This isn’t a good match with what I’m looking to accomplish right now, sorry.”
In my audio episode on How To Say No, I told a story of being asked to serve on a board of advisers by someone who held a position of authority. In spite of my desire to reject it, I didn’t believe that my position was supported by sufficient evidence. It wasn’t because I had another significant commitment on the horizon; rather, I just wanted to devote more time to my own work. It took me a few days to come to terms with this, and after writing and reediting my email response, I decided to be honest and tell the truth: that being engaged in this would take time away from my own projects, and that I didn’t want to be part in it if I couldn’t give my all.
Then I pressed the “Send” button.
Fortunately, he replied within a day, informing me that he had read my email with a grin and that everything was OK and that I need not be concerned at all!
The majority of the time, our concerns about others are unjustified. Concentrate on being truthful in your answer, rather than lying or making excuses. If the other person is paying attention, they will comprehend what you’re saying. If not, it’s possible that they had unrealistic expectations of you in the first place, and it’s better not to put any more pressure on yourself by carrying about such expectations.
3. Concentrate on the request rather than the individual.
One of the reasons I struggled with saying no in the past was that I didn’t want to seem as if I was rejecting the individual. When I was a kid, my mother wasn’t there for me (in the sense that she was an emotionally empty person), and this inspired me to want to be there for others as well. However, as I already said, saying yes to everyone caused me to get exhausted. I was completely depleted and despondent at the time.
When I first started learning to say no, I focused on the request rather than the individual. In other words, instead of feeling obliged to say yes because I was scared of disappointing the individual, I learned to examine the request and determine whether or not it is a good match with my goals. Is this something I’ll be able to do on my own? Is this something I’m able to afford to accomplish at this time? Is it possible for me to do this task without jeopardizing the other items on my to-do list in light of everything else on my list?
If the response is “no,” then I will reject the proposal. It is not about the individual. It has nothing to do with you. It’s just a matter of the request itself, and the request is simply not something I am able to accomplish at the present time. When you evaluate requests in their current form, you may objectively reject requests that are incompatible with your values, rather than pushing yourself to say yes simply to please others and avoid conflict.
4. Maintain an optimistic attitude.
We’ve been taught that saying no is synonymous with negativity and that refusing to comply would result in confrontation. It is, nevertheless, feasible to say “no” while still maintaining a healthy relationship. It’s all about how you go about it.
To begin, refrain from connecting the word “no” with negativity. Recognize that it is an unavoidable aspect of human communication. When you see “no” as a negative experience, this negative energy will unintentionally manifest itself in your answer. There is no need to feel terrible, guilty, or concerned about the emotions of the other person (excessively). This does not imply that you should be impolite in your response, but rather that you should refrain from obsessing about how others may perceive your response.
Next, when you answer “no,” explain your reasoning in a calm manner. Inform the individual that you appreciate his/her invitation/request, but that you are unable to accept it due to . Possibly, you have competing responsibilities, a commitment, or just a lack of available time to devote to this task. You would love to assist or participate if at all feasible, but you are unable to do so at this time due to financial constraints.
Despite the fact that you are rejecting the individual’s request, leave your options open for the future. Inform the individual that you will always be available to meet, cooperate, explore options, and so on in the future if necessary.
5. Provide an alternate solution.
This is optional, but if you are aware of an alternative, please share it with the group. For example, if you know of someone who can assist him/her, you may pass along the contact information (with the consent of the individual, of course). This should only be done if you chance to know of an other solution, not as a way to make up for having said no. You are not responsible for assisting the other individual in locating suitable alternatives.
Avoid holding yourself accountable for the emotions of others. 6.
Another major reason for my reluctance to say no in the past was that I didn’t want to make people feel terrible about themselves. I felt accountable for how others might feel, and I didn’t want anybody else to be sad as a result of my decisions.
As a consequence, I became a people pleaser who would go to great lengths to make others happy. I worked late into the night many times to catch up on work because I prioritized the demands of others above my own and only had time for myself at night. This was very detrimental to my health and well-being.
We must make a distinction between helping others and benefiting oneself at some time. In order to be of service to others, we must first take care of our own health and pleasure. Maintain your independence from other people’s emotions, particularly if they tend to react adversely when you say “no,” want you to be there for them (even when you have no responsibility to each other), and don’t seem to accept no as an answer. Good luck if the other person accepts your “no.” If not, then that’s too bad. Do what you can, then go on if the situation demands more than you can provide… which brings me to point .
7. Prepare yourself to let go.
If the other person is dismissive of your needs and expects you to constantly say yes, it may be time to re-evaluate your connection with them.
Too frequently, we are taught to preserve harmony at all costs, which is why we find it difficult to say no because we don’t want to cause a rift in our relationships. This is especially true in my society, where individuals say yes even when they strongly disagree with something, only to hold anger and complain about it later on as a result of their actions.
However, when a relationship is draining your energy, you must ask yourself whether this is the kind of connection you desire. The support of both partners is essential in a good relationship. One where one side is continuously giving and giving while the other party is constantly requesting and taking is not the case here.
It is the relationships where I am not my true self that deplete me; they are the ones where I am expected to say yes and the other person is upset if I refuse to say yes. As a result of such interactions, the other person is dissatisfied as long as there is a “no” — it makes no difference how the “no” is expressed, since the other person just expects a “yes.”
If you’re dealing with such a person, the issue for you is whether or not it’s worthwhile to continue the connection.
If the answer is no, the solution is straightforward: just let go of it.
If this is a connection that is essential to you, you should inform the other party of the situation. It’s conceivable that they are unaware of what they are doing, and an open and honest discussion with them can help them realize what they are doing.
You address the underlying issue — that you’re in a relationship where you’re expected to be a giver — rather than worrying about saying no to someone who will not take the “no,” which isn’t the actual problem. You will be removing yourself from poisonous and unhealthy relationships as a result of this. Perhaps, in the course of doing so, you will be able to improve your connection with her/him. As a result, you can now be completely honest with him or her and say yes or no as you want without feeling guilty, fearful, or hesitant – which is exactly what saying no should be about in the first place.