learning how to say no

Learning How to Say No: An Essential Tool Kit

Learning how to say no is an important adult skill that most of us struggle with. I always found it difficult to be assertive. Many years ago, when I was right out of college, I said no to a job (via email) in such a round about way that they assumed I had said yes! I had to explain myself again after I started receiving welcome emails! Since then I have found it easier to say no and not die of guilt pangs in the process!

Do you struggle with this extremely important adult skill also?

Learning how to say no becomes easy when we analyze the whole process. I have some tips for you based on many years of experience:

1. Avoid giving an answer immediately

Resist the temptation to reply immediately. Analyze the request in your mind. If you need more time to process, it’s totally OK.

2. Acknowledge the request and be polite

Be sure to acknowledge the request either verbally or in writing. For verbal communication, you can repeat the request: “So you want me to take care of your children for three hours on wednesday evening?”

This buys you more time to process the pros and cons and see how the request works for your schedule.

If you need more time, you can politely reply that thanks for asking, I will think about this and get back to you in two days etc.

3. A quick No is better than a delayed one

While it’s important to take the time to analyze a request, if you decide to say no, don’t sit on it and do it immediately. You will feel better about it rather than procrastinating a no.

4. A fair No is a win-win

Remember the time you felt obliged to say yes to a social commitment you did not want to go to? You didn’t feel great, the host felt your uneasiness and even your husband was upset that you are manipulated by others. A fair no is a win-win for all parties because when you say yes to something you’re truly committed to it.

5. You are not responsible for other people’s emotions

Yes, your no will not always be well-received. There will be disappointment from the receiving party, sad emojies and some mild emotional blackmailing.

However, go back to point 4. A fair no is a win-win for everyone because no one is forced in the situation, including you! You’re being fair and polite. You’re not responsible for other people’s emotions.

6. Be respectful when other people say no

This is an extremely important one. Learning how to say no is a two-way street, because you also need to learn how to accept a no respectfully. Don’t insist once someone has said no. Say thank you and move on.

Were these tips helpful for you? Do let me know if they helped you in learning how to say no.

[Read More: 9 Tips to Embrace Your 30s]

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