A “No” isn’t always a “No”

We want to be liked and accepted and we want to please people. BUT we can let other people rule our lives by always fitting into their schedule of wants and needs. I think it was Jim Rohn who said, “Plan your life or others will plan it for you!”
This probably has happened to you. You have a really busy schedule for the day and somebody asks you to slot in a favour on your “to do” list! Because they previously have helped you, you feel obligated. The dilemma is worse if it is your best friend or a relative. You agree to do it because you don’t want to offend them or you want to be “Mr. or Ms. Nice Person.” Frustration results from the impossible situation you have created for yourself because you couldn’t say “No”.

Saying “No” can be difficult but you can learn how to say it without causing offence or backlash.

Hesitate before you give your reply. No one ever wants to hear a “No” when asking for something they want. Explaining your reason for the “No” avoids miscommunication. Disappointment is softened when people know your reason. When we wrap up the “No” with an understanding of the person’s wish, we can phrase our response accordingly.

Another way to respond when you say “No” is adding the criteria for getting a “Yes” response.

For example: The kids want to go to the pictures with their friends but they haven’t done their chores and homework. Your reply could be, “I understand you want to go to the pictures with your friends. However, we have things to do before we can relax. When your bedroom is clean and tidy and your homework done, then it will be fine.”
Be consistent with your “No” responses. Otherwise, people will view you as having a double standard and will lose respect for you. If the jobs need to be done before your kids can play then let that be the rule for you as well.

Don’t make excuses that could back fire such as, “I would loan you the money but I have had a lot of expenses lately”. This response can be interpreted as if you had the money you would loan it to them. The truth is you don’t want to loan them the money. Then if they ask again you will need to find another excuse. Tell the truth that you aren’t in the habit of loaning money to anyone as it can cause you to lose your friends if they can’t repay.

If someone asks your opinion about something and you know your response will be different from their opinion, soften your “No” with something good about what they like but state that it isn’t your preference. For example: When someone asks your opinion about a fashion outfit that isn’t your style, you could respond that you really like the colour but the cut isn’t your preference.

When other people ask you to participate in activities that you really don’t enjoy, be up front and tell them it is the activity that isn’t your cup of tea. This way they don’t go away wondering, “Is it me they don’t want to spend time with or is it the activity?”

Remember that if you are going to dish out “No’s”, you also will receive them in your life. A “No” doesn’t mean you are not a good person; it just means they aren’t in the “looking zone” or “participating zone” right now. People change, circumstances change and priorities change. A “No” isn’t always a negative; it could be that you haven’t given enough information to get a “Yes.”

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