Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

How to Say “NO.” May 19, 2011

Filed under: Sarah — Uncharted @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was Googling words in other languages for a project my kids are doing, and one of the word sets we were focusing on (as opposites) were ‘yes’ and ‘no.’  Without even realizing it, I stumbled upon a website about actually saying ‘no,’ not in other languages, but in fact, in very simple English.  

I started reading…”Do you have difficulty saying “no”? Are you always trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself?” And I found myself scaring myself, saying out loud to the computer screen, “yes, all the time!”  But actually, this accidental stumble taught me a few good lessons that I think a lot of us can learn from.  Here are the main things you should know about saying ‘no!’

…we often say ‘no’ because we think we are helping others.  In the end though, we don’t actually do that much help.  We end up more stressed, more tired, and overall less content, because we ended up with far less personal time.  Less personal time makes you cranky and unpleasant, and your bad mood may not always be let out on the person you are doing a favor for, rather may be unloaded on people outside of that favor.  This is even worse, because you have now done nothing to help the people who are most important to you, you have simply been cranky to them as a result of not being able to say ‘no’ (aka people at home).

…despite what you just read in my first point, not being able to say ‘no’ does not make you a bad person.  However, it’s super important to remember that being able to say ‘no’ to things that aren’t your responsibility or that you know are going to stress you out doesn’t make you a bad person, either!

…there are 5 simple reasons that a lot of people are afraid to say ‘no:’ you want to help, you’re afraid of being rude, you want to be agreeable, you have a fear of conflict, you have a fear of missed opportunities, and you don’t want to burn bridges.  But the funny thing is, usually when you say ‘no,’ none of these things will happen.  You make these results up in your own head!  Most people will just accept your ‘no’ and forget about it 5 minutes later.  You’re the only person who will be stewing about it and feeling bad the next day.

…it’s all about how you say ‘no.’  Be polite and honest, yet gentle.  Don’t make someone feel like you don’t want to help them, but be honest about your schedule being full or your life being busy.  You may want to help in the future, so you don’t want to scare people off.  However, you also don’t want to be too gentle, because then people might come back to you for this same task thinking you could be a pushover.

Need some ideas on how to say ‘no,’ or want more details if you often find yourself in the same boat as me (wanting to say no, but feeling bad and then ending up way too overwhelmed)?  Check out the blogs and sites below.  I know there will still be a lot of things I want to say ‘yes’ to, but I’m starting to think that those ‘nos’ aren’t lookin’ too bad, either!  And at least I’ll still have my sanity when the day is done…

http://zenhabits.net/say-no/

http://thehalfwaypoint.net/2010/02/fifty-ways-to-say-no/

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-to-Say-No-Social-Etiquette_2

http://articles.cnn.com/2008-10-29/living/rs.how.to.say.no_1_gift-birthday-tough-decisions?_s=PM:LIVING <<< these are in here more for fun…ways of saying ‘no’ to situations that make your wallet squeak!

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