I was thinking No but said Yes eventually!

The Power of Saying ‘No’

Have you ever been caught in a situation where you want to say something but ended up saying something completely different? Yes, you guessed it right I am talking about the vicious cycle of saying yes to everyone for everything when actually you just want to say that two-letter word i.e. ‘No’. Whether it’s being asked for a favour from your colleague when they go on leave for the whole weekend, agreeing to a marriage proposal when you clearly want to focus on your career, or to a friend for lending money even if it increases your own debt. We’ve faced this situation more than once in our lives. Most of us have faced this uncomfortable situation of going against our will. But not anymore! So, read on to find some tips that will help you to stop being a people pleaser and say no exactly when you need to:

How to stop saying yes when you want to say no

1. Say ‘no’ and don’t feel guilty about it:

I know it is harder done than said but there’s a negative connotation attached to denying something especially when someone close asks for a favour. Remember you might feel that you’re letting the person down and feel guilty. Or you might even feel you won’t be liked or will be perceived as uncaring and unhelpful. As a result, people usually comply with others by agreeing to what they say on the spot.

2. Think before you answer:

Most people say yes on the spot because they feel burdened by the process of decision making and don’t even consider disagreeing with someone, they feel close to. Taking time for decision making is your right and puts you in a position of power by changing the dynamic. You’re telling people you’ll let them know when and if you can make you in charge of the situation. However, don’t delay it for too long. Come up with a reasonable explanation and serve it with your final answer to people.

3. Deliver your response through a call or text:

If you don’t want to face people’s disappointment by answering them on the spot, ask people to text or email you their request so you can get back to them. It’s perfectly normal for you to check your schedule before answering. Once they follow-up with you, it is easier to send them a polite message saying that you’re unable to agree to their request. This works wonders in a professional setting.

For example:

A: “Would you like to come to the get together this weekend?”

B: “Hey, thanks for asking! I’ll check my schedule and let you know.”

B (follow up the answer): “Hi! thanks for the invite to the party. I’ve checked my schedule, and unfortunately, I can’t make it. Have a great time!

4. Do offer an alternative:

Negotiate. It doesn’t always have to be a complete yes or no if you’re willing to meet halfway, think of the ways that’ll allow you to accommodate the request without saying an outright no. For example, Your new friend invites you to a club night but loud places and drinking isn’t your thing. Ask them if they want to grab a coffee or do another activity instead that is of your choice. This way they’ll honour your decision and won’t take it as if you are ignoring them. This can include reducing the size of the task, rescheduling a night out, asking for a longer deadline or sharing the load with another person. This way you’ll lessen the impact of your no by offering an alternative that satisfies their want too.

5. Don’t explain too much:

You want to keep the conversation precise and honest so come up with a reasonable excuse or be direct about your decision of saying no but don’t beat the bush around it. It is a bad idea to come up with false excuses in order to deny confrontation. Lying and stating bizarre excuses would not only put you in the risk of being exposed but also decline your credibility if the person finds out about the truth.

6. Prioritize your happiness before others:

It is easy to preach self-love but when it comes to social relationships we tend to give in and making the other person happy even at the cost of our own happiness. First, consider your well-being and then if what the person is asking for comes under your capabilities only then agree to it.

7. Draw a line and set boundaries:

Remind yourself of the opportunity cost. Remember how much time, money, efforts could you dispense by not harming yourself. Only say yes to the things that you think are reasonable and could be done without taking any pressure. Nothing comes for free. Just know when and where to draw a line between when a person really needs your help or is just using you because you have always agreed to facilitate their work before.

Set healthy boundaries

8. Try these phrases if you are shy and don’t want to say no directly:

•             Though I would love to help you with this but I’m not sure if I would have the bandwidth to do this.

•             I wish there were 2 of me, I am already occupied with something that needs to be delivered on priority.

•             I appreciate your proposal, but no thank you.

•             Not today, thanks.

•             I’m afraid I can’t.

•             I’m not really into (clubbing, serious dating, classical music), but thanks for asking!

•             I’d rather not, thanks.

•             I think I’ll pass.

Steve Jobs said: “Focus is about saying no.” Don’t over-burden yourself with commitments that derail your focus, pull you away from the work that you truly want to do or the people you really want to spend time with.

It’s not good for your soul!

And if someone gets furious because of your perfectly reasonable, polite and honest “no”; Well, they were probably never your true friend, to begin with. Feel positive about saying ‘no’ and attract the people who truly respect you and honour your choices.


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