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Are You Having Difficulty Saying NO?

Ask someone how they are, and their reply would most probably include some version of been “busy.”

It has so happened that this phenomenon of being busy has turned into a sort of a humble badge of honour. People have started believing that being busy is some kind of benchmark of success. In a way, it implies that the “busy” people are important. They do something or know something that is in demand.

But if you are one of those people who are always busy, there is a major possibility that you struggle when it comes to saying no.

A logic similar to that of busy being a signifier of success makes us believe that saying no is something that might be perceived as aggressive, unhelpful, or uncaring. There is a sort of negative connotation to it, and people generally prefer swaying away from it.

After all, who really wants the guilt of rejecting someone or being perceived as a bad person just for saying no, right? Simply avoid conflicts by complying with others even when you actually want to say no. By doing this, you might continue being on the good books of people around you.

But do you really want to be a people pleaser? What if there were ways to say no without feeling guilty, damaging relationships, or being perceived as not a giving person? This is possible if you know the right tactics.

So, if you are someone who generally struggles with saying no, here are a few tips that can help-

1. Be Proactive with Your Approach

The biggest difficulty in saying no is when someone asks you to do something face-to-face or even on the phone. So, start by eliminating this biggest cause of concern. Rather than doing it face-to-face, ask them to email or text their request.

Remember, you are a busy person, right? It is completely alright to tell them the same, and you’ll get back to them with a response at the earliest. When they contact you for a follow-up, it will be much easier for you to politely decline their request.

2. You Don’t Need to Explain Yourself

While it might seem very polite to decline requests along with an explanation why you cannot, this can make things super awkward. It is generally seen that when you give an explanation, people tend to modify their request to try and nullify your objection.

For instance, if someone invites you for dinner this Friday and you decline their request by saying that you’ll be working late on that day, they might get back to you asking if Saturday or some other day of the week would work for you.

Rather than explaining, stalling, or delaying, it is better to say no and keep things short and sweet. If you feel the need, offer a short explanation but don’t do so just because you feel compelled.

3. Put the Ball in Your Court

The art of saying no has a lot to with being in the driving seat of the whole exchange. For instance, if we take the same dinner example from above, you can say something like, “I don’t think I can make it this Friday, but I’ll let you know when I can.”

By saying this, you change the dynamics of the whole exchange and get into the driving seat. Now it is up to you whether you really want to meet the person over dinner in the future. The ball is in your court, and you get to make the decision. So, try to be polite with your reply but also be innovative with your approach so that you get to be the one driving the exchange.

4. Understand Your Role in the Relationship

Consider this scenario; you have an acquaintance whom you hardly know. The person sends you an email telling you that he/she would be visiting your city soon and whether they can stay with you during the stay.

In cases like this, it is always better to take a step back and analyze your role in the relationship. You need to set boundaries and determine whether it is a kind of relationship in which you should even be worried about what the other person thinks about you.

In the scenario above, it is completely alright to politely decline their request as the person is not even your friend but an acquaintance. Even in case if you have a solid relationship with someone, it is still wise to evaluate the relationship. If the relationship is indeed pretty solid, it should easily withstand your no.

5. Put Your Needs First

In the process of complying with others, you often end up sacrificing your needs. For instance, if the boss is keeping you way too busy, you’ll sacrifice the time you can spend with your family and friends.

Keep doing this long enough, and you’ll see that you are not left with the time or energy to take care of yourself and your needs. Resentment can rise, and you can burn out.

In this regard, it is completely alright to be a little selfish. Rather than being the good person that you already are and thinking about others, you should put your needs first. Saying no is saying yes to you.

The Subtle Art of Saying No

Start saying no, and maybe you’ll see a drastic change in your life. It will help you overcome your fear of being rejected or being perceived as aggressive or uncaring. You will be in better control of your life.

If you want this feeling of empowerment and freedom, take the plunge and rest assured that you will move towards a life that is less stressful and more rewarding.

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