Whether it’s with business or personal relationships, it’s important to learn how to say “no” and be okay with that. Everyone knows how difficult it can be, especially with the factors that play into decision making. Being able to say this word is essential to you as well as the people asking for something.
Life decisions can be broken down into a binary system: “I’m going to do it” (yes) or “I’m not going to do it” (no). Two choices, one decision. Most people say “yes” much too often when they should really be saying “no”. It’s usually to the people closest to us that we have a problem turning down requests. Or perhaps we want acceptance within a group of acquaintances (peer pressure). We don’t want them to feel like they can’t ask for anything or maybe we want to be in good standing, all the time! It happens in business relationships too. The reality is, you can’t please everyone all the time. Periodically, someone has to get the short-end of the stick. Once you master the art of saying “no”, you will see a few things will happen:
- People will start to respect your time
- People will start to respect your decisions
- You will develop a clarity for decision making because guilt or personal favor won’t be the influencers of your decisions
The best approach to change how often you oblige people, is to ease into it. Don’t start saying “no” to everything because you want to make a stance. This is a change of moderation. Continue to say “yes” to small things you don’t mind doing. The moment you feel like you really shouldn’t or can’t help someone, listen to that feeling and speak the words, “no”. Of course there are variations such as: “Oh, I’m sorry I just really can’t help you with this”, “If I could I would, but [insert actual reasons]”, or “I would probably be doing you a disservice if I helped. I just don’t feel like it”. That last one is for the bold readers. Ultimately, you want the people around you to gradually experience the change.
Watch out for people who have mastered the “guilt-trip” (this includes children 🙂 ). Not to be confused with feeling guilty from a simple request. When a person induces feelings of chagrin or shame because you have no capacity to help them, that’s what’s considered a guilt trip. When you notice this, ask questions to see what the person’s motives are. Your better judgement will override a “no” response if the person actually needs you. The signs will be there.
Above all, remain conscious and objective of how you feel when making decisions. It will lead to a settling in your energy and you will feel good about the decisions you’ve made since they were made with the best intentions. Again, you cannot please everyone all the time. Be selective and don’t be afraid to say “no”.