“No is a complete sentence” – Annie Lamott
Saying No to other people can feel quite scary or even rude or just unfamiliar can’t it? You may find you are, at times, bombarded with people asking you to do things, making demands on your time or your expertise or resources. It may feel like everyone wants something from you. You can end up feeling you are being pulled from pillar to post, that you are not getting your goals and tasks achieved and it can also feel endless and draining.
We can feel stressed about saying NO
We worry about it, how it’ll come across, what words we use, how they’ll react. We may get anxious imagining all sorts of repercussions.
We can feel stressed about saying Yes
We may feel taken for granted, being put upon,
Perhaps we feel resentful that our needs and wants are ignored. We worry about having too much to do and being overstretched. Maybe we become anxious about not having time to do things we want to do or even things we need to do.
So what’s stopping you from saying No?
Is it fear? Fear that it’s rude. Fear that they won’t like you anymore. Fear that they will badger you until you give in. Fear that they will have a go at you and there will be conflict. Fear that you are simply being selfish by putting your needs first. Fear that you are being awkward and not fitting in.
Perhaps you worry about imagined consequences. You worry that you should do this, that you must help out, that you ought to help. You worry that karma will get you. Maybe you were brought up to be ‘helpful’ as it’s ‘not nice to say no’.
Saying No is Okay
- If you want to say Yes but you don’t have the time or the capacity then it’s about bowing out nicely and saying No without a fuss.
- If you want to say No because you want to rest, focus on your commitments, get things off your list or simply not do that thing that’s being asked of you then it’s about confidently saying No.
Either way say No and then leave it at that.
You are not required to explain why or attempt to find other solutions for them. You are not accountable to most of the people that ask you to do things. You are not responsible for them achieving their tasks, their goals and relieving their workload or stress.
Possibly people won’t like you saying No as they are used to you saying Yes so No may come as a surprise to them. People may not like you saying No because they can usually rope you in easily. They may react by getting angry, trying to persuade you, crying, getting huffy, pestering you and that’s fine too because you are not responsible for how they react. That’s their choice. You have chosen to say No.
When you say No there is nothing for you to do except to do what you want to do. Simply say No and move forwards with your life. No point using your time and energy to dwell on it. Instead use your imagination and picture achieving the things you want to do.
How to Say No Nicely
You can be direct
- No thank you.
- No that’s not for me.
You can be concise and clear
- No I can’t help you with that.
- No I can’t do that.
- No I don’t want to do that.
You can be clear
- No, I can’t help you on this occasion.
- No, I am sorry but I am not able to help.
- No, that’s not going to work for me.
Just imagine …………………………
- how nice it will be to confidently and concisely say No when you choose not to do something.
- how others will become used to you not saying yes all the time.
- how much happier you’ll feel without that frustration, resentment and worry.
You and only you are responsible for your happiness and if saying No will ultimately make you happier, more confident, more in control of your life and your time then why would you not simply say No nicely?
Saying No can be Easy
This is one of the many things I help people to do so that they can take back control of their thoughts and achieve the things they want to.