12 tips you should keep in mind to learn how to say “no”
In the previous post I talked about how to organise your daily tasks to avoid stress and make time for sports. There, I commented that sometimes it is very important to say “no” when necessary. And this is one of the biggest dilemmas we find sometimes facing sometimes: saying “no” to a loved one, a good friend or even your boss at work.
We are not referring to a conflict or bad manners. Many people find it very difficult to say “no” because they feel an obligation to obey others, even when it comes as an order. In fact, the inability to say “no” is one of the biggest causes of stress.
One of the feelings that many people have when they are stressed is a lack of control over their own lives and fate. This inability to say “no” to someone only reinforces this feeling.
A friend asks you to look after their child, but you want to go for a walk. Now this may be an excellent excuse for not exercising, but really you want to exercise your body, and perhaps even need to, but you feel can’t say no to your friend.
Why is this type of situation very difficult to manage for many people? Is it due to low self-esteem? Since we want our loved ones not to reject us, do we do whatever they ask of us? This reaction may be to do with power. We may have the impression that they have the right to dominate us, but this is only our subjective interpretation.
When we say “no”, we obviously aren’t talking about doing it for illogical reasons or revenge, we are talking about refusing to do something when you don’t want to and when it is not a major inconvenience for the other person. And so, how can we say “no” in a polite and reasonable manner? Remember that there is a time and place for everything. Here are some things you should remember:
- You only have a limited number of waking hours per day. No-one expects you to do everything. If they do, they are the ones being unreasonable which gives you the right to say “no”.
- It is not healthy to always accept new obligations. It causes more stress.
- Always saying “yes” can mean that you are forgetting about your own responsibilities for other people’s.
- Saying “no” allows you to complete your own tasks and start new ones.
- Saying “no” does not automatically mean you’re selfish. When you say “no” to a new commitment, you are being true to your current obligations and making sure you can devote the necessary time.
- Saying “no” will give you the feeling of having your life in control again.
Therefore, consider these points before accepting or rejecting a task:
- Do I want to do it?
- Am I really interested in doing it?
- If I don’t do it, will the other person really suffer a lot?
- Am I being unreasonable or vindictive by saying “no”?
- Will I lose something by saying “no”?
- Will there be a disaster if I say “no”?
If the answer to all of these questions is “no”, then simply reject this task politely and with a smile. If it makes you feel better, justify yourself and give the reasons why you’ve made your decision, but this really isn’t necessary.