How to Master the Use of the Word "No"
By Sandy Schroeder
The word “no” often becomes tricky to use, perhaps because it has so much baggage clinging to it. We all remember hearing a firm “no” when we very much wanted it to be a “yes.” Or we remember how tough it was to say “no” to someone when we knew they very much wanted to hear “yes.”
But looking a little deeper, there are ways to give and get a "no" that works.
Learn How to Say No and Stick with It
If you have a hard time saying no, people around you may catch on quickly and put you on their short list for people to call. I know this because I tend to be on that short list way too often. Each time I agree to something I really do not want to do, I tell myself it will be the last.
But now I have found some ways from lifehack.com to escape that actually work.
Be Honest – If you can explain why your answer is no without hurting the other person’s feelings, then do it. You will be comfortable being genuine and your honesty will probably be appreciated.
Be Actually Busy – Fill in all of the open blanks in your schedule with little notes of things you actually want to do. Then when asked, you actually have something booked. This is deceptive, but it also allows you to save some time for yourself, reserving it in advance.
Simply Say You Are Sorry – When you can’t, or really don’t want to do something, say no, and follow it up with a short apology. That leaves the door open for them to ask again.
Learn How to Ask and Be OK with No
As we navigate through all sorts of people situations, we may fall into self-sabotaging habits. One habit is just not asking for something if we are not sure it will happen.
I finally broke out of this habit when I got to know a smart woman who had built her own business with very little help. She said, “Think about it. If you don’t ask, the answer is automatically 'no.'" I thought about it and realized I was going through life, failing to ask, because I dreaded getting a no. But in the process, I might be missing out on some real opportunities. As I started asking more and more of those questions, I found my friend was right. Almost half of them turned out to be yes.
Very few things are perfect, but understanding how to say “no” or risk getting a “no” can make everything a little easier.