How to Say No and Make It Work
By Sandy Schroeder
We have all been in situations in which we wanted to say no, but wound up saying yes. If we do that too many times, we eventually cave under the load or have to sacrifice something else.
Learning how to say no without upsetting people takes a little practice. Here are some examples of how it works from the greatergood.berkeley.edu.
You are asked to work late – Actually, you were all set to take some personal time to catch up on everything at home or visit a friend. Start keeping an up-to-date specific calendar that will supply you with lots of valid reasons for saying no. It will also show you options where you could help out on another night.
Someone asks for help because they are too busy – Take a moment to assess just how busy you are. Validating your own work and needs first will actually earn respect for you, and you can honestly reply you are completely booked.
Your schedule is overloaded – Then someone pops up with a request for help. The solution to avoid adding requests to a packed calendar is to create some ready-made replies. Rehearse your reply such as, “I wish I could, but I don’t have any more room on the schedule this week."
You are asked to cover for a friend – Working as a team leads to friendships, but unethical requests require a different response. Two things should be considered: compassion for your friend’s problem, and your own integrity. Be honest with your friend explaining why this is a matter of integrity. Volunteer to help in other ways, but make it clear that this crosses a line for you. This may change a friendship, or not. If they are really your friend they will understand why you said no.
You may be a repeat “go to” for favors – If this is one of many times you have been asked for the same favor, you may have to step back and draw new lines. Sometimes people just assume it’s OK, since you did a favor before. But if they looked closer, they might realize they were imposing on your good nature. Say no with a smile, and fill in the blank with something that you were planning on doing. If they ask again later, supply another similar excuse, until they get the idea that they might have asked too many times.
Saying no may become easier as you see it play out in different situations. No one seemed too bent out of shape, and you actually had some free time, or got to do what you wanted to. Keep your balance and keep saying no when it works for you.
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