Saying NO can definitely be tricky.....let me create a scenario for you - which I'm sure we all can relate to;
Person X; “Hey (insert your name here), I really need a hand doing 'XYZ' – would you mind doing this for me?” blah blah blah....
You; (voice inside your head...say NO, you already have so much on your plate right now....SAY NO) “Sure, no worries” (voice in your head; WTF just happened here????????)
We're all guilty of saying yes when we really should be saying no, we've all fallen 'victim' to being the people pleaser......the trick is start to know your worth and perhaps even earn some respect while you're at it.
So how exactly does one go about saying NO without offending the other person (even if it's your boss...eeekkk). Good question, I'm glad you asked.
Here are a few suggestions for you to use to start you on your liberating path of learning to say no...and being okay with it.
You can’t please everyone – remember, it is impossible to please everyone! Saying YES all the time can be debilitating, and you need to draw the line on when and how to say NO. Your inner people pleaser may feel like you are disappointing people, but if you constantly say yes, people will take advantage of you. And quite simply – that's not okay.
Allow yourself to weigh up the pros and cons of the request and think about the outcome. Do you actually have the time to take on this request? Is it advantageous to you? What are the risks of saying yes or no? Be firm without coming across as rude.
Avoid going into details when saying NO. Keep your reason short and simple – if you go into details (which we can all do at times out of guilt), you run the risk of being talked out of your NO into an insincere YES (insert face palm and that inner voice screaming at you 'what have you just done'?????).
People can be sneaky (and by sneaky, I mean manipulative). Know the things people use to get you to say YES….beacause, out of the goodness of your own heart and being a nice person, you have said yes so many times before. They know exactly what to say and do, to turn your NO into YES (see...sneaky) Recognise this tactic, and stand firm in your decision.
Be careful saying NO with an apology. Whilst it's a polite way to ease into your NO, be sure not to go overboard...nek minute (are people still saying that???) your apology is used against you, and your NO has turned into a YES (take it from an over apologiser....the buggers have a way of turning this against you and before you know it, you're off running errands for Susan and Janet).
Just Say NO (you may need to practice this a few times saying it to yourself in the mirror). Don't say 'maybe' or 'possibly'..... just plain, good old fashioned NO. This way, there is no room for a misunderstanding. The indirect use of NO can sometimes translated into YES. Be firm and just say “NO” (insert Alf Stewart into your sub-conscious saying...what part of NO don't you understand? The N or the O?..... good one Alf).
Offer an alternative - you could either recommend another person or suggest another way the task can be done. This way, you're letting them know that you are not just saying NO... but have put some thought into how you can help them out. You could even follow up on them later on, to see how they are going (show them that even though you said NO, it doesn't mean you were being thoughtless to their request).
So, in summary remember the following;
Value your time
Know your priorities
Practice saying no (but keep in mind, to weigh up the pros and cons)
You don't have to apologise for saying no
Remember, you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments, and it is definitely okay to say NO and not feel guilty about it. Good-luck!