How to say NO!

Eva Marks

/ General Psychologist

How to say no!

Saying no can be hard. It can take courage, but it can be the best for everyone. It doesn’t mean you have to be rude, in fact it works better for everyone if you are polite about it.

Here are 10 tips on how to say no.

1. Buy yourself some time.

Often requests to do things can be sprung on you at short notice. It is reasonable to give yourself a bit of time to think about it. You can consult your calendar and get back to the person in a couple of days. Say this! It works for everyone if you make the decision that’s best for you.

2. Know your priorities and stick to them.

Take the time to really consider what important to you. You can’t do everything!

3. If you are saying no to a bureaucracy, try giving them some of of their own medicine! Create policy statements. This gives you more authority and shows you have considered this seriously. “We have a policy of not buying from door to door salespeople.” or here’s a good one…. “Our portfolio for charitable organisations is unfortunately over-subscribed. Good luck with your future fundraising.”

4. Sometimes askers can be very persistent. So can you! If they are repeating themselves, you can do the same.

5. If an acquaintance or friend that is doing the asking, remember that the reason doesn’t matter but it’s important to give a reason. Keep it short and simple. No long winded explanations. Too busy is good enough.

6. Remember that they are often paying you a compliment by asking you to do this. It means they think you are competent and trustworthy. Thank them! This doesn’t mean you have to say yes! You are saying no to the invitation not the person. Make sure you indicate you respect them. Be genuine, polite and kind.

7. The reason you are saying no is not about them. You are saying no for you! If you can use eye contact, saying this sincerely with empathy for the situation of the other person, it works well. Almost everyone will support and understand someone who says no for their own personal reasons.

8. You may feel you are missing out on something by saying no. Just bear in mind that if you say yes, you are also missing out on something else. It’s all about priorities and choice.

9. Practice saying no in the easiest situations first. You could try saying no in front of the mirror in your bathroom or the car by yourself. If you need to build up your “no” muscles, try saying no every day, starting with easier situations and working up to more difficult situations.

10. All the previous tips can apply to the situation of saying no to an ongoing situation that you have previously said yes to. Priorities have changed and you now realise that you now need to say no. You might feel guilty about this. Put that guilt back in its box. Remember your priorities. They are important! They will probably understand. If they don’t and you have been polite and given a simple reason, then they are being unreasonable, not you.