You know how to say no. You’re looking forward to a quiet night in and your friend wants you to go to the latest nightclub. Maybe you’ve had the grandchildren for three straight weekends and now you’re asked to have them again.
Too often we find ourselves saying yes to something we really don’t want and then regretting it afterward. But it’s surprisingly easy to how to say no and mean it.
1. Get in the right frame of mind
Many people have been brought up to believe that saying no is a bad thing. We’ve been taught to put others before ourselves, so we feel guilty if we how to say no. This is especially true if there’s no pressing reason for refusing, such as having a previous arrangement.
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Of course, in a real emergency, we’d be willing to help out, but if it’s not an urgent situation then saying no isn’t always wrong. It’s important for us to have time to ourselves and others need to realize that we are entitled to do what we want.
2. Understand that people shouldn’t judge us
Often we agree to do something because we think people will judge us as selfish or unfriendly. We think that maybe our friends will reject us if we don’t want to be with them or perhaps our families may react badly if we’re not always available.
But we should understand that our needs and wishes are just as important as those of others, and our true friends will understand if we sometimes say no. If we respect ourselves, others will respect us too. Those who respond badly to a refusal are not real friends.
3. Be prepared
It helps to be prepared for saying no, especially if you’ve not done it much before. If you’ve already thought about what you’re going to say, it’ll be much easier when the moment comes.
Think of some phrases you can use when you’re put in an awkward position. You might try saying ‘I’m not able to come with you today’, or ‘I can’t have the grandchildren this weekend’. You could even try practicing on an understanding friend or to the mirror!
4. Use a confident tone
Your tone of voice can make all the difference to whether people take your refusal seriously. If you sound hesitant or overly apologetic they may think they can persuade you to give in, so when you practice your phrases, use a confident tone and speak clearly. When we get nervous we can rush our words, so make sure you’ve practiced a calm and firm delivery.
5. Tell the truth
It might seem easier to tell a white lie to get out of doing something you don’t want, such as saying you’ve already got something planned. But you don’t need an excuse to how to say no, so don’t make one.
6. Stick to your point
You may find that people will think of reasons to make you change your mind, especially at first. Don’t get sucked into an argument about reasons; just stick to your point that you want to say no – you don’t have to justify your decision. Try a phrase such as ‘I’m sorry about that, but my answer is still no’ and keep repeating it, whatever is thrown at you.
7. Offer an alternative
Sometimes it can help to offer an alternative e.g. ‘I don’t want to come out tonight but maybe we can get together on the weekend?’ The other person will understand that it’s nothing personal, and you really do want to get together, but just not tonight.
8. Keep your cool
It’s easy to get flustered when we feel under pressure so focus on keeping cool and calm. Above all, don’t get angry if the other person is persistent in trying to persuade you. You don’t want to alienate your friends, but simply get them to understand you can how to say no if you want.
9. It gets easier each time
Saying no can feel impossibly difficult at first, but the more you do it, the more you’ll realize that it can be done. Your friends and family will get used to the new you, and you can enjoy life without feeling you must give in to everyone’s wishes all the time.