Except you are a sociopath, many people struggle with the two-letter word that is No. It is the most straightforward word to spell but the hardest to say, especially when you need to say it. You may feel like using it would hurt the other person’s feelings, so you do not consider yours. You allow yourself to say yes to the things you don’t really want to do. Like agreeing to be in a committee that requires you to spend money, you don’t have. Or being part of an asoebi group for your friend’s wedding when you have bills stacked up that require more urgent attention than giving money to an event that ends in one day or taking on assignments you can’t really handle because you have others stacked up. You do not want to let anyone down because you do not want them to harbour any ill will towards you, which is understandable. Everyone feels some guilt when they can’t make the people they care about happy.
But you have to realize that your feelings matter too, and you should never take more than you can handle to please anyone. You will only hurt yourself. Learn to say no nicely, firmly. Don’t do the thing where you have the other person believe you will deliver on your promise and then tell them last minute that you can’t. That’s even worse because after filling them with hope and expectations, you let them down when you could have just expressed your inability to take on whatever project they wanted you to.
HOW TO SAY NO
You don’t have to vaguely say NO too. There are so many ways you can say it expressively, so the other party has no choice but to accept your decision.
You can start by being grateful that they thought of including you and then apologize for not delivering what they would like you to. You could say something like:
“Fati, thank you for thinking of me and making me a part of your bridal train. I am sorry I won’t be able to make it.
“Hey John, it’s amazing that you thought of me for this job. I really appreciate it. However, I won’t take it on because I have other things on my plate. Thank you for always reaching out to me with new opportunities “.
It’s really that easy, and you could find easier ways to say that you cannot take on certain responsibilities without being disrespectful.
AFTER YOU SAID NO, WHAT’S NEXT?
After you have said no, you may need to soften your answer because you feel a little guilty, which is totally normal. But do not backtrack or promise to be available, especially if you know it is something you have no intention of ever doing. Just say no and let it go. Do not offer unnecessary explanations because you want the other person to feel less sad from the rejection, hold on to your no and leave it at that.
Try not to linger on the problem. Move on to the next thing instead of feeling guilty about your decision and staying on the subject.
Suppose you are the type of person who finds it hard to say no. In that case, this may be the most difficult conversation you will ever have, so practice beforehand. Even after having the conversation, try not to allow your guilt to put you back into a situation you struggled to get out of. They say practice makes perfect so do it until you know how to say no when you need to say no without feeling guilty. Choose yourself and your well-being. Don’t stay in places you don’t want to be simply because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.