There are two types of people in the world. People who always say “YES” and people who always say “NO”. Both of these categories don’t know when to say YES or when to say NO. Challenge is to say YES or NO to right people at right time. “Yes men” are always perceived good boys. If you say yes, then you are good, positive person with right attitude. But when you say No, you are rebellious, egoistic, and you have the attitude problem. Saying yes is always easy, but saying no is very hard. The worst situation is when you say YES, actually you mean NO. Fact of the life is that you have to say NO for something in your life, otherwise you give the opportunity to the people to take the control of your life.
“No” is such a simple word, only two letters. Yet saying "No" out loud is harder for most people than saying, "I'll be glad to..." (eleven letters) or "When do you need me to..." (seventeen letters)
The authority figures in our lives, our parents, bosses do not expect us to say "No." Many of us grow up to be people pleasers. The word "No" drops out of our vocabulary, and we substitute lots of ways to be agreeable and keep the other person happy. Saying "No" to the authority figures is not expected. And underneath it all we believe that saying "No" can cost us a lot in our adult life.
This all has to be related to our mindset of assertiveness. The question is how you are assertive to say, “No”.
Typically due to our upbringing and influence of our values of pleasing everybody, our “No” is accompanied by weak excuses and rationalizations. If you lack confidence when you say "No" you may think that you need to support your "No" with lots of reasons to convince the other person that you mean it. You might even make up an excuse to support your "No." This can backfire if the lie is exposed and again, you will sound ineffective because you need to have an excuse to support your stand.
However the aggressive “No” is done with contempt. "Are you kidding? Me, get your mail while you're out of town? “
Sometimes the aggressive "No" includes an attack on the person making the request. "You must be crazy. I couldn't take on a project that unimportant."
We do not want to be both of above examples. Your “No” should be assertive and stand on firm and on valid reasons. An assertive “No” is simple and direct. Like, "No, I won't be able to help with that." If you would like to offer an explanation, make it short and simple. "No, I won't be able to help with that. I've already made a commitment for Friday afternoon."
Simple rules to say “No”:
- When someone makes a request, it is always OK to *ASK FOR TIME TO THINK IT OVER*. In thinking it over, remind yourself that the decision is entirely up to you.
- Use your body language effective. Use your nonverbal assertiveness to underline the "No." Make sure that your voice is firm and direct. Look into the person's eyes as you say, "No." Shake your head "No," as you say, "No."
- Remember that "No," is an honorable response. If you decide that "No“is the answer that you prefer to give, then it is authentic and honest for you to say, "No."
- If you say, "Yes," when you want to say, "No," you will feel resentful throughout whatever you agreed to do. This costs you energy and discomfort and is not necessary if you just say, "No" when you need to.
- If you are saying, "No," to someone whom you would help under different circumstances, use an empathic response to ease the rejection. For example, to your friend who borrows money from you, you might say, "No, Rajesh (NAME), I can't. I know you need money desperately, but I have already other expenses in this month and I won't be able to help you.
- Start your sentence with the word, "No." It's easier to keep the commitment to say, "No," if it's the first word out of your mouth.
You can practice saying, "No," in you day to day life so that it comes more naturally to you.
- to telecaller who disturbs you for credit card, insurance and holiday package etc.
- to the perfume demonstrator at the department store;
- to your friend's pets when they jump on you;
- to the secretary who answers the phone and asks if you mind if she puts you on hold.
- to your friend who ask you to drink and you don’t want to do that.
- And many more…
Make it a project to say, "No," to something every day.
And off course, don’t say “No” to everything if you do not have the reason to say so. J