Make Room for You: How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty
thankubody·March 25, 2021
Whenever someone asks you for a favor, a service, or even money, it might be hard for you to reject, especially if the person asking is a good friend of yours. Maybe because you're afraid of feeling rejected, or you don't want to disappoint them.
Regardless of what they may ask, deep down, you know you can't or don't want to do what they're asking of you, yet you somehow end up saying yes—and it's exhausting.
You want to, and you have tried to, but you can't ever seem to say that one word—no. However, learning how to say no is an art and while to some it may be easy to do, others find it almost impossible without feeling guilty. Luckily for you, we've brought you some key suggestions that could help you say no.
Don't Give an Answer Right Away
Saying no right at the moment, especially if the petition is urgent, is a challenge. You might hesitate because you feel you're obliged to help this person, or perhaps they're pressuring you to the point that you feel the need to say yes.
In this case, remember that you do have your own schedule, and quite frankly, your time is valuable. You also need to make sure that what they're asking of you won't cross your personal boundaries or break your policies. Kindly let the person know that you need to check your availability and that you will get back to them with an answer.
Practice Saying No
Sounds a bit silly but, you all know how the saying goes, "practice makes perfect." Start with the minimal situations, such as when someone offers you candy, kindly say "no." Or perhaps when a waiter offers dessert after your meal, say "no."
You can also practice different ways to say no by simply repeating it at home in front of the mirror. It sounds insane but, the more you repeat it and the louder you say it, the easier it'll be to say no when the occasion arises.
Add a Compliment
One of the reasons people struggle so much to say no is that they either don't want to seem rude or don't want to hurt others' feelings. So, one thing you can do is to add a compliment before or after saying no. For example, if your friends ask you out to the movies and don't want to, kindly refuse and then thank them for inviting you.
Be Less Selfless and More Selfish
People often use the term "selfish" negatively. However, being selfish doesn't necessarily mean thinking of yourself and only yourself in every aspect of your life.
For example, let's say an important client pressures you to meet with them on the same day you have a doctor's appointment. Or your friends keep insisting on meeting with them for happy hour instead of you going to the gym. You have a project you need to finish, and yet, a friend keeps begging for your help on theirs.
In these situations, by saying no, you'll be caring for your wellbeing and avoiding unnecessary stress and anxiety. So remember, being selfish isn't always a bad thing.
Set Policies for Yourself
It's a lot easier to make decisions when you live by certain principles you've set for yourself. Also, by letting people know that you're rejecting their petition because of a personal policy, chances are, they'll accept their rejection with more ease and won't insist or ask you again in the future.
Let's say someone asks you for money. Due to your past experiences, you no longer want to lend money because it always ends badly. So, you could tell the person, "I'm sorry, but I have a clear policy on lending money," and this way, the person will see that it's nothing personal.
Make Another Offer
If someone has asked you for a favor, and you genuinely do want to help, then you can always look for an alternative. If they're asking you for a favor during a time where your schedule is booked, you can always say something like, "I can't help you right now, but let me check my schedule and see what other day I'm able to."
That way, you show them that you care and you're willing to help while respecting your boundaries.
'Broken Record' Technique
Some people, however, won't take "no" for an answer. By declining them once, they might continue to insist, pressure, or even manipulate you into saying yes. And most of the time, you end up changing your "no" to a "yes" because they've managed to either make you feel guilty or you simply want them to shut up.
The 'broken record' technique is exactly what it sounds like—no matter what, continue to say no. "Sorry, but my answer is still no," and stick to that response no matter how many times they ask. Of course, you want to be polite but remain firm.
Start Learning How to Say No
Learning how to say no isn't a skill you will adopt overnight. It will take time and much effort. Yet, by putting to practice these suggestions, you'll notice that saying "no" will get easier over time.
Did you like our suggestions? You'll find more tips on how to love and value yourself or check out our zine tools on our page!