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Saying No to Others

It can be hard to say ‘no’ and to do your own thing. We expect disapproval or rejection by our friends. So how do you say ‘no’ in a respectful way when you can’t, or you don’t want to, say ‘yes’ to them?

1. Listen with respect to what the person has to say. Don’t interrupt; it’s just a question at this stage.

2. Simply say ‘no’ in a calm and an even voice. Don’t sound like you’re upset, or start to whine or raise your voice. Just simply say ‘no’ in a calm, confident way.

3. Transfer the reason and the blame to something else. For example, say something like, ‘I’m really sorry but my calendar is full’. This focuses annoyance on your calendar – not you.

4. Don’t react or be confrontational. They can ask what they want, and have the right to make requests – and you have the right to accept or decline. Say: I’d love to say yes, but … (and then turn them down)’. This will help to build a bridge, and conveys empathy.

5. Don’t feel you have to give an explanation when you answer. You don’t have to give a reason or explain yourself to others. You can simply decline, and then politely change the subject.

6. If you want to give a reason then keep it short and simple. Don’t justify yourself or start to argue your case. True friends accept your answer and respect your boundaries.

7. Stand firm in your decision. If the person starts to pressure you, just tell them you’ve decided, and nothing they can say is going to make you change your mind.

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Author:

Certifying coaches and providing specialized online training in addictions, trauma, crisis intervention, relationships, and grief and loss. Visit us at coachingskillsintl.com

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