I’ve got a proposal: how about we all get comfortable with saying the word “no.” How about we stop stalling or avoiding people because we don’t want to have to say “no”? Unless someone is waiting for an organ transplant, no is usually not as big a deal as the person who has to say it thinks it is. The thing is that telling someone no quickly is always nicer than making someone wait to hear no. Like fish, no gets worse with time and leaves behind a big stink. Get it over with. Say no as soon as you know it’s no. And get on to the yeses of the day.
Oh my gosh, you are so right! I’m struggling with a no that has to do with simple scheduling. I just can’t sit in the “thing” but I don’t want to say no to my mom and lids appoint her. But i feel crappy not answering yet. I just have to say no and get it over with.
So true! I was recently at a meeting where another participant brought dessert. When I said,” No, thank-you, but they look yummy!.” as politely as I could, the person retorted, “You hurt my feelings!” After about ten seconds of feeling badly (but still not taking dessert) I concluded that she was the one that needed to get over it.
Also I find that when someone asks you to volunteer for something and you decline, the requester is probably wishing that she had declined to take on the project herself. We only have so many hours in the day and can only do so much. We have to budget our time the same way (or even better than!) we budget our money.
One of the toughest things about my job as an underling is not being able to say no to a bevy of bosses. But my boss has coached me over the years on how to say “not now” and “not me,” so I now have graceful and effective ways to, essentially, say no. Its best and lasting effect has been empowering me to say no more easily in my personal life.