If young people are not taught how to say no. Just no . No explanation . How are they expected to grow and make sound, clear and strong choices? Now, we adults need to learn this as we mainly grew up in a society and era that treated the word no like a swear word.
Do you constantly apologise for saying no? Is it difficult to say no?
Do you find that every single time you say no you follow on with an explanation then wonder why you felt the need? Maybe the explanation was true, maybe it was fabricated to lessen the emotion but you left the situation wishing you just knew how to say no. And mean it.
No without explanation is power to you. No with explanation often manifests self guilt, regret, distress even. Sometimes it’s neccessary to follow on but don’t overdo it, your listener has already got the answer and are probably not listening now.
If you don’t want to do something, say no. It doesn’t have to be aggressive, it can just be no. No further explanation needs to be offered if you have no intention of changing your answer to yes. Surely?
Perhaps there are exceptions to the rule. Maybe when teaching a child the difference of yes and no. This is understanding what yes means and why it may have been said or explaining why the choice to say no was made in this given situation, this is a life lesson.
As grown adults we must be self accountable for our choices in our lives and saying no is a total freedom and relief once you get the hang of it.
Take a scenario in your life, I’ll list a few anomalies but they’re simply written to give each of us thought, you’ll have plenty, these are completely fictitious examples.
Your boss asks you to take on some extra tasks and he or she knows your workload is already overwhelming for one person, knowing if you take on this extra task you’ll be working an extra 5 hours without pay or recognition . What do you do?
Naturally most people will say yes! Absolutely! Then completely crumble under the pressure, not perform well in normal duties as this new task is taking over, you get exhausted and potentially not want to come to work. More…… as soon as the yes has been said, there’s no going back. Can you just say no?
No thank you.
This is an extreme example as everyone needs to work, the fear of not taking on that job and being viewed dimly may worry most people to say yes. Then have to explain to their family why the trip to the cinema was cancelled or call the dog sitter and negotiate new rates and so on. So negotiate first and then say no.
You’re invited to a party, you’re exhausted already and it’s 2 weeks away. The signs are you’re not so keen on socialising and that’s ok. It’s OK to say no. But how? No. No thanks. No because…..
A stranger in the street asks “do you have any change to spare? ”
No. Or No…because…. Or NOTHING?
Someone who you know but consider an acquaintance is always sponging off others. Asks you, can I have? No! Say it. No! STOP!….. think about this. Why do you want to explain why you said no? This person knows why you said it, you don’t need to explain but your strength and empowering NO said, “hey, don’t ask again ok?”
You’re enjoying a regular show on the TV and someone in the house bounces in, settles down and says, “can we turn over?” Or ” turn over!” NO. Why explain? Oftentimes, explaining the reason we said no weakens the message.
Get into the habit of saying no. Explain nothing. Wait for a response. If no further explanation is sought, offer nothing more.
It’s very hard but it’s very fulfilling, heart consoling and without regret.
Saying yes can often take up so much heart space, time, money, precious thoughts and often saying yes without consideration of the longterm outlook of your Yes can cost you dearly without the person you said yes to considering what that cost was.
“Ah, you know how to do this, can you do it for me?” NO! Learn it, write it down, I’ll show you, I’ll teach you but I am not doing it for you. No! With no explanation if this comes around a second time is worthy. Totally. Live your life, experience and gather knowledge. Don’t give others the tools to be you, you’re unique.
If you don’t learn to say no where you really wanted to, you’ll let people down and worst of all you’ll let yourself down.
P.s. Never apologise for something beyond your control. I learned this a long time ago.
Panicking I was running late for work I called my boss and was so sorry I’m running late , there’s a traffic jam due to an accident. I arrived at work and my boss pulled me in ” uh oh” she said, “Karoline, you were late but it was out of your control. In future, do not use your mobile to call me whilst you’re in the car and don’t say SORRY! You Brits apologise for everything! ” I asked what did she mean? She said ” You come into the workplace, tell me “I’m late as there was an accident on the way to work, I was not involved, I’ll get straight to work now.”
I’ve done it ever since. It’s not rude. It’s just not British.