The small two-letter word NO tremendously affects relationships with people around you. The thin line goes a long way to make or break a relationship, often irreparably.
If you say too many N.O.s, you may be a negative person, socially isolated, and miss out on life opportunities. On the other hand, if you are not saying NO when it is necessary, you are choking your bandwidth. It may stress you out as you lose control of your time.
That is why one must learn to say NO when necessary.
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What are the reasons you cannot say NO?
Saying NO to a person is not an easy task. NO means your rejection of the proposal that has come to you. You may feel saying NO would often lead you to be an outcast.
Some common reasons which stop you from saying NO are as under:
1. You demonstrate willingness.
It may so happen that you are genuinely willing to help another person. However, it may not always be in your best interests.
For instance, if you are in a new job, you may feel that saying NO would mean a lack of involvement. But it is advisable to weigh your priorities. Your employer will evaluate your performance based on the results you put on the board. Hence, getting involved in another assignment may be detrimental to your prospects.
The situation becomes more challenging if your superior is involved in a transaction where you have to say NO. But, a timely and polite NO demonstrates your confidence and commitment to your assignments.
2. You are wary of spoiling relationships.
You may have the belief that it is rude to say NO. You may feel that you are putting some relationships on the line by saying NO. Indeed, a negative reply may not be taken happily by the other person. But they will respect your decision if you have a genuine reason for backing out.
3. You feel guilty.
Feeling guilt by saying NO to a person is a widespread sentiment that you may have. But you need to remember that your deliverables are your priority. Hence, saying NO to delivering your task is perfectly acceptable.
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How do people take advantage when you can’t say NO?
People take undue favours from people who do not say NO. If you are a person who never says NO, there is a perfect chance you are being taken for a nice person and for granted.
Please note that a non-confrontational person is a weak person to many. You will end up being a person without an opinion, indecisive, and cannot function without somebody’s help. It will not be helpful if you aspire to be in a leadership position.
Ten simple steps to say NO when it is necessary
Saying NO is never easy, and it may not be coming to you naturally. However, the following are the ten steps to say NO when it is essential to say so:
Please ask yourself some basic questions such as:
Does it matter to me?
Will it help me as a person to grow?
If the answers to the above are negative, please go ahead and say NO.
“Keep it short and simple.” A straightforward NO by politely citing your reasons for saying so is much better than a lengthy explanation.
3. Articulate with grace and gratitude:
If you say NO gracefully, the intended recipient will take the matter in the correct spirit. By doing so, you express yourself clearly yet gratefully.
4. Feel happy:
You need not fear missing out on an opportunity while saying NO. When you do not subscribe to a proposal, you suppose to say no. In that case, you are empowering yourself and backing your notion.
5. Express clearly:
If you want to say NO, express the same clearly without beating around the bush.
6. Prioritise your work:
An organisation hires you to perform specific duties, hence, do not compromise on the same even if you have to say NO.
7. Make a habit of saying NO:
This approach will make those around you understand that you value your time.
8. Do not feel guilty:
Get rid of the feeling of guilt when you are about to say NO.
While saying NO, make sure you reject the proposal and not the person who will make your stand look firm and positive.
9. Appreciate the proposer:
The person reaching out to you for help needs you by his side. Ideally, one needs to be appreciative while saying NO in such cases.
10. Analyse the proposal:
Before expressing yourself, make a mental judgement of the proposal; if there is no W.O.W. factor, please go ahead and say NO.
Examples of how to use the ten steps to say NO:
Some ways you may adopt to say NO is as under:
- Express gratitude by saying, “I feel elated, but….”
- Say, “I wish I could be two and be able to keep your request.”
- You may say, “Sorry! I am up to my neck with something else….”
- “Sounds very interesting, next time surely…” can be another way of saying NO.
There will be innumerable situations where you would have said yes when you wanted to say NO. You may fear missing an opportunity, losing out on a relationship, feeling guilty, fear tarnishing one’s image as a team player. These are some reasons why people do not say NO.
But, it is crucial to say NO if you feel a lack of excitement to contribute to the expectations of the request. A situation where you are reluctant to participate will almost surely land you in a position where you will resent the commitment. Hence, follow the call of your heart. If you need to come out of any situation, follow some of the tips above.