Think about the last time you said “No” to something. Something you didn’t want to do. Something that drained your energy. Something that was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Go ahead and think about it.
I’ll be waiting…
More than likely, you can’t remember the last time you said no to something because you suck at it (and I mean that with all the kindness and love in the world). But seriously, it seems that women in particular (and this is no disrespect to the guys reading this) are genetically programmed to NEVER. SAY. NO.
What the eff is this all about?
The fear of disappointing the asking party? The fear of underperforming at our job? The fear of hurting the feelings of the kid selling magazines door-to-door? The fear of…gulp…not being SUPERWOMAN!? Ladies, the time has COME to up our “No” game!
Are you with me?
First, let’s talk a bit about why we feel compelled to say yes to every gosh darn thing that gets tossed into our court:
1. We don’t want to be rude.
2. We want to avoid conflict.
3. We don’t want to burn our bridges.
4. We (might) miss an opportunity that is really kick-ass.
5. We (really) want to help. Really.
Legitimate reasons? I’d say. Who likes drama, making people feel bad, or missing out on something that could totally change their life? Not this girl. So what’s a time-constrained, energy-drained, multi-tasking mama to do when presented with the opportunity of a lifetime or request to organize the PTA’s bake sale?
Here are six tips to say no with style and grace:
1. The Full Plate
Try a simple:
“I’d love to, but my plate is overloaded as it is.”
This conveys to the asking party that while you think their idea/event/project is amazing and that you’re honored to be asked, your competing priorities just won’t allow you to give this request your full attention, which let’s face it, is what the asker wants. Your. Full. Attention. Not gonna happen. Next!
“Wow, this sounds interesting, but I’m in the middle of an important project at the moment. How about we reconnect in (give a time frame)?”
If the project does not sound remotely interesting, don’t lie because they will reconnect with you and you’ll be in a not-so-fun game of ducking them every time they call. Instead, try #4 of 5 below.
3. Let Me Sleep On It
Not only does this give you a moratorium to concoct a graceful “no”, but it also gives you some time to think, if it is truly something you’d like to consider and **might** actually fit onto your plate without making you a crazy person. Try:
“Let me give this some thought and I’ll get back to you.”
This is a hard “maybe” versus a flat out “no”. Just be sure to give the person a timeframe which they can expect to hear back from you.
4. It’s Not You, It’s Me
Nobody likes rejection, which is why this works so brilliantly, in relationships and in life. If you’re approached for help with something that really isn’t up your alley of expertise, say so. Take it a step further and refer the asker to a person or resource that can possibly help them. Try:
“I love your idea, but I’m not sure I’m the best person to help you. Why don’t you try (insert name or resource)?”
You will score bonus points here. Trust me.
5. KISS: Keep It Simple (Stupid)
No, I’m not calling you stupid (that would be mean). I’m telling you to just say no. Simply. An easy “No, I can’t” really and truly will suffice. Chances are, the reception won’t he half as bad as you anticipate it to be.
6. No Apology Necessary
Unless you are in the wrong, under no circumstances should you apologize for valuing your worth (and sanity). “I’m sorry” seems to roll off of our tongues so easily (present company included), and while it’s sympathetic and all, in this circumstance, it can be interpreted as a weakness. Try:
“Unfortunately, I’m not able to because (insert your reason here).”
Go a step further and omit the reason altogether. It’s nobody’s freaking business anyway, right?
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get, and saying no will come as easy as “Pass the salt”. It actually might become kind of addicting, which means more time doing the things you love with the ones that you love. Can you handle that?
Now it’s time to implement. Tell me the ONE thing you’re going to say no to over the next seven days and then report back on which strategy you used. I’d LOVE to hear! Please leave a comment below.