How to know when to say no

How to know when to say no
How to know when to say no

It's often difficult to say no, but some people never do! So how do you know when to say no and when to say yes?

Often the answer's obvious: it's easy to say no when someone wants you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. And it's easy to say yes when you're asked to do something you want to do: yes, I will go shopping with you; I'm looking out for some new shoes. But the answer isn't always so clear cut. For example, what if a friend asks you to meet for drinks - you feel you ought to agree, but after an exhausting week, you'd been planning a quiet evening relaxing at home? Or what if you want to say yes, but you say no because you're scared of trying something new?

You're not the only one to feel confused in these scenarios. It's usually easier to say yes than to say no; we're hard-wired to want to please others, and we often prefer to avoid conflict, so we agree to things to avoid disappointing or angering them. If you'd like to be more assertive and make better decisions, Bach Flowers Mix 44  helps to boost your self-confidence and supports you to believe in yourself more.

Today, we're always connected, and the risk of emotional and physical burnout is real. So it's crucial to look after your wellbeing by setting boundaries and being able to say no when you need to.

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How to say “No”

Firstly," No!" is a sentence, and there's no need to add anything more. If you're being asked to do something that's unsafe or that you don't feel comfortable with, just saying "No" is enough. This may take a little practice because you'll probably be tempted to add an explanation. But if someone is rude, aggressive or challenging, there's no need to elaborate further.

However, there will be many occasions when you might want to add a little explanation, for example, when you're saying no to a friend. In this case, tact can help to diffuse any feelings of rejection.

For example, say you have to prepare for a presentation at work, and a friend asks you to go to the cinema with them that evening. You say no, but explain that you have some work to do and suggest an alternative time to meet up. This tactic establishes a boundary without hurting your friend's feelings.

When to say no to look after yourself

Many people are so busy with a job, family commitments, hobbies and volunteering that they spread themselves very thinly. The saying goes that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it; the implication is that they never say no! But the danger of agreeing to everything is that you can lose sight of your own needs and feel overwhelmed.

Learn to say no when you need to protect your physical and mental wellbeing. Introverts especially need time and space to restore their energy after socialising. As above, you can say no in a diplomatic way and suggest alternatives.

We're sometimes worried about saying no because we want to be likeable, and we fear that no one will ever invite us again. But real friends will understand when you say no to doing something and will readily accept your reasons.

When should you say yes?

Saying yes isn't always easy. For example, socially anxious people and those who need time and space on their own sometimes find it hard to say yes to occasions such as parties, community events and business conferences. But pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is essential to develop and grow.

• Say yes when you're socially anxious

If you always say no to experiences such as a social event or class to learn a new sport, you'll stifle your development and find that you're missing out on fantastic opportunities. For example, if you've been invited to a party and you're worried you don't know many people, it's the easy option to always say no and stay at home.

But you never know who you might meet in such a situation: a new partner, new friends or a potential new employer. If you don't go, you'll never find out! You may feel more in control if you tell yourself, "I'll go and just stay for an hour" or "I'll go and talk to five different people before I leave". Giving yourself an "out" makes the event seem less overwhelming, and you might end up having a great evening!

• Say yes when you're afraid of looking foolish

It can be a challenge when you're afraid of looking foolish in front of others. Maybe there's a class or sport that you'd like to try out, but you're worried that you might look silly or incompetent.

But what does it matter if you're no good at whatever it is? That's why you've come to the class! And that's also why everyone else is there, so the chances are that they'll be focussing on trying to get it right themselves. Knowing that no one is watching you takes the stress out of the situation. And if you go and find you don't enjoy it, you don't have to go back.

Yes or no: you’re in control

You're in control, so always remember that you can say no without further explanation to anything you're not comfortable with. You can also say no tactfully without damaging your friendships. And don't forget to sometimes say yes to things that might seem nerve-wracking. Pushing yourself out of your comfortable place stretches you and lets you grow.


Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/speak-easy/201709/how-say-no-assertively-request-your-time

http://changingminds.org/techniques/assertiveness/saying_no.htm

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Marie Pure

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