Sometimes saying yes hurts more than saying no. Even if your friendships with others are still strong, saying “no” can make you feel uncomfortable and withdrawn, and arrogant.
How to say no without hurting someone’s feelings
1. Accept that you cannot do everything
Maybe saying yes to others has caused you to have no time for yourself. Can’t say no to your friend’s request for help with moving? Can’t you say no to your boss asking you to do something outside of your duties? You can get rid of this situation by simply saying no. If responding positively to other people’s requests leaves no time for yourself, decide not to respond to any unreasonable requests from now on.
2. Don’t be afraid that someone will call you selfish
You may think to yourself that by saying no to others, you become a selfish person. a selfish person always gives negative answers to others and only thinks about himself.
Tell yourself that you are not selfish. If you refuse someone’s unreasonable request and they call you selfish, it is better to reduce your relationship with that person.
By looking back and all the positive responses you have given to others, you can understand that you are not selfish.
3. Accept that you cannot make everyone happy in life
You cannot please everyone in your life and you have to set a red line for others. You may think that by saying no and disappointing others, you will lose their respect, but this is not the case. If someone thinks that you will respond positively to all their requests, they may want to abuse you with unreasonable requests. Give special importance to the people who are important to you and try to keep them happy.
4. “Focus on the positive aspects of saying “no
You don’t have to look at “no” as a bad thing. Whenever you say no to a request, you can say yes to other things that have many benefits for you. In this way, you will feel less guilty after a negative answer. For example, see what you gain by saying no:
- Instead of doing something you don’t like, you can spend more time with your friends and family and enjoy it.
- By doing this, you have said yes to yourself, your hobbies, and the things you like.
- You have said yes to the quiet life and the important things around you, not to those who are less important.
- You can say yes to things that are logical and suitable for you, and you won’t be forced to overwork or do things that are not related to you because of your inability to say no.
5. Discover why you feel uncomfortable saying no
Why do you feel uncomfortable with a negative answer to others? Are you afraid that the other party will stop talking to you? Do you think you sound selfish by saying no? When you understand exactly what is causing your discomfort, you can look at the situation more logically. If you’re afraid of losing someone’s attention by saying no, it’s time to rethink your relationship with that person.
6. Know the different ways to say yes
Sometimes others trick you in different ways to give a positive answer to their request. When you know these methods, you can more easily say no to the unreasonable demands of others. Some of the ways to make you say yes against your will include:
Bullying: Sometimes others try to get a positive response from you by bullying, being mean, or rude. In these situations, you should respond negatively to their rude tone with coolness and indifference.
Whining: The person behaves by whining and complaining, even without asking, in such a way that you volunteer to help him. In these cases, it is better to change the topic of conversation. Do not communicate with that person for a while or tell him that you are upset that he is in this situation.
Making you feel guilty: Some people try to make you feel guilty by saying things like that you never help or leave your back in times of trouble. In these cases, calmly remind him of the previous times you have helped him and say that this time the case is different and I cannot help you.
Compliments: Someone may ask you for something by complimenting you, saying “how great you are at doing something” or “what a smart person you are.” In these situations, do not be shy or shy away from compliments from the other party, and do not give a positive answer.
7. Speak calmly
Try to sound like you are talking on the phone. Speak calmly, firmly, and clearly. If there is emotion, discomfort, or doubt in your voice, the other party will use this weakness and try to exploit you. If the calmness in your voice is clear, the other person understands that you are a reasonable person and it is possible to say no sometimes. If you don’t raise your voice or sound upset, the other person is more likely to accept your explanation.
8. To increase the power of saying no, take your body language seriously
Raise your head and place your arms at your sides and emphasize your words with hand gestures.
Look the other person in the eyes when saying no. Don’t play with your hands or anything and don’t hesitate about your decision.
Don’t fold your hands in front of your chest or act like you’re upset about your decision and can change your mind.
9. Don’t apologize too much
If you’re upset and sorry that you can’t say yes, just say a simple “I’m sorry.” By apologizing too much, your lack of assertiveness and weakness are exposed.
In this case, the other party thinks that he can convince you by insisting more, and you will feel worse by refusing to fulfill the request. If you apologize too much, the other party will think that you are doing something wrong by saying no.
10. Give a short reason
A simple and short explanation about why you cannot give a positive answer to the other party’s request will convince him. You don’t need to explain too much. It is enough to describe one or two sentences about your busyness. You don’t need to lie or make lame excuses. Consider the examples below.
- I can’t come with you to the dentist’s office tomorrow, because tomorrow is my wedding anniversary.
- Unfortunately, I can’t come to your birthday because I have a final exam in the morning.
11. Offer the other party alternatives
If you feel guilty about your negative answer and wish you could help, offer the other person an alternative solution. If you think that you can help the other party in another way, bring up that method. The method should be suitable for both of you. Examples of these include:
- Can you borrow my car to go to the dentist, I don’t need it tomorrow.
- I can’t come to your birthday, but how about we go out to dinner the weekend after my exam is over and talk about it.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is it so hard to say no?
In most cases, fear of offending someone or a genuine desire to help stops us from saying no. Sometimes we don’t know how to say no confidently and politely.
- Can you learn the skill of saying no?
It is probably uncomfortable for you to say no at first; But the more you say no, the easier it is to do. Your time and goals and what is important to you in life should be the basis of your decision. It just takes a bit of getting used to with practice and time.
- What are the benefits of learning the skill of saying no in life?
People who can politely decline others’ requests are more confident and less stressed. Saying no helps in better time management and is effective in gaining respect from others.
- How to politely say no?
Complimenting the other person, giving reasons for saying no, and offering an alternative offer are all ways to make the requester feel less bad.
The application is rarely as simple as it seems, when you get into the context, you have a lot of problems. In the past, you were always afraid of ruining friendships, not liking your parents, disappointing your boss, and your child saying out loud, “I hate you.” But the more you apply these principles, you’ll realize that it’s a lot easier than you thought. When you get these facts, it will be easier for you to say nothing the next time.
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