How to Say No, Whatever the Need

Your boss is asking you to switch your day off at the last minute or a family member needs you to jump on a plane thousands of miles away…things happen and you may be the one that people turn to. They do it because you don’t say no. But this is causing stress and means you have no life for yourself. You need to learn to say no and here are a few tips.

Be Direct and Honest

It’s easy for people to just assume that you will do something. If you tell a white-lie, it’s gets you out of it this time, but what about the future? You need to be direct and honest.

If your mother-in-law wants to drop her dog off while she goes away, tell her why you can’t commit to it. If your boss wants you to work late, explain that you can’t be there all the time.

Stick to Your Guns

It’s really easy to then just give in when someone pressures you enough. Stop worrying about what they think of you and stick to your guns.

Don’t change your mind; they’ll know what to do the next time you say no. Be honest and let them know that you’re making a change for the better (for you).

Offer Them Alternatives

If you really don’t like leaving them in the lurch, find a few alternatives for them. It could be kennels for the dog or you may know of a person in the office looking for overtime.

Alternatives are great since the other person doesn’t completely feel abandoned. You make it clear that you would like to help but you are restricted.

Say Thank You

Tell them that you’re grateful for them thinking about you. Starting the conversation this way shows them that you don’t mind being asked, but they need to accept that you can’t do it.

It could be just on this occasion, but it could be a future you. So, the next time you’re asked to chip in for a present for someone in another department that you don’t know, you can explain that you’re grateful for them asking, but [and then insert your reason here].

Stop Worrying About the Situation

Now that you’ve said no, you need to stop worrying about it. Sure, it’s left the other person in a difficult situation, but they should have thought about that before taking you for granted.

Stop worrying about it and move on, especially if you’ve offered alternatives. Otherwise, you may as well have said yes!

Don’t Say No for the Sake of It

If you do want to say yes to something, don’t feel like you now have to say no. You could tell your boss that you’d love to stay late this time, but you can’t make a habit out of it anymore.

You could tell your mother-in-law that you’ll do it this time but please find an alternative next time. It at least gives them the notice and then you can go into your no routine afterwards.

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