This week we’re revisiting an episode from the TPW archives in which I talk about learning how to say no – and mean it, without feeling guilty.
Saying no is okay–and can help us make space for what’s most important
This week we’re doing something new: revisiting an episode from the TPW vault. I had considered taking a week off for this holiday week, but after I finished recording last week’s episode, in which I mentioned the importance of learning to say no in order to make time for what matters most to you, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the conversation we had way back in episode 8 about saying no gracefully–just in case you missed it before.
Saying no isn’t easy
Do you find it difficult to say no? I do. The desire to be liked or the sincere desire to help makes it easy to say yes, and sometimes we end up regretting it.
In this episode I share some of what I learned in researching why we say yes, when it’s okay to say no, and how we can say no without sacrificing relationships that matter to us.
Tip of the Week: Make good use of waiting time to tackle tiny tasks.
Tool of the Week: Bank apps for the smartphone! A useful tool that lets you move money around, pay bills, and even deposit checks right on your phone. Most banks and credit unions have them, and I encourage you to give this tool a try if you’re not already using it.
Topic of the Week: Saying No Gracefully
Why do we say yes?
- We want to help
- We want to be liked
- To avoid conflict or confrontation
- It feels good to be needed
- FOMO (fear of missing out)
- We have an unrealistic idea of what we can take on
- Guilt – we feel like if we can, we should
- It feels selfish to say no
- We succumb to pressure
Good reasons to say yes?
- Because we want to — we’re truly enthusiastic about the opportunity
- We’ve carefully evaluated it and it lines up with our values, objectives, and goals
- To serve someone we care about
Why is it okay to say no?
- It gives somebody else an opportunity to contribute
- The ability to say a purposeful no is necessary for our yes to have any meaning
“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ Gandhi
- Sometimes saying yes would overtax your health, your time, your family
- Saying no to some things (even good things) leaves room for better things
- Your time is just as valuable as the time of the person who asks
Deciding whether to say yes or no
- Don’t give a reflex answer.
- Weigh your options and limitations and get back to the asker.
We need to be okay with the fact that to some extent will cause some level of “pain” for the asker (but there are ways to minimize that)
Ways to minimize the damage of our no
- Be certain of your answer
- Be respectful of the person who asked
- Show kindness and compassion
- Give an explanation or reason if possible — but don’t get drawn into a debate. You don’t have to justify your no.
- Make sure if you say you’re going to call them later, you actually do it
- If necessary, practice saying no in front of a mirror until you can do it in a way that’s kind but firm
What do you think?
When is it hard for you to say no–or have you mastered saying no gracefully? Post your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me.
Resources and Links
- “Saying No Gracefully,” by Isadora Alman, MFT, PsychologyToday.com, July 13, 2010.
- “How to Say ‘No’ Gracefully,” by Beth Levine, WomansDay.com.
- “Saying No Gracefully,” by Lisa Kovalovich, Ladies Home Journal online.
- “Learn to Say No,” Oprah.com.
- “The Halfhearted Yes: Why We Don’t Say No and How to Start,” by Sonya Derian on tinybudha.com.
- “Why So Many People Just Can’t Say No,” by Hank Davis, Psychology Today online, March 10, 2014.
- “7 Simple Ways to Say No,” by Celestine Chua, Zen Habits, August 3, 2010.
- “When to Say Yes and When to Say No,” Jill Kemerer blog, August 11, 2014 — great insight for people of faith.
- How to Say “No” Politely – 80 Different Ways | Go Natural English
- 6 Effective Tips to Politely Say No (that actually work!) | Science of People
- How to say no politely – 6 tips for professionals
- How to Respectfully Decline — Emily Post
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