The art of saying no is something so many of us need to perfect. Due to our people pleasing skills, we get wound up in situations where our inability to say no gets us into trouble.
Whether it be completely someone else’s task or meeting the unrealistic deadline expectation, this inability to say no gets us into different scenarios in which our beings are manipulated and we are not treated fairly.
It is particularly hard to say no when there is a power dynamic, as is the case in the workforce. So many people are saddled with extra work just because they cannot tell their boss off.
Moreover, we are conditioned to negatively associate saying no; it is often construed as something hurtful, or a sign of being a procrastinator. The pressure to fit into places and gain people’s acceptance is also behind the inability to say no. Unfortunately, this culture has grave implications for one’s mental and physical health, meriting a visit to the South City Hospital.
Hence, it is imperative that all of us acquire the skill of saying no. It does not mean that you antagonize people, but much like most things, it requires some tact. Here are some practical tips to help you say no:
Boundaries are important
Setting boundaries is important in all facets of life. You need to tell people where you are drawing the line. Although hard to do, but it is crucial to your wellbeing. You might have to face snarky people and might even get hurt, but it will all work out for the better later.
Hence, make sure that people know that you will say no, and you will mean it. Let them have their reaction, you do not move your boundaries. This will also set a precedent that will help you avoid such situations in the future as well.
Be smart about it
We live in a world where social connections are important for you to prosper. Hence, we understand the pressure that comes with saying no; you do not want to come off as someone hard to work with.
Therefore, be smart about the way you say no. Don’t be rude but be firm. Also, some people might coerce you into saying yes, comparing you to your colleagues or not giving you an option. Identify these phrases, and still say no!
Don’t use the word no
We get it, saying no right away can be hard, and not always possible. It thus helps saying phrases that take away the impact from a harsh no, but at the same time, allow you the freedom of choice.
For example, if someone asks you for help, rather than saying no, say you will get back to them at a later and more feasible time. If your boss saddles you with extra unpaid work, say which project would you like me to pause so that I can work on this task. However, do not promise people anything. Deflect, yes, but do not miss-commit.
Stop being apologetic
You need to stop being apologetic for saying no and stop making excuses for yourself. People are asking you for a favor, not the other way round.
At times, the inability to say no comes more from our conditioning than people’s response to it. Therefore, you also need to counsel yourself that saying no is not a bad or a selfish thing. It is within your rights to say no to something that is overworking you or not your responsibility to begin with.
If you continue this vicious cycle of acquiescing to every demand put forth by people around you, not only then are you allowing yourself to be manipulated, but you are also harming your mental and physical wellbeing. Your anxiety and stress may get through the roof, requiring help from your Psychologist in Islamabad then.