How do you say ‘No’ to family and friends and still keep relationships intact?
You may have had sleepless nights and anxious days stoking up the courage to come out and say ‘No’, only to feel guilty and bad about yourself when you do.
You may have said ‘No’ but in an apologetic and rambling way, leaving the other person confused and unsure of what you’ve said.
You may have thought you said ‘No’ but never uttered the word ‘No’ resulting in agreeing to do something you never wanted to do.
You may have said ‘yes’ when you really meant to say ‘No’ – confusing for everyone.
Benefits to saying ‘No’:
- gives you your life back
- maintains your psychological and physical health
- displays self belief
- earns respect
- shows commitment and resolution
Below is a process for saying ‘No’ assertively whilst still keeping relationships in tact:
Acknowledge and empathize – ‘Sarah, I understand you’d like me to collect your kids tonight because you’ve a lot on at work’
Say No – ‘No, I’m sorry I can’t give them a lift tonight because I’m heading in the opposite direction after school’
Next Steps – ‘Next time you need them collected, please ask and if I’m heading straight home I’d be happy to help’
Acknowledge and empathize – ‘Mike, I appreciate that you feel very strongly about what’s happened during this weekend’
Say No – ‘No, I don’t agree that gives you permission to keep raising your voice and arguing about everything’
Next steps – ‘From now on I’d like to hear your views but in a more measured way’
Saying ‘No’ assertively works because you are:
1. Listening and empathizing
2. being clear and honest with your reasons
3. leaving the door open for a future win:win
Ensure that you deliver your ‘No’ with firm eye contact, an even tone of voice and slightly slower than you would normally speak when you’re saying ‘No’ to family and friends.