I’ve got a confession to make.
I’m your fool. [Name that song!]
But I am not foolish.
As a yes person, the word no, hasn’t come naturally to me. I’ve been overly generous, I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge and I have been burnt by lifes takers.😣
Saying no isn’t always easy—but it is a necessary boundary we all need as leaders, friends, family members and as humans.
Saying yes and grabbing life by the ⚽’s sounds great and all. But what happens to you when your yeses start to impact your career, friendships and worst of all, your mental health?
I can tell you: you start to flake out, burn out and cry out – for help!
So, how do you say no without compromising your values and relationships?
Yes, I mean, No.
‘No’ can be a full sentence.
However, imagine the look on your colleagues face when they have asked you help them out with a project or when a friend has invited you to their wedding and your response is just a plain ‘NAAHHH!’
No, Nope, Nah…
Here are 3 easy ways on how you can say no, without coming across as rude whilst protecting your boundaries and building respect.
1. Be direct and avoid excuses
Yeah, but, no, but, yeah, but…
You want to say no!!
Offering an excuse may seem like the polite way to decline a request but it sets you up for an awkward situation. The problem with offering an excuse is it gives people the opportunity to change their request so that your excuse doesn’t justify your no.
See the problem?
So instead of ‘I can’t I am washing my hair’…
Try out ‘I don’t have the capacity and I am not the right person for this, have you tried reaching out to the X team?’
2. Offer suggestions as solutions
Sometimes it is easier to get the job done yourself. Or perhaps you have lived experience of doing a task, so why don’t you share your journey to help others not make the same mistakes. All great values, but don’t let that cloud your judgement.
Over the weekend Kim asked if I could help her friend with the techie bit for LinkedIn Lives, just a 15minute call. Old me would have said yes which would have added another item to my weekly to-do list, on top of my already busy schedule and I would have stressed out about finding the time, because we all know a 15 minute call with me, isn’t 15 minutes.
So I responded with:
“Best thing to do for X is to send her the links in the shared sheet for all the techie bits – and if she is still struggling / needs some help suggest to her to check out the help function – that how’s I figured it all out with the tech support. 🤓 or Contact LinkedIn directly.”
And Kim replied ‘Thank you!’ – I did’t say no, but I offered a suggestion as a solution.
✅This still helped out my friend, to help hers.
✅ I was able to share my knowledge.
✅ And I didn’t have to panic about finding the time.
3. Don’t apologise
‘I’m sorry, but no.’
Are you really #sorrynotsorry? You shouldn’t be apologising for protecting your boundaries. Sorry should be used when you really are apologetic over something that has caused someone pain or you’ve made a mistake.
You get where I am going with this…
Don’t use sorry as a filler. Because, you don’t need to apologise to say NO.
I don’t think that is part of my journey today
So before you say no, make sure you are not filling it out with a sorry or an excuse. Offer suggestions as solutions and if the person on the other side really isn’t getting the word ‘no’ then I invite you to consider whether that person is taking advantage of your good nature?
**All images are from unsplash.com