How to Master the Art of Saying "NO"

“Say No!! Come on, you can”!

If this is how your conscience talks to you at every “I-must-say-NO-to-this” situation, then go on and read the entire article. You really need to.

Saying no to someone or something is usually our most despised dilemma. As people, we feel the need to constantly make other people happy and that is why we often find it so tough to reject a proposition or a request.

Why is it so important to say no?
In these independent times, we are moving more and more towards assertion. Assertion is defined as, “A confident statement of your needs and beliefs”When you say no, you are being assertive; you stand up for yourself and your wishes. There is nothing wrong with that. If someone has the choice to ask a question, then you must reserve the right to say no to them if need be. It is only fair that way. If you say yes to everything then you become the scapegoat. Trust me! You do not want to be one of those. If you say yes half heartedly, you will be plagued with the immediate feeling of regret. Furthermore, it could lead to future problems in your interaction with this person in question. Every step you take towards doing something you don’t want to do, will give rise to feelings of displeasure and it will torment you throughout the task. These unpleasant feelings will directly affect your relationship. You might end up avoiding the person altogether and that could be the end of your associations.

There are varied situations where one might need to refuse to someone. Needless to say, all these situations will require a different method to say the big bad NO (not that bad after all). Let me introduce you to a few styles of saying No with a few examples.

1. The Firm No:
This is generally the one that authorities use. This style can be used to put across a message that, there is no more scope for discussion and this refusal is the final word. Many parents use this style to say no to their children. A superior might use it for an employee or a teacher for students. This style uses a “no further questions” tone while delivering the dialogue. Also, mostly this refusal will be done in one word - “NO”
For example:
Students: “Please may I get some leaves next week?”

Teacher: “NO”

2.The No with an Explanation:
This is my favorite and I often use this one. While using this method, you have to understand the reason of saying no, and also explain the same to the person you're saying it to. This way it is less tough on both people (asking and answering) to digest a refusal, because it is backed with a real reason. You must always use the real reason, it is important to be completely honest or else it does not sound real and you might end up hurting someone's feelings.
Also, I have found this method to be the most effective with children. Give them a good reason and they are sure to understand. This will help them to understand that mom/ dad don't just say no all the time, but only when there is a good reason for it.

For example:
When someone asks you to accompany them for shopping and you don't feel like going. Then say exactly that!
“I am sorry I won't be able to come with you because I don't feel like shopping today; maybe another day.”

3. The No with an Option:
This is more like replacing a request with a proposition. You say a no but at the same time give another suggestion, advice or an option with it. When you give a suggestion, it sends out a message that you care, and are interested in the person’s activities, but unfortunately can’t partake. Often, one refusal discourages someone to approach you another time, but this method will ensure that their trust in you remains intact. After all, you do not want to drive people away.
Let me elaborate with the same example I used above.

For example:
When someone asks you to accompany them for shopping and you don't feel like going. Say no with an option.
“I am sorry I won't be able to come with you, why don't you ask Sarah?” OR
“I am sorry I won't be able to come with you today, but we can go on Thursday instead.” OR
“I am sorry I won't be able to come with you today, I suggest you head home too, looks like it is going to rain heavily! Maybe you can reschedule another time.”
In this method, the key is to provide a backup plan to rule out the element of disappointment.

I would like to point out, that say a positive NO, be sure to stay away from a degrading/ humiliating tone of voice. Refusal is tough and it will always remain, but if you know how to tackle it well, you will be surprised how much load it takes off your shoulders!

Be assertive always! 😊


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