How to say no gracefully - The Brave-Hearted

Learning to say no it’s important to make sure that your boundaries are respected and that you don’t waste time and energy in activities – or with people – that don’t matter to you. With this exercise, you’ll learn how to do it in 4 steps.

In the last post I wrote about setting healthy boundaries, and in order to set boundaries, you need to learn how to say no and to feel good about it. Because if you feel guilty, it’s a lot more difficult to say no.

Choose one situation to start with. Maybe not a challenging one yet, like saying no to your boss or your mother.

STEP ONE: BE GRATEFUL 

Somebody asks you – or offers you – something. When they ask, they know their request can be rejected. So you want to be grateful and kind during this process. It’s important that you thank the person and recognise the value of the offer. For instance, you could say something like: “Thank you for thinking about me. It’s a very interesting project and I think it’s great that you are involved in it. I am really grateful for your invitation to join and recognising my abilities to bring something to it”.

STEP TWO: REFUSE THE REQUEST OR OFFER 

It’s important that you take a stand and say something like: “Unfortunately, I can’t do that”. Remember that you have the right to refuse and it’s vital that you stay firm with your decision. Take a deep breath and say it. The more you practice it with things or people that don’t scare you that much, the easier it will be when a more complicated situation occurs.

STEP THREE: STATE ONE REASON

Saying the reason of your refusal it’s always a risk, especially if you’re faced with a manipulative person who doesn’t want to accept a no – or may take it personally. Generally speaking, these are difficult people to deal with because when they ask something they aren’t really asking. So if that’s the case and you value that it’s better to give a reason, state your reason. This will transfer the fault to an external obstacle. But don’t give too many details. Remember that you don’t need to involve the other in your choices and you don’t want to give them the chance to put more pressure on you.

Don’t justify yourself and don’t feel guilty. If you’re faced with a person who insists, stay firm on the fact that you can’t do it. Your mind is made up and you are not going to change it.

STEP FOUR: OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE

The person who’s asking you something has a need. It’s important that you try to be helpful anyway and show the person that you care about their issue. You can suggest another solution, another person or another moment. It’s up to you.

Practise this technique and you’ll see the results!

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