Advertising
Advertising

5 Ways To Say “No”

5 Ways To Say “No”

We’ve all been there. You’re facing a week of tight deadlines and back to back meetings, when someone you like asks for your last minute help on a crucial project. Whether you’re in a hurry, surprised, trying to be agreeable, or simply underestimate your current obligations, saying yes to projects we can’t complete is damaging. And no matter how much we know we need to, saying no still fails to get easier. Because delaying too long or saying no at the last minute can harm relationships and opportunities, saying no effectively is a critical skill to learn. Most of us feel guilty and anxious when forced to turn something down. It’s important to remember, however, that rejecting a request is not the same as rejecting the person. While we all feel a desire to be accepted by our peers, this desire should not overpower our decisions in life. The following five approaches will make it easier for you to confidently say no, without sacrificing good relationships. 

Wait 

A simple way to start saying no is to impose a waiting period on yourself. If you feel your life is over scheduled, force yourself to wait 6, 12, or 24 hours after being asked before committing to anything new. This way you have something to say should someone ask for your help, and you also have a minute to yourself to decide what’s really important. Saying something like, “I’m waiting to hear if a few projects are confirmed, I can let you know as soon as possible” is direct, and it will give you time to consider the project.

Advertising

Filter Commitments

The best way to say no is to narrow down which activities or commitments you are least invested in. Take into account which responsibilities you agreed to first, then pick one or two that you simply don’t have time for. Saying no at first can be challenging. But by saying no to a few things you genuinely won’t be able to fit in, it can be easier to stick to your guns. Plus, you allow yourself the time and space to complete your other commitments with one hundred percent attention. Once you have some practice considering what you don’t need or can’t include in life, it will be easier to say no right when someone asks for your help and you’re overstretched.

Advertising

Minimize Excuses

Once you have said no, minimize any excuses you might use. You are never required to have proof that you’re busy and working hard on other things. If you don’t give excuses, you leave less room for interpretation. In addition to that, you don’t give the person another chance to ask you. Be direct, and stick to your decision. If the person pushes, just say that you simply have too much on your plate, but thank them for the opportunity.

Advertising

Minimize Work Intrusions

Once you’re more comfortable saying no out of necessity, try to minimize unnecessary work commitments (if your position allows). Some meetings don’t require you to be there, and could give you an hour or two to work on other valuable projects. State firmly and directly that you are overbooked. It’s also okay to give yourself time away from emails when you’re not at work. Don’t forget that letting your boss know you’d like to get your current projects right can actually work in your favor.

Find Your Boundaries

As you use the first four steps to say no in your life, you’ll start to figure out exactly where your limits are. As you discover how many things you can comfortably juggle, you’ll be able to better define your boundaries. You should quickly be better able to recognize when you start to feel over scheduled, and it is crucial to listen to this feeling. After applying these approaches, you’ll know where your limit is, so set boundaries at those limits and stick to them. Though saying no is a challenge at first, it is worthwhile to stay the course. Saying no lets you perform at a better level, and will ultimately make you a happier person.

Featured photo credit: smlp.co.uk via flickr.com

Advertising

More by this author

Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 10 Things You Should Do If You’re Unemployed When You Start to Enjoy Being Single, These 12 Things Will Happen common words 18 Common Words That You Should Replace in Your Writing Wondering Why K Pop is So Popular? Here are 10 Reasons

Trending in Communication

1 41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About 2 The Lifehack Show Episode 3: Why Validation is Key to Lasting Relationships 3 How to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining All the Time 4 13 Simple Habits to Cultivate Self-Compassion 5 44 Self Love Quotes That Will Make You Mentally Stronger

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 15, 2019

41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

Some things in life are hard to describe, yet we can recognize them when we see them.

Love is one of those things.

True love comes in many different forms, but here are some that many of us know well.

True love means supporting those who can’t support themselves

supportive couple

    A young man comforts his date in Times Square, New York City. Image by mbtrama

    strong hug

      A young man holds his significant other close to him. Image by Brad Fults

      running help

        A young track competitor helps one of her injured opponents over the finish line. Image from ViralNova.com

        feeding kitten

          A soldier in the Korean War takes time to feed a baby kitten. Image from US Naval Insititute

          It’s having the perfect selfie partner

          mom and daughter selfie

            A mother and her daughter take a selfie together. Image by Andrew Fysh

            girlfriends

              Two young girls pose for the camera. Image by Rolands Lakis

              selfies

                A happy couple takes a picture together. Image by Kayla Heineman

                Advertising

                selfie

                  Two best friends take a selfie together. Image by Jason Wahido

                  dude selfie

                    Friends take a selfie together. Image by Glenn Scofield Williams

                    It’s all the warm fuzzies

                    12748262703_84c008f4e5_z

                      A young man spends time with his dog on a beach. Image by Magdalena Roeseler

                      DSC06952

                        A pet owner hugs his dog while on a day trip in San Francisco. Image by Taro the Shiba Inu

                        It means having a friend to photobomb you

                        photobomb

                          A boy makes a funny face as he poses for a picture with his brother. Image by Michael Bentley

                          old man photobomb

                            A man photobombs his wife while their grandson snaps a picture. Image by Frank

                            family photobomb

                              Family members photobomb their relatives’ Thanksgiving day family photo. Image by Beth Scupham

                              boyfriend photobomb

                                A friend photobombs the photographer and their friend, the woman in the foreground of this photo. Image by Lachlan Hardy

                                True love means being there even when life gets unbearably hard

                                Advertising

                                shoulder to cry on

                                  A family watches the Vermont National Guard depart for Afghanistan. Image by The U.S. Army

                                  flood dog

                                    During a monsoon in the Philippines, a boy carries his dog to safety. Image by Romeo Ranoco

                                    A woman is rescued from flood waters by a resident standing on top of her car during heavy rain in Chalandri suburb north of Athens

                                      A man helps a woman out of her vehicle during a flood in Chalandri, Greece. Image by John Kolesidis

                                      lunch

                                        A woman has lunch with her husband every day, even after he’s passed away. Image from ViralNova.com

                                        hug

                                          A woman hugs the mother of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Image by Spencer Platt

                                          rubble

                                            An Oklahoma couple pauses while trying to salvage belongings from a family member’s home after a tornado. Image by Adrees Latif

                                            sister and brother

                                              A girl puts her arm around her little brother as they wait outside of Sandy Hook Elementary after gunshots are fired. Image by Reuters.

                                              headstone

                                                A woman sits at her husband’s grave the day before their wedding anniversary. Image from NBC news

                                                It means taking the time for long goodbyes

                                                110321-N-BT887-100

                                                  A man says goodbye to his son before deploying. Image by Official U.S. Navy Page

                                                  Advertising

                                                  national guard goodbye

                                                    A South Carolina man says goodbye to his son before deploying for Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                    saying goodbye

                                                      A Sergeant hugs both of his sons before being deployed to Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                      And cherishing reunions

                                                      husband home

                                                        A woman hugs her husband as she sees him for the first time since his deployment to Iraq. Image by The U.S. Army

                                                        boyfriend home

                                                          A young  woman hugs her significant other as he returns home for Kuwait. Image by The National Guard

                                                          mother hug

                                                            A mother drops to her knees as she hugs her son on her return home from the Persian Gulf. Image by The National Guard

                                                            True love is letting yourself feel young when they’re around

                                                            elderly women

                                                              Two friends on their smartphones. Image by Robert Neff

                                                              feeling young

                                                                A young couple getting their picture taken. Image by db Photograph

                                                                sprinkler dad

                                                                  A father plays in a sprinkler with his daughter at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image by Ben Forsberg

                                                                  Advertising

                                                                  subway couple

                                                                    A young couple on a subway enjoys sharing time together, while the girlfriend’s father sneaks a photo of them. Image by Gareth Williams

                                                                    wheelchairs

                                                                      A couple holds hands on a fall day. Image by David Amsler

                                                                      It’s letting yourself be silly… just because they’ll enjoy it

                                                                      silly faces

                                                                        A grandfather makes faces at the camera with his granddaughters. Image by Tim Pierce

                                                                        vote for pedro

                                                                          A woman’s father wears a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt to make his daughter laugh. Image by emdot

                                                                          True love is allowing yourself to show how you really feel

                                                                          date night

                                                                            A young couple kisses in the back of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Image by Derek Key

                                                                            playing violin

                                                                              Violinist Nancy Dinovo plays at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Image by Christopher Morris

                                                                              True love is timeless

                                                                              old friends

                                                                                Friends spending some time together. Image by Cristian Bortes

                                                                                sitting around a fire

                                                                                  A group of friends sits around a campfire eating. Image by New Old Stock

                                                                                  elderly couple

                                                                                    An elderly couple walks down a street together. Image by Matteo Paciotti

                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Matteo Paciotti via flickr.com

                                                                                    Read Next