Do you find it difficult to say “no” even when you feel that you should not be agreeing to something? Happens with all of us. The dilemma that we might lose a friend or damage a relationship by using the word ‘no’ has haunted all of us.
Every day we come across many situations where we would want to simply say ‘no’ but end up saying ‘yes’. We all have that one friend or relative or someone else who might be a delight to be with but they would refuse to take no for an answer. These friends/relatives can be borrowers, planners or the non-doers (This is the worst kind) who just show up to unintentionally force their plans or needs on you. Especially in Indian households where you live with your in-laws, where there are a whole lot of expectations from you.
The thing is you don’t dislike them and you definitely don’t want to damage relationships. So even when you want to say no, it gets really tough because there is guilt attached to it. Also, when you seem to be person who is dependable and helpful, saying no to a close one means unbecoming of you and therefore you end up agreeing.
Social Psychologist, Susan Newman in her book, No: 250 Ways to Say It – and Mean it and Stop People Pleasing Forever stated, ‘Agreeing too often leads to overwork, to being overwhelmed, and to exhaustion.’
Point is, every time we say ‘yes’ when we actually wanted to say ‘no’ we start getting angry at ourselves and slowly start resenting the relationship that is based on constantly asking for favours. The result is that you are left with little or no time for those with whom you really want to be or who genuinely need your attention and help.
This is when you need to realize that saying no to a loved one sometimes does not mean the end of your relationship.
Women often believe that saying no would slowly mean that they would be left out of the social circle, be it friends or relatives, and slowly everyone will share an untrue opinion that they are lazy or inconsiderate.
It is important to keep reminding yourself these things:
· Begin with a Positive Statement: Share with them that You truly value their affection and love spending time with them. Then gently share the situation, for example, work is really hectic these days and you need some time to work things out.
· Mean it if you promise: If you make a promise like, you would definitely go out once you are done with your work, mean it. Don’t postpone to later forget. Plan honestly and share the same with your friend. At the same time don’t leave room for the person to keep pressuring you.
· Be Polite: Don’t forget that these are your loved ones you are dealing with. Say, ‘Thank you for asking but this time, I will have to say no as I have some prior engagements.’ Or ‘I know it is important but I have work that I have already committed to finishing’ or ‘I am really tired and need some time for myself to relax.’
· No Apologies: You don’t need to apologize as you haven’t done anything wrong.
· Don’t Lie: Don’t tell a lie because if you get caught that breaks the trust and you definitely don’t want that. Plus it would put unnecessary pressure on you to keep up with the lie.
Remember if someone really values your relationship with them, he/she will definitely understand your situation and won’t mind postponing or giving you space.