How to Say "No"
Hello, loves! I hope your week is going well. Only one more day til Friday! Hang in there. Today I'm going to be talking about a topic I get A LOT of questions about. I get asked all the time, “Rachel, how do you say 'no' so easily?” Well, buckle in, gal because I'm about to tell you exactly how.
There are going to be a million times in your life when you are asked to do something you are less than thrilled about, don't have the time/energy/resources to do, are being guilted into doing, or are just simply expected to do because you “always” do it. As easy as it is to fall prey to this people pleasing mentality, DO NOT DO IT. I'm telling you now that it is just as easy to let yourself off the hook. I see this happen all the time to all kinds of talented, skilled, and more importantly kind people. They do all kinds of things for free, or discount, for people because they feel obligated to, or they “don't see why not”, or they just don't realize how much time and energy it will actually take up until they get started. They're then left burnt out, underpaid, and/or under appreciated. Girl, do not let this be you. Your time, efforts, talent, skill, and kindness should not be taken advantage of, and I'm about to tell you how to protect yourself!
I follow one simple rule. Don't answer right away. Of course this can be unavoidable sometimes, but give the person asking you to do something an answer that will give you more time to think about what they're asking of you. Respond with simple phrases like, “Let me check my schedule and get back to you”, or “Do you mind if I answer you by ____ date?”. These simple sentences can change your life, I promise. Not only are you giving yourself more time to weigh your options and figure out how to say “no” to them, but you're offering them time to think about what they're really asking you. Using these sentences shows them that it will take time, energy, and enough of it for you to need time to think about whether you want to or actually can do what they're asking. If once you've given the task thought and you've decided that you can't right now, or just plain don't want to, you are able to come back to them with a definite answer that you can be confident in. I guarantee you they won't be as surprised that you're saying no than if you had said “no” to them right off the bat. It's because of that extra time you took to “mull it over” that they realized “no” was a possible answer.
Typically, when I come back to someone after this “think it over” time period, they're generally kind and understanding of my reasons for saying “no”. I typically don't give reasons unless I have to, and people tend to respect that. I'll come back with an answer that goes a little something like, “Sorry, but I'm not able to do _____ for you. I hope you understand! I know you'll find the right person. Let me know if you need help finding someone who can” or, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I'll have to sit this one out. Don't hesitate to ask me next time!” Only tell the other person to ask you again if you would be comfortable doing XY and Z next time, and only tell them things you genuinely mean! No one wants to be brushed off or feel like you're making excuses. These ways of saying “no” are genuine, to the point, and don't make excuses for the reasons you're not helping them. This also asserts that your time, energy, and schedule are to be respected. It may take a couple times, but once you've made it clear that you won't be taken advantage of, people will tend to understand and only request things that are within your realm of possibility.
Let's talk about that phrase for a minute-- “Realm of Possibility”. This is a phrase that I like to use often. There are certain things that are possible for you to do, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. For example, it is not within my realm of possibility to lift 100 lbs. It is, however, within my realm of possibility to lift 50 lbs or less. The same goes for mental and emotional tasks. If it is not within your realm of possibility to see your ex-boyfriend 4 days after breaking up, DO NOT agree to attend an event with your friend that he will be attending as well! It's as simple as that. Everyone has different levels of physical, mental, and emotional ability. You need to figure out what this is for you, and stick to it.
Stay strong, stick to what is within your realm of possibility, and let your answer speak for itself. You got this, loves! I believe in you. Until next time!