Why is Saying No So Hard? When someone asks us to do something we have two choices - yes or no. It seems simple, so why is saying no so difficult?
1. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
One of the biggest hurdles to saying no is that we want to be nice. What have we given up for the sake of being nice? (Our power? Time? Energy? Money?)
I think that being nice in business is extremely important. It makes life easier, brings people together, and ultimately makes everyday living so much sunnier. But, I don't think being nice should override our good judgement.
Sometimes saying no will hurt another person's feelings. Sometimes it will make people mad. But, is saying no of sound judgement on your part? Will it help your business grow? Protect your time? Make you stronger? Keep you sane? Then maybe saying no is the best decision in the long run.
2. We don't want to be perceived as a jerk.
Again, when we are asked to do something we technically have two choices - we can say yes or no. If we exercise the no option, though, will we be perceived as a jerk? In that case, was it a choice in the first place?
Part of this is recognizing when someone is asking us to do something versus telling us to do something. When saying no is not an option it is not a question - it's a direct order. It is just framed as a question to make it more palatable.
For example, if your boss says, "Can you stay an extra hour to work on the project?" it really isn't a question. Your boss is saying, "You need to stay an extra hour to work on the project." It was just asked in a polite manner.
When we are asked a question that has a yes or no option - for real - it's okay to say no. You can give an explanation if you would like. Or, you can just be upbeat and say no and have that be that.
3. We haven't practiced saying no.
One of the biggest obstacles to saying no is that we haven't practiced saying it. The more we say no the easier it gets. (This may come with age, too. I find that it's much easier to say no in my 30's then it was in my 20's!)
A half step to saying no is to say,"Can I get back to you on that?" This statement buys us some time and gives us a chance to think.
I think saying no is best when we are practicing healthy boundaries. It is problematic when we are saying no out of fear or not wanting to grow. (I'm going to talk about saying yes later on in the week!) I'm still trying to find that line, and sometimes I get it wrong. But, I am giving it a shot!
When was the last time you said yes but really wanted to say no? What happened?