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How to Say “No” Without Coming Off Like a Jerk

Blog, Growth, Relationships

November 10, 2015

Do you have a hard time saying “No” when people ask something of you? Do you wish that it were easier to say “No” to people?

Think you’re the only one who gets irritated when someone asks something of you and you feel compelled to say, “Yes”.

Please know that you’re not the only one who feels this way. Once you get a better understanding of why you did this you will have an easier time saying “No”.

Top 3 reasons why you struggle with saying “No”

1. Fearful of how others will react

What will people say about me? Will they think I’m being selfish or mean? You don’t want to feel “guilty” for not helping out.

If your too concerned over judgment from others or how someone will perceive you then you will want to start by asking yourself the following question. “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I say No?”

How likely is it that the other person will tell you how selfish you are? Or that you should feel guilty for not helping out. More than likely there is very little chance this will happen. If it does, oh well, you’ll work through it with the confidence that you did what was right for you.

If you continue to give this amount of weight to what others say or think about you then you will continue to be locked in unhappiness, but at least you were nice to them.

2. It’s easier to be passive or passive aggressive

It doesn’t take much work to avoid saying “No”. Saying, “Yes” to everything is easy…at least until you realize that your exhausted and irritated. Being passive would be saying “Yes” to a request and then feeling resentful or angry at the person for asking.

Being passive aggressive would be saying “Yes” to a request but then gossiping about the person, rolling your eyes when they turn around, or thinking of a way to make them pay for asking your help. It would be much harder to be assertive, by saying “No” and give a reason or not, you have the option. Most people don’t realize this that there is an option.

If you risk being assertive, you actually have a chance at achieving happiness or increased self-esteem.

3. You get something out of being frustrated, mad, or however you feel after you say “Yes, Yes, Yes”

Sounds ridiculous right? Some people are comfortable being uncomfortable, so avoiding change is the easier route. So what are you actually getting out of being a “Yes” person?

In your mind your getting the satisfaction that your being nice and not feeling guilty. Ask yourself…If I’m not getting something out of this why am I doing it?

How to say “No” to those who make request of your time or are too needy? When did we as a society make the word “No” such a bad thing?

Think about it, we are suppose to be wiling and able to help others. Also to avoid at all cost anything that looks like narcissism, having a big ego, or focusing on yourself.

Asserting yourself and what you are willing or not willing to do has nothing to do with being self-centered. It has everything to do with being honest with you. If you can’t be honest with yourself who can you truly be honest with?

Try these 3 ways to say “No”

1. Stop and think quickly

You will likely want to stop and think if you want to say “No”. Many people automatically say “Yes” to people without fully thinking about it. Maybe you feel pressured to give an answer when asked a question. One option is to say, “Let me think about it” or “I will need to check my calendar and get back to you.”

2. If you have an idea of what they may ask be ready ahead of time

Sometimes you may expect or anticipate that you may be asked for something. For example, if you expect that you will be asked to volunteer at an event that you don’t want to attend. If you know that you don’t want to do something, go ahead and say “No, I’m not able to, but thanks for asking” or “No, I don’t have the ability to make that happen.”

When being direct and to the point you may be surprised at the reaction you get. You will likely hear one of these responses, but keep in mind this isn’t an extensive list because people are very creative when they want something.

  • Okay no problem.
  • They will ask again in hope they can change your mind.
  • They plead with you and try to force you to say “Yes”.

Just remember to be firm and clear because you have the right to say “No”.

3. Say “No” and a follow up

After saying “No” to the person, try a good follow up. Here are a few examples:

  • “No, I can’t pick the kids up that day from school, but maybe I can pick them up the next time.”
  • “No, I can’t make it to company party, but I would be happy to stay later that day to help set up.”
  • “No, we can’t make it to your dinner party, but maybe we can plan another time to get together.“

There are very few if any benefits to being a people pleaser and learning to say “No” when you don’t want to do something can be a huge self-confidence boost. Do you have any examples of when it felt good to say “No”? Feel free to share any that you think would be helpful for others to know in the comment section below.

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A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.

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