In honor of the holiday season that’s now upon us , I’d like to share with you some tips for saying No from the upcoming Personal Boundaries for Dummies manuscript.*
Despite being one of the shortest words in the English language, the word no has the power to strike terror in the hearts of many!
If you were taught to be kind, to avoid hurting other people’s feelings, you’re a recovering people-pleaser, or you grew up in the Deep South of the United States (like I did), you’ve had your share of struggles with the word no.
I don’t want to mislead you by telling you that your improved boundaries skills will make saying no easy and fun from this point forward. But I’m happy to report that there are ways to make saying no easier. And when it’s easier to say no, you’ll feel more at ease and you’ll spend less time doing things you don’t want to do.
Here are 5 tips to help make saying No easier:
“I can’t” is a complete sentence, and is a perfectly legitimate way to say no.
If you want to soften it a bit you can say, “I’m sorry, I can’t.” Just be sure that saying you’re sorry is an honest statement for you.
When you say, “I can’t make it, I’ve got a commitment,” your commitment may be to do nothing, and that’s a real commitment!
You don’t need to have a commitment to take your grandmother to the emergency room to use the word commitment.
It’s okay not to give a reason for saying no.
For example, it’s fine to say, “I can’t loan you my pickup truck.” You don’t need to give a reason. If the other person asks for a reason, you can say, “I just can’t.” You can repeat this answer as many times as the other person is bold (or dim) enough to keep asking.
While it’s optimal to deliver a no using the same channel through which you received the request (for example, responding to a phone call with a phone call), it’s not a nonnegotiable rule written on ancient stone tablets.
If you’re struggling to say no, identify the easiest possible method to deliver your answer. For example, if someone asked you to do something by phone but you can’t imagine having the courage to deliver a no by phone, then send an email. Or if you got a request by email, you could deliver the no by text. Whatever gets the job done is the way to go.
Avoid giving specific reasons for saying no, especially if they’re not directly related to facts about yourself or what’s in your control.
For example, it’s better to say, “I can’t come to the Tupperware party, I’ve got another commitment,” or “I can’t come to the concert, I have the flu,” than to say, “I can’t come to the Tupperware party, I don’t have a babysitter.”
If the person hosting the Tupperware party has a teenager who they’re eager to volunteer to babysit your child, you’ll be confronted with another potential no to deliver. In other words, when you give reasons that have potential answers or solutions, or are easy to debate or argue about, the likelihood of having your no challenged increases.
The more comfortable you get with saying no, the easier it gets and the freer you’ll free. I imagine there may be a few Nos you’d like to say this holiday season,
*I hope you enjoyed this insider’s sneak peek excerpt from my second book, Personal Boundaries for Dummies, coming to you May 2024!
If you have some Nos you need to deliver, experiment with these tips and let me know in the comments how it goes for you.
©️ Victoria Priya (2023)
I want to support you to Return to the authentic truth of who you are, Reclaim what is yours, and Receive everything that is meant for you. So that you can Regenerate your life, your relationships, community, and the world.
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