No Means No

Picture this: you’ve just been asked to take part in a project, that you really couldn’t get involved in right now. You’ve looked at your schedule, and you really don’t have the time, or maybe even the inclination and so you’ve said, ‘no.’ That’s it, end of the story, right?

Sadly, that’s not always the case. We’ve all been there, in the situation where you’ve given your answer, and the person you’re talking to has taken that to mean you need to be convinced. So they ask again. And again. Chances are they might have even worn you down to where finally you’ve said ‘yes’ just out of self-defense. What can you do?

The trick is to make your ‘no’ mean ‘NO’ the first time you asked. How?

Practice. Body language and tone of voice is important when letting someone down. The first step is to be aware of how you present yourself. Are your lips saying ‘no’ but the rest of you waffling off into an attitude that says you can be worn down?

  •  Start with good posture.You want confident without overbearing. Stand up straight, square your shoulders, look the speaker in the eye and say, “No.”

  • How was your tone of voice?Did the word come out weak and sounding something like a question? You want to speak firmly, without shouting. Sound like you mean it.

  •  What words did you use?If you started with an apology, you’re already taking a weaker stance. There are no apologies necessary, just say ‘no.’ End of story.

  •  Mind your manners.Just because you’re saying, ‘no’ doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it. Thank the person for asking you. You might even find something nice to say about the project. For example, you might say, “That sounds really interesting. I really can’t, but thank you so much for ask

  • But be sincere.Nothing rings false more than fake flattery. It might be you have no interest in their project at all. In this case,it’s better to go with the adage we were raised on – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Here a simple, “No thank you.” will suffice.

  • Don’t lie.There’s nothing worse than finding out the person you asked who told you there were out of town that weekend, was actually home all along. Don’t be that person. Honesty really is the best policy.

    Above all – be true to yourself. Know what you want. Know your limitations. If it’s in your best interest to say ‘no’ to something, the rest should just fall into place. Guard your timeand your commitments. There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ when you need to. If you know that much, your own self-confidence will carry you through, and the rest of the world will likewise respect your decisions.






Creating New Expectations When Saying No

Because every relationship has its challenges, sometimes the scariest thing you can do is say ‘no’ to someone you love. A whole host of scenarios run through your head. What if by saying ‘no,’you break the friendship somehow? What if the other person doesn’t understand, or even gets mad at you? What if, by saying no now, they never ask you for anything again?  

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. A solid relationship that’s healthy has plenty of room for ‘no.’ It all starts with setting up new expectations.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

1. When you say ‘no’ from a position of confidence and assurance, you’re allowing others to see that you’re taking care of yourself. More than that, if you’re saying ‘no’ without guilt, then they won’t feel bad for asking. It shows you respect the person doing the asking, and that you respect yourself. 

2. When your friends see you saying ‘no’ without guilt, you’re teaching them that they likewise don’t have to experience feelings of guilt when they want to say ‘no’ to something. You’d be amazed at how often we look to others for permission to feel good about ourselves. Think abouthow empowering this is for both you and them.

3. They’ll know that when you finally do agree to something, that you actually mean it. That you’re not there because of some feeling of obligation or as the result of a guilt trip. This leads to more mutual trust all the way around.

4. By saying ‘no’ you won’t get caught up in that resentment loop that happens when you say ‘yes’ to things you really don’t want to do. This keeps the relationship healthy, with good feelings all around.

5. People will see that when you say ‘no’ with grace, that you care about the relationship enough to be honest about your time, your interests, your ability, and your commitments. 

The trick to all of this is really no trick at all. It’s about treating others the way you’d want to be treated. After all, the last thing you want is for your friends and relatives to be saying ‘yes’ to your every idea, especially if doing so is going to lead to bad feelings further down the line. 

Show people respect, andthey’ll show you respect in return. It’s a pretty basic premisebut still holds true today. Sometimes, saying ‘no’ is the best way to show someone that you care and that they matter.



Saying No to Family and Friends Who Want to Borrow Money

You get it. The economy is terrible, and life happens. An unexpected medical billor accident can absolutely demolish your savings and leave you scrambling to make ends meet. You see your friends and family struggling to get by, and you want to help. But there’s only so much you can do before you jeopardize your own financial security. And honestly, you might just not be in a position to help. What do you do?

There is nothing harder than having to say ‘no’ to friends and family – especially when they’re in financial trouble and are hoping that you can bail them out. How can you say ‘no’ gracefully, and still maintain the relationship?

1. Start with a whole lot of understanding.Empathy means that you put yourself in their shoes. So even if you start by saying no to their request for money   – you can still offer ways you can help. Maybe you can brainstorm solutions. Or at the very least offer a shoulder to lean on and a sympathetic ear.

The bottom line? Understanding doesn’t cost a cent and strengthens the relationship in the long run.

2. Remind them you have bills to pay as well.Not everyone understands that while you might look like you’re doing OK financially, you still have bills to pay and plans for your own money. There’s nothing wrong with expressing that you have your own financial obligations when you say no to someone else’s.

3. Offer a little free advice.It could be that you have a great system for budgetingor a headfor numbers that your friend doesn’t. Instead of saying ‘yes’ to a loan, help your friend to think more long-term by helping them to create a financial plan that will get them back on their feet. 

4. What about some research?Rather than say ‘yes’ to cash, offer some internet time instead. Help your friend to find alternative resources. There’s an endless offering of classes, workshops, and resources out there to put people on the path to financial security.  

5. Expect that it’s not going to be easy.Saying ‘no’ to someone in need is going to inspire some feelings of guilt, and even helplessness. But remember that you’re saying ‘no’ to protect your own financial security. You’re of no help to anyone if you wind up hurting yourself to save them. Stay firm in your convictions.

Saying ‘no’ doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship. Always remember to answer with kindness, honesty, andintegrity. If you’re making an offer to help in other ways, do so with sincerity. Don’t patronize or demean, it took a lot of courage to ask, but being able to say ‘no’ enables them to ask. Your compassion will be recognized, as will your right to say ‘no.’



Strategies for Saying No to Pushy People

There’s always someone who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. How you handle pushy people is the difference between keeping your sanity or becoming so hopelessly overbooked that you no longer can tell which end is up. What follows are some tips for managing even the pushiest of individuals.


1. Be firm. Then continue being firm, as many times as necessary. If the person you’re talking to keeps pushing, then change the subject. Or better yet, walk away. 

2. Buy some time. Rather than say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ right away, say that you need some space to consider the matter. Then take the time you need to make an informed decision. The best part? By taking the time to think about things on your own, you’re not being pressured by a sales pitch or an urgency to decide. This puts the control back where it belongs – in your hands.

3. When saying ‘no’ to one thing, find something you can say ‘yes’ to. Find an alternative perhaps to what you’re being asked to do, something with less of a commitment that interests you. 

And when all else fails? Remember the rules to saying ‘no’ and then stick to them:

  • Hold the course– If you’re not firm in your answer, you can’t be expected to be taken seriously. A confident tone is all the difference between having your answer accepted for what it is, and in being pressured to change your mind.

  •  Be clear in what you mean. Here’s where you need to watch your language. Saying things the wrong way can lead to confusionor even the thought that you intend to revisit the decision when what you mean is a solid ‘no.’

  •  Don’t offer excuses.When you spend time apologizing or giving lengthy reasons as to why you can’t do something, the person who asked might feel like you’re offering an opening to further arguments. Keep your words brief. You really don’t have to say anything more than a simple ‘no’ – long explanations not necessary. 

  •  Prioritize.  Take a hard look at how you’re spending your time and decide if what you’re being asked to do is how you wish to be spending it. Then convey this – clearly – that you do not have room in your schedule for something new.

  •  Learn how to set boundaries.It might be that if you’re still having trouble saying ‘no’ it’s because you need to do some work on your own personal boundaries. Resolving this will take planned effort and dedication. In some cases, talking to a counselor might be necessary to guide you on your journey to saying ‘no.’ Do not be afraid to ask for help!

  • Pushy people don’t have to rule your life. Remember, saying ‘no’ gets easier with practice, so don’t beat yourself up if you falter along the way. Keep at it, andin no time at all, even the pushiest of people won’t be able to convince you to do something you have no desire to do.

Stress Relief and Saying No

Stress has become the byword in the medical community, taking the blame for everything from obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and a hundred other conditions. So anytime we can reduce stress it’s a good thing. 

Believe it or not, the easiest way to remove stress from your life lies in the ability to say one simple word: “No.”

How do you know when to say ‘no’?

1. Ask yourself first what value saying ‘yes’ holds for you.Chances are saying ‘yes’ is going to involve a commitment of some kind. How would saying ‘yes’ affect other commitments? By saying ‘yes’ now are you going to have to say ‘no’ to something else later? Is this important enough foryou to turn down something else? What will you gain by saying ‘yes’? What would you lose? A careful examination of your life will tell you if this is worthwhile or not. 

  • A ‘yes’ should enhance your happiness OR

  • A ‘yes’ should advance your career OR

  • A ‘yes should have a positive impact on something you believe deeply

Anything else and you need to ask yourself very seriously just why you’re saying ‘yes.’A yes without value is guaranteed to cause you stress.  

2. Ask yourself what ‘yes’ is going to do to your current stress levels.By saying yes are you going to increase those stress levels? If so, by how much? 

Stress is inherent in life. Chances are taking on any new project is going to cause at least a little bit of stress. But there’s a big difference between the anxiety of a minor deadline and a nervous breakdown because you’ve taken on the project that no one else is taking seriously or is working on at all. 

If you can’t live with the added stress, then it’s definitelytime to say ‘no.’

3. Feeling guilty about this decision?If so, head for the hills. Anytime you agree to something out of guilt, you’ve got stress in spades. And it’s only going to get worse. Definitely take a pass – and then tell any residual guilt to get lost. It’s not your problem.

4. Give it time.If you’re not sure about saying ‘yes,’then tell the person asking that you want to sleep on it. By giving yourself extra time,you can consider very seriously the pros and cons of saying ‘yes’ – and also try to get a handle on just how much stress you’d be adding into your life by agreeing. Time gives distance, which gives a clearer view of a situationand makes it easier to say ‘no’ if it isn’t going to work out. 

The takeaway from all this? Too much stress in your life already means it’s time to look for some opportunities to say ‘no’ – even to things you’ve previously said ‘yes’ to. You know yourself better than anyone else will. Protect your peace of mind – and your health – by learning when and how to say ‘no.’