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.