The Art of Saying No


Time to fall in love with the name no. Your boundaries depend on it. As the saying goes, “Just say no.” Sounds so easy ?! No – one word, two letters, and a complete sentence. People repeat this phrase far and wide, which means it can be said with complete freedom. Many write columns for advice and posts on social media at borders and guess… reading “no” is at the top of the list of how to manage boundaries. I also wrote an article about the limitations and included the same guide, but the fact is that simple advice is almost always easier said than done.

Let’s separate. When you say “yes” to someone else’s request, your time, energy, resources, etc. Now you have donated to someone or something. While the applicant is exempt from his or her wishes, he or she is barred. As life is constantly changing, there will always be someone or something that needs your time. Therefore, in order to remain true to your aspirations, dreams and goals, points will come at a time when you will need to say no. The challenge in choosing the right one is that it is almost always met with a host of questions – to put you in the corner of the definition. The irony is that no is a complete sentence and the fact that no does not need an explanation.


One of the first questions a person might ask after receiving a “no” is “why?” Why not help them? Why would you reject them? This is usually the time when emotions come in as you are removed from the accusation questions. You start to question whether you like it or not and whether you should say no. Now you are defending yourself, you feel compelled to forgive and explain your answer, knowing that inside is the best thing for you.

“If you say yes to others, make sure you don’t say it yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

You are trying to walk a fine line of acceptable behavior for change, trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings and seeming to be unloving. However, the truth is this – no it doesn’t have to be a conversation. It would be a decision. How you choose to get involved after saying no determines what category “no” falls into.

To strengthen your resolve to remain faithful to your “no”, consider the following steps:


Remind yourself that he is not talking about you. The interviewer is looking to transfer responsibility to you instead of accepting an answer that contradicts what they were looking for. At the end of the day – both parties are facing their own decisions – and the decisions have never been confirmed.
The first “no” is the hardest no. When you start drawing boundaries and telling people no, they will naturally be caught unawares. After all, they are accustomed to you being a “yes” person. Give them the grace to see and accept your new orderly position which includes rejecting things. While you may be concerned that this might affect your relationship with them, history has shown that boundaries are essential in building respect. So instead, this can strengthen your relationship.
Prepare for the shooting range of questions. If you say no, then it is best to assume that your no will be questioned. Remember that there is no reason to be emotionally drained. Don’t just hear someone else come out and let them know that you have considered their request carefully but that was a healthy decision for you. Time. Don’t get caught up in the long explanation. Remember – it’s not negotiation.
In short, your goals are to fit into a space that requires the use of “no” from time to time. You can’t do it for everyone and then expect to have enough time to dedicate yourself to your goals. You need to be strong and focused on pursuing your life. So you need to make sure your strengths are moving forward and aligned with your vision, not hanging on to bringing someone else’s perspective to life.




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