1. Learning to sit with the guilt that arises. If saying “no” is new to you, you need to get comfortable with the idea that you’re going to feel guilty at first. But it’s about feeling the guilt and saying no anyway. When the guilt comes, just gently acknowledge it as it is, and move on with whatever you’re doing.
2. Take the pressure off. It can help to remind yourself that we tend to overestimate the negative reaction we’ll receive when we say no. These perceptions are ultimately misconceptions. More likely you will find that people are actually grateful for your clarity and honesty. And if they’re not prepared to respect your boundaries, then they’re not worth our time and energy anyway.
3. Understand is that showing up for your priorities doesn’t make you rude, inconsiderate or a bad person. It will earn you respect from them as well as yourself. While saying “no,” you can simultaneously set boundaries and be generous. Try to help the person who approached you by offering an alternative or help at a later date.
4. Get clear on get clear about your priorities, time and energy. This will help you look at the request objectively and reply in a positive way. It also creates space to ask for what you want and express what you need.
5. Use a calm but assertive voice for saying no. Give your full attention to the person, be respectful and speak with compassion.
6. Be sure and confident about your reply. Say yes to things that you’re convinced about and commit within your capacity. If you said no, remember why you said no, stick with it, don’t over explain. Keeping it short and simple will make it easier. You don’t owe anyone anything. Honor yourself.
7. Be ok with missing out on certain things. We all say "yes" for fear of being left out. However, be sure to think things through before over-committing. Revisit your priorities, your energy and evaluate how this experience will benefit your life. If it’s not worth it, let it go.
8. Be aware that learning to say no takes practice. Saying no can cause anxiety and awkwardness and so your brain tries to switch back to the short-term comfort of saying yes. Keep practicing if you want to make saying no skill a part of your personality. With each breath commit to doing a little less of what you don’t want to do and a little more of what you do want to do.
Below are some ideas for saying “no” with respect and authenticity:
“Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. How about we reconnect at X time?”·
“I won’t be able to come this time”.
“That sounds great but I’m busy”.
"Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.”
“I won’t be answering emails outside working hours”.
“Thank you for thinking of me but this one isn’t for me”.
“I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?”
“I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”
So what makes you say yes when all you want to do is say no? Let’s take this conversation to the comments section below because I would love to know how you handle these things.