Have trouble saying "no"? Have trouble sticking to your "no"? As a recovering "nice" person, I completely understand, empathize and get it. If you are good at a firm, respectful, loving, "No." please take this extra time and watch . . . . Sisters, or if you are in more of PG13 kind of mood, enjoy Between Two Ferns (caution - do not click if you are short on time, you WILL go down a rabbit hole of hilarity)
Here's what I've learned. . . .
1. You don't need NO explanation for your "no". The buffer before the "no", and the run on sentences after the "no", are thinly veiled ways that us nice people are trying to control the person/situation. I have come to realize that trying to control others is really not that nice. Each of us is entitled to our own feelings and interpretations. That includes the person we are saying, "no" to.
2. We pay the piper somewhere along the way. We might look bad in the person's eye who we are delivering the "no" to, and that is better then losing our integrity or doing something we really don't have time for. If we overcommit because we are afraid to say "no", we may have pleased the PTA President, but our kids will have to endure our short temper as we deal with school auction overwhelm.
3. Silence is not, "no". Guys, when we don't answer it's rude AND not avoiding the conflict. It's moving the conflict underground - which means there is still conflict. That said, you don't have to say no right away, acknowledge the request and tell the requester when you'll get back to them. "I got your request, I'm going to consider it for a few days and get back to you."
4. We might be allergic to "no" because we are devastated when someone says, "no" to us. We assume everyone feels the way we feel. We might change our relationship to "no" if we practice receiving some solid "no's" and see that we can, in fact, get on with our day.
5. Come up with phrases ahead of time and practice them. "I'm so glad you asked, I'm not available right now to help." "For this season, I can't take on anymore volunteer work, and I'm happy to come to your event." "I am booked that day." No, thank you."
5. Perhaps we want to control strong emotions? We avoid saying, "no" to our kids because we are afraid they will blow up, cry, rebel, retaliate, negotiate. Yo! The sooner those kids get used to "no", the more options they will have. Watch this short Wendy Mogel video for some inspiration and practical language.
"No" is a part of life. Let's makes sure we have a healthy relationship to saying and receiving the inevitable "no" in our life.