To learn to say no, we have to first understand what we are resisting about it. Below are common reasons why people find it hard to say no:
You want to help. You are a kind soul at heart. You don't want to turn the person away and you want to help where possible, even if it may eat into your time.
Afraid of being rude. I was brought up under the notion that saying no, especially to people who are more senior, is rude. This thinking is common in Asian culture, where face-saving is important.
Wanting to be agreeable. You don't want to alienate yourself from the group because you're not in agreement. So you conform to others' ideas.
Fear of conflict. You are afraid the person might be angry if you reject him/her. This might lead to an ugly confrontation. Even if there isn't, there might be dissent created which might lead to negative consequences in the future.
Not burning bridges. Some people take “no” as a sign of rejection. It might lead to bridges being burned and relationships severed.
If you nodded to any of these reasons, I'm with you. But these are all false beliefs in our mind. It's about how you say no, rather than the fact you're saying no, that affects the outcome. After all, you have your own priorities and needs, just like everyone has his/her own needs. Saying no is about respecting and valuing your time and space. Saying no is your prerogative.
Seven Simple Ways to Say “No”
Rather than avoid it altogether, it's all about learning the right way to say no. It's really not as bad as you think. Other people are very understanding and don't put up any resistance. Really, the fears of saying no are just in our mind. Here are seven simple ways for you to say no. Use the method that best meets your needs in the situation.