Throughout my 25+ years of public speaking and training, there is one question that I get asked more than any other. That question is “How do I say No?” Why do we have trouble with this? When we were children, we didn’t have a problem with it. It is only as we have grown older that we can’t seem to bring ourselves to say no to others. Often it’s because we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings by refusing to fulfill his or her request.
But what about you? Consider this, when you say “No” to something you don’t want to do, you are saying “Yes” to yourself. It is important to take care of yourself first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.
So, just say “No.” Don’t offer some long explanation. Just say, “Sorry, I can’t.” or “I already have a commitment that day.” You don’t have to make excuses. If your commitment is to yourself, it is still a commitment and these are the ones most often broken. Break enough commitments to yourself and your self-esteem will suffer.
You can also say No, by explaining that it is a rule. For example, “We have a rule in our house that we do not loan out our cars.” Or “I have a policy of never lending money.” This makes your “No” seem less personal. It is a rule that applies to everyone, not just to the person asking.
Also, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with delaying your answer. You can say, “I will consider your offer and get back to you.” This will give you time to figure out the best way to say “No.”
Remember, the more you say “No” to things you don’t want to do, the more time you will have to do the things you really want to do and that will make your life much happier in the long run.
Judi Moreo is the author of the award winning book, “You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power” as well as its companion, Achievement Journal. She is a Certified Speaking Professional who has spoken in 28 countries around the world. Less than 10% of the speakers in the world hold this highly respected earned designation. To contact Judi or book her for a speaking engagement, contact Turning Point International, (702) 896-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org .