Learning to say no is a very important skill that is somewhat over looked in everyday life. The conventional habits of conversation usually end with an apology after the word “no”. It goes something like this: “Will you come to the movies with us tonight?” Subject: “I’m sorry, I have to do a ton of homework, maybe next time”. What is that shi’t? The problem is people take the word “no” personally. Let’s take the same scenario and flip it: “Will you come to the movies with us tonight?” Subject: “No”. Now wasn’t that easier? Why is it so hard for people to outright say “no”?
- Simply answering “no” without an explanation can get people very curious
- Learning to say no makes communication between people easier and more clear
- You don’t owe anyone an explanation of your disagreement or dismissal
- Some people may take “no” as a personal rejection
- Struggling with your own inconvenience because you’re afraid to say “no” is ineffective
“We must teach our girls that if they speak their mind, they can create the world they want to see.”
― Robyn Silverman
Learning to say No
People may think a passive individual is cute and heart warming, but more than anything, people respect honest, assertive individuals. To most passive people, assertiveness is mistaken as aggression. No one likes an aggressive person and it’s easy to disrespect or press a passive person. Being assertive falls right in the middle.
What’s the best way to be assertive? Learning to say no. Disagreeing with someone can sometimes seem personal to certain people. People may be upset at you for rejecting them or disagreeing with them, but they’ll always respect you at the end. What’s the best way to learn to say “no”? Well, it’s as easy as using it in situations that call for it. A bum asks you for money and you don’t want to give him: “Can you spare some change?” you: “No” instead of ignoring them or feeding them bullshi’t like “I’m sorry, I don’t have any change”.
When Saying “no” Goes Wrong
Like I said earlier, some people may get offended when you say “no”. They feel rejected as a person and take it personally. The simple solution is to move on and let them get over it. It’s not your fault and it isn’t theirs. Example: “Hey Matt, do you want to go to the arcades with me and Todd?” Matt: “No” Friends: “Why not?!” Matt: “Guys, there’s no reason for me to go into this any further, my answer is no and I’d like you to respect that”.
Situations like that may arise because Matt’s friends may feel rejected and get offended. Maybe Matt didn’t feel like going or maybe Matt has to go somewhere. Does he really owe them an explanation? An explanation would be NOTHING and only be a negative. When people want to know why, it’s usually because they want to size themselves up to your decision. Again, it’s personal and shouldn’t be.
“Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.”
― Benjamin Jowett
Why Saying “no” is so Important
Learning to say no may feel like an aggressive behavior to some people and make them feel uncomfortable in saying it. The importance of saying no is simplicity and assertiveness. Being simple means being effective. Being assertive means clear communication. Most people aren’t as sensitive as we think they are. And if you run into people who are, don’t sweat it, you can’t make everyone happy.
The fact of the matter is respect is key here. The more people that respect you, the easier it is to bridge communication.
Learning to say no can be practiced by taking baby steps first. Instead of this passive “no thanks” bullshi’t, learn to shorten it by saying “no”. Being able to voice what you want to get across clearly is why learning to say “no” is the foundation of assertiveness. Remember, this is about being assertive, not aggressive. No one likes an asshole that insults them. So long as it doesn’t get personal and you’re not projecting at the person, you’re clear of any blame. Babying people is bullshi’t and no one deserves that.
Be upfront with people and don’t get sucked into meaningless, passive behavior. Be simple, clear and people will respect you for being clear and honest.
I’ll leave you off with the Assertiveness Bill of Rights!
A BILL OF ASSERTIVE RIGHTS
I: You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
II: You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.
III: You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
IV: You have the right to change your mind.
V: You have the right to make mistakes—and be responsible for them.
VI: You have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
VII: You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
VIII: You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
IX: You have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
X: You have the right to say, “I don’t care.”
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO, WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY”
― Manuel J. Smith