Say “No” Without Saying “No”
Use expressions like, “I can’t do it” or “this doesn’t work for me.” or “I don’t have time.” or “I’ve got a full plate.” Create pat answers. Flattery can temper refusals. Say you think highly of the person but you’re overextended. Tell a neighbor you enjoy talking with her but it’s not a good time for you to organize a block party. If it’s more comfortable at first, create excuses. Little white lies ease you into it. Someone calls for a lift—you just washed your hair. Can you come watch her kids? You’re writing a report. Survival excuses allow you to bow out nicely. Consistent, reasonable excuses get folks out of the habit of always expecting your help.
I may not be liked by as many people since I started saying “no,” but I’m a lot more respected, and a lot happier with the people in my world who like me for me, not for what I do for them. It’s nice to say “no” to what you don’t want to do. As long as you treat people with courtesy, nice people have the right to say “no,” sans guilt.