I hate telling people “No” because I want people to like me. But sometimes saying “No” will help them like you more, if the “No” is in their best interests. The hardest “No” is to a child who wants what they want and has no concept of the consequences of their request. Helping them understand the benefits of the “No” makes it more acceptable. Sometimes it is not “No” forever, but just a “No” for now. The “No” can be “Yes, you can when your chores are done”.
Saying “No” to friends who want you to do something for them can be more difficult, especially if you don’t want to do the task. I heard a joke where a man asked to borrow an axe from his neighbour. The neighbour replied, “I can’t loan you the axe because my wife is making soup”. The man asked what his wife making soup had to do with borrowing the axe. The answer was, “If I don’t want to loan you my axe, any excuse is as good as another”!
If a request doesn’t fit your program, a great way to respond is thanking the person for the invite and for thinking of you but, in the same breath, also letting them know the request doesn’t fit with you. That way you won’t keep getting asked for the same thing that holds no interest for you. Perhaps it is a “No” because the time or location doesn’t suit you. That is a totally different “No” versus “No, it doesn’t fit”. Don’t make up excuses because you don’t have the self-esteem to tell the truth about their invitation. Eventually you will run out of excuses and will run each time you see that person coming!
When you get those phone calls at dinner time, remember that person is just attempting to earn a living. Don’t wait until they have gone through their whole spiel. Gently interrupt and say you aren’t interested in what they are offering and thank them for the call. You could even ask at this point to be taken off their list for future calls. Being rude minimizes who you are and only gets your blood pressure up. If you want respect, you have to give respect. If you want courtesy, you have to be courteous.
Sometimes we say “No” because the person has asked us at the wrong time, when we are too busy to really listen to their request.
Once again, honesty is the best policy and your request for them to ask you at another time would be appreciated. That way you really can evaluate what the person is asking. You may be in favour of accepting if you are in a different frame of mind.
Sometimes we need to say “No” not because we don’t want to participate, but because we don’t have the time or money to participate and we don’t really want to tell the person that. Finding an appropriate way to answer can be a little more difficult because we don’t want them to think we are asking for them to pay! Once again, it is not about the person but about the activity. You can answer with, “Wow, that sounds really fabulous. I would love to go on holidays with you. However, my funds and time are allocated to another project already. I know you will have a marvelous time and thanks so much for thinking of me. Take lots of pictures and we can share when you get back”. By responding with this kind of a “No” you have respected your friends or family and can avoid creating challenges in your friendships. But it lets you control your time and money based on your priorities.