As a mother of 3 children I should have had plenty of practise at saying NO! Yet for a word that has been said at least 10,000 times, I seem to still get caught out sometimes, we have a lot to learn from this little one!! So why is it so hard to say No when we really want to.? I have it down to 3 main situations:
Scenario number 1: “The caught out NO”
You bump into a friend you haven’t seen for a while and chat a little. She then says why don’t we get together for dinner some time soon, and proceeds to get her diary out. The problem here is she is very nice, but the reason you haven’t kept in touch is time is short, and you barely have time for the good friends you have. However before you know it you have whipped your diary out too ,and are desperately trying to find a free evening so you can go out to dinner with this very nice but frankly not close friend.
Solution: Either include her in an evening where you have other friends along, (not always ideal but workable) or tell her you keep two diaries and your social one is at home. Ok its a small fib, but at least you have time to consider if you really want to re kindle the friendship. This is a tricky one to say NO to, but some situations are a small compromise.
Scenario 2: The guilty No”
A good friend asks you to do a favour and look after her kids for the day. Her kids are lovely but your child minding days are over and its about the last thing you want to do. You are wracked with guilt as you really want to just say no sorry I can’t, but instead the words tumble out of your mouth before you have a chance to stop them. and before you know it you are watching CBB’s.
Solution: This of course is not always a NO scenario, as a friend is need is a justified cause to put your own agenda aside. However, if you really don’t want to or have a whole host of things you should/must be doing then learning to say no is very important. A softer way of saying no is to say that you are busy unfortunately, and in any case she probably wouldn’t want you unless she is super stuck as these days you are just not great when they cry ! The “Guilty” no can be avoided by not being available and secondly by giving a reason why you are not the best person in this situation, so you can avoid being asked again. In my book, if a friend is in real crisis, I will put aside virtually anything, but its the casual requests we have to get better at saying no to!
Scenario 3: “The Bit More NO! ”
Your husband, friend, son, has asked you to do something for them and you said yes because at that time you could help. The following week the same request was put in, plus a bit. You reason that it didn’t take you too long last time so it seems almost churlish to say no now. By the end of the month, you seem to be doing this favour on a regular basis and are not sure how this really became your task!!
Solution: “The bit more NO” is a very easy trap to fall into. Often to do with small loan or a small errand to begin with. To say no its more about monitoring how much you are prepared to do. At the point when you think its enough then state very clearly that this is the final time and that next time the answer will be no. It is imperative that you stick to this otherwise you will end up having to justify why YOU shouldn’t be doing the errand, as oppose to being thanked for being so sweet in the first place!
I still don’t have the NO thing sorted, but I do try to take a breath before I rush into a yes, and at least buy myself a few moments/seconds to consider if this is something I genuinely want to do, or I am prepared to do for a friend willingly. I was once very wisely told, don’t lend money you can’t afford to lose, and do not expect praise or thanks for an act of kindness as it has to be given unconditionally.