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Yes, you can say 'No' in any situation

Apparently for around half of us, saying no is nigh on impossible. And not just to dessert. Or the sales.

We're talking taking on things, agreeing to things and generally getting stressed, because we can't say one little word -- "No!"  At the office, with partners or with friends, we're constantly agreeing to dinners, babysitting, extra work and overtime when really we want to lie on the couch in our PJs watching Netflix.

And why?

Because we're scared of saying that one little word.

Sound like you?

Many of us are afraid of conflict. We don’t like others to be angry with us or critical of us. We therefore avoid saying “no” in case it causes conflict with someone else. As kids we were told to do what we were told, and we've carried that into adulthood.

We can also be worried about disappointing people -- so we take on things we don't want to do just so we don't. And women, especially, can find it hard to say no because we often don't want to hurt people's feelings.

But we're here to help. And if you don't want to read on, then say no.

We won't be offended. Honest.


"Saying ‘no’, followed by some long-winded excuse as to why you can’t do someone a favour can often open up the situation for them to challenge your excuse," says  Lysn psychologist Noosha Anzab. "Instead, simply say ‘Unfortunately, I can’t’ and try to leave it at that. Coming up with a random excuse, although somewhat believable, is definitely not the best answer to give."

"Just provide a brief explanation as to why you
can’t engage in the favour and leave it at
that. The more you are open to discuss this,
the more open you may seem to negotiation.
Be firm in your response and don’t get your
arm twisted in doing something that you
simply can’t."

If you feel that you'd like to do the favour in question another time, then you can always asking for one of your own in return. "If your reason for not doing them a favour is because of time, " said Noosha, "then feel free to say ‘yes I can mind your child tomorrow afternoon but that will mean I have to put off some important tasks. Will you then be able to look after my child on Saturday morning?'"

How to say no to someone who wants you to take on more work

Saying ‘thanks for thinking of me but I’ve already got my workload cut out for me’ can be a polite way of saying no without being offensive, according to Noosha.

"If someone is asking you to do more work and it’s clearly their job, politely explain that this might be outside of your scope of role. Explain that you’re focusing on XYZ right now and that you’re not the best person for the work.

Noosha added that it's really important to establish some boundaries around self-care and workload balance -- especially if you feel you're being too loaded up.

"Keep in mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing your strengths and limitations. Feel free to advise them that you aren’t biting off more than you can chew and need to balance your current load otherwise it may lead to your own work being compromised," she said.

How to say no to someone who keeps wanting to socialise after work

If you don't want to go out with work colleagues, then say no but thank you for the invitation.

"Showing gratitude for being invited but still saying no can still be a friendly way to respond to the request. Make sure to note that you appreciate the invite regardless of not being able to attend," said Noosha.

And if you really don't want to go out with them...

"Bring it back to spending time with them during work hours, perhaps by suggesting to do a lunch together at work instead," she recommended.

How to say no politely to a date

"Honesty is usually the best policy in any situation," she said. "Being honest with a potential suitor means that there’s less of a chance that they will persist with asking you on a date. While you might be worried about hurting their feelings, if you can start with letting them know you’re flattered but you’re not interested or are unavailable to dating, you’re not leading them on or sugar coating the situation (which can hurt them more down the line).

Don’t hesitate to say no straight away. Don’t wait because whilst you might think it will ease the rejection, it might actually make them think you were thinking about it. This could mean that they’ll try again another time."

As a general rule, honesty is always the best policy. If you find you do struggle with being honest because you’re worried about how the other person might react, practice doing this in other situations -- like when you're shopping. "This will help you to learn how to communicate more effectively," said Noosha, "and allow you to verbalise your feelings in a manner where the other person won’t be offended."

Feature Image: Instagram/Realgrumpycat