Asserting Yourself : How to Say "NO"

Date: 3/1/2021

There are times when a person must say"No" to a request and sometimes it is quite easy to do so.


...Sometimes we aren't sure if we should say "Yes" or "No"...

...Sometimes it feels awkward to say "No"...

...Sometimes we feel intimidated saying "No"...

...And what about with those folks who don't give up and just keep asking and asking?  It is so much easier for us to just give in and say "yes"...

What is the key to asserting yourself to say "No"---even when it is challenging to do so?

First of all,  let's understand the source  of the problem in the above described scenarios. What,  exactly,  makes us feel unsure, awkward, or intimidated?  In many cases there is an inner conflict. For example:

---On the one hand the right thing to do is to say "No": I am busy, I am tired, the time is inconvenient for me, the task is against my morals...etc. 

---On the other hand,  I am uncomfortable  saying "No". If I say"No" I may feel some negative emotion such as guilt ("They really need my help. How can I refuse?").  Or, perhaps I am worried that I may need a favor from them some day and they may turn me down. Or, perhaps they have helped me before so how could I turn them down?! 

Second of all, even when we have decided to say "No",  we aren't sure  how to express our "No" :

Should I just flatly refuse ? Should I  apologetically turn them down?   Should I give an explanation of why I can't do it? Should I show that I am considering the request? Should I avoid them? Should I smile or should I frown? Should I use humor or be serious? 

The point here is that I may be concerned about how they will react to my "No".  This includes what are  the repercussions that could affect my relationship with them or my well-being.   

A full fledged discussion of how to deal with this is beyond the scope of this ariticle. 

But from a general perspective,  a good way of dealing with this problem is first analyze and define the inner conflict described above. Personally,  I find that writing it down is very helpful.

Then, once you are aware of what is causing you to hesistate,  it is much easier  to decide how you are going to present your "No".