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5 Ways To Perfect The Not-So-Subtle Art Of Saying No!

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If there is one person I relate to on an innate and personal level, it is Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Not as much for her OCD or her ability to cook, but for the fact that we both go weak in the knees when it comes to pleasing people. That episode, where she can’t stop sweating because she can’t seem to please Rachel’s mother is me. I am that person who wants to wear a board around her neck that spells NO, because when it comes to actually saying it, the only way a no comes out of my mouth is as a YES.

From catching up with friends at odd hours to staying late in the office to do work that doesn’t fall in my bucket, I constantly find myself in places I don’t want to be at, with people I don’t wish to be with, for plans I didn’t wish to be a part of in the first place. And I like to blame that one bossy friend, or annoying boss, or stern parent for it, but the truth is, the only one I have to blame is myself. Because, the idea of disappointing someone or hurting someone’s feelings is just too much.

Recently, however, it dawned upon me that the only person I was ultimately disappointing was myself, by saying yes all the time. So, for the ones who find themselves going to office parties that suck, and gulping down shots that taste like the bad choice you made while agreeing to come, this is for you and me and all the others who need to learn how to say NO!

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1. Stop with the lying

The instinct to invent an ailing grandmother or taking your dear pet to the vet, needs to be replaced with a need to be direct about what you would do instead. Be it a choice to go to the gym or simply cuddle under your covers watching Netflix, just be honest and polite about how that is equally or rather more important for you at the moment than to step out for drinks on a weekday.

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2. Don’t fall into the trap of giving big explanations

Sometimes, the two letter word is enough and all the justification you need to give to people. The moment you start giving explanations about why you don’t want to say yes, they get a chance to carefully invalidate it for you, and you’re left speechless, finding yourself rummaging through the work your boss dumped on you.

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3. Offer alternatives

If it helps, and it should, support your no with an alternate plan for some other time when you genuinely won’t be averse to the idea of going out on a date with a guy. It cent percent is a better idea than standing up the guy or even your friends, and assures them that maybe you do too want to make it, but perhaps some other time may work better for you.

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4. Remind yourself why you’re saying no

Being able to say no, or in this case learning how to say no is more of a process than an instant action. Because it is about deconditioning your mind to say what you’re not in the habit of saying for far too long. So, keep reminding yourself why you’re saying no. Try to picture the thought of getting home early for your family dinner, or collapsing in the bed with your dog for a timely sleep. Once you’ve convinced yourself, you won’t be conflicted and land up saying yes, when you really want to scream no.

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5. Realise that the world will go on without you

If you’re the kind who feels guilty about the thought of not being able to make it to family gatherings or events, or even a casual catch up with friends, realise that you not showing up won’t ruin their night. Chances are, your presence won’t matter as much as you think. Of course you’ll be missed, but not so much that people feel miserable about it and you miss your dentist’s appointment for it.


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