How to say no politely is a life skill because If you don’t want to do something and don’t really have to do it, but you still say “yes” to it, you are saying “no” to other meaningful work. Hence, saying “no” to things you don’t have time or want for, is as crucial as saying yes to your priorities.
But straight up saying no may not be an easy experience for most people as it may harm their reputation as well as personal/professional relationships. And to overcome this barrier, an effective method is to use a 5-step hack where you can say “no” without hurting the other person.
The steps are:
- Kind: Start with a kind response to the other person’s request.
- Situation: Then, start explaining your situation of what could be the core reason or other priority you need to take care of.
- Feeling: Then, try to associate feeling with that situation so that you back up your response with emotions.
- Consequences: You need to then add consequences to the failure of your situation, so that it’s being communicated that your priorities are also important.
- Offer an alternate solution: Finally, say no to the other person following with an alternative solution or suggestion, you can give to the other person for their request.
For example, If your friend is asking you to lend him some money, but you are tight on your budget, then you can use the 5-step technique to say, “Thank you for thinking of me, but right now I am tight with my budget and I still need to pay for my rent and bills, I feel sad that I couldn’t help you right now but if I don’t pay the rent by the next week I might have to leave the place. Hence, I am really sorry that I won’t be able to help you financially right now, but maybe you can ask for help from your other friend or together we will think about some other solution.
Remember, to work towards your own short and long-term goals, you need to learn to say no sometimes, especially when other things hinder those goals of yours and remember that it’s okay to do that.