Out of the hundred thousand or so words in the dictionary, the two-letter word “no” is probably the most difficult to pronounce for a lot of people. It’s literally one syllable, and yet we choke last minute when we are on the verge of saying it.
While it’s relatively easy word to utter, there can be many reasons why we can’t just blurt it out. We’re either too scared to disappoint people or make them feel like we don’t want anything to do with them. There is a right time and way to use the power of declining something, but saying it isn’t a crime.
The more we refuse to say no, the more we get used to saying yes.
And the more people get used to you saying yes, which will make it harder for you to say the opposite even if that’s what you really want to say all along. Try to gradually practice refusing something especially if isn’t exactly healthy or right for you, so the people around you won’t get the impression that they can ask you for anything and get away with it easily.
You might only be hurting yourself if you don’t say no.
Many of us get too reluctant to say no for fear of disappointing other people. Sometimes, however, saying yes to someone or something to appease them might just adversely affect us more than we’d like to believe. That extra project your org wanted to you handle or that last-minute lakwatsa with your block might not always be the best things to say yes to when you’ve already got too much on your plate. Your org and your friends would understand it if you decline this time.
There are other ways to refuse without saying no outright.
If it’s really that hard for you to refuse, there are other, subtler, ways to say no that won’t make you feel like you’re putting a burden on others. Psychology Today suggest using statements like “I can’t take this on at the moment” to soften the blow of declining something. It’s much longer than the two-letter magic word, but it could be easier for you to say without sacrificing your boundaries.