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We always have a choice.
How we spend our time, money and energy reflects our values, but sometimes it also reflects our ability (or inability) to set boundaries.
Have you ever wanted to say no to someone or something, but couldn’t muster the courage because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or perhaps even felt obligated to say yes? I’ve learned to trust my intuition when I’m faced with a request that doesn’t quite feel right. But communicating this to another person can be difficult.
Yesterday, I was faced with a request that I knew deep down was not a good fit. It conflicted with some of my core values and beliefs, and I knew that further conversations about it would have been futile. That’s not to say that I’m closed to new ideas, or that I refuse to change my mind about what I believe. It simply means this wasn’t the right forum for that to occur.
In fact, I had tried to politely decline the request once before, but my attempt to do so was only met with persistence.
So how do you say no without sounding rude? It’s tricky.
I’ve learned that there’s a fine line between being honest and being blunt. The former, something I think most of us aspire to be from a character standpoint, seems easy enough. Honesty is the best policy after all. We’re taught to tell the truth at a young age. But sometimes the truth comes off as being curt, or sharp. The word ‘no’ carries a pinch that often feels personal.
But saying no is an act of self-care. Not only does it help protect you from investing time in something that isn’t constructive, it also helps your requester from doing the same.There have been many times I’ve wished someone would have said no to me earlier. It would have saved both of us precious time that could have been spent elsewhere. In a way, saying no is a gift.
If you’re looking for a more polite way to say no, consider simply explaining that the timing isn’t good. That sends the message that the request isn’t aligned with your priorities without sounding harsh or impolite.
How do you say no?