According to the authors of The Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbooklearning how to decline a request is an essential life skill. Many of us have a hard time saying no, even when we’re overwhelmed with things to do. We may say yes from an exaggerated desire to please, but in the end we often feel angry with ourselves. Remember, you have a legitimate right to decline any request, even if it’s a reasonable request.
Here are Some Tips on How to Say No:
1. Take some time before you answer. Say you have to think it over or check with your family or boss.
2. Think of how you want to respond, and rehearse your answer.
3. Separate the person who is asking from the task you are being asked to do; say no to the request without rejecting the requester. Acknowledge the importance of the request to the other person. You can say, “Thanks for calling. I appreciate your asking me, but I can’t take on any more tasks.”
4. Offer no further explanation. Give no details of your busy schedule.
5. If the person is persistent, use the “broken record” strategy. Just keep repeating, “I just can’t take on any more tasks,” or “I’d help out if I could, but I can’t take on any more tasks.”
6. Make a counter offer along these lines: “I won’t be able to drive tonight. Perhaps you can ask Anna for a ride.”
Ways to Say No:
1. “I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?”
2. “I’d love to do this, but …”
3. “I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”