Exercise Your No Muscle
Learning to say to the n- word is your job again if you want to preserve healthy boundaries and relationships.
Here are some tips to help you say no. These tips have all been thoroughly field-tested and I am happy to report that it works. To improve your skill level,I suggest writing the following responses out on a 3×5 card. Keep it beside your phone at home- that is where most of us get bombarded with requests. You can also design a cue card for work. Refer to the list often and keep practicing until your answers become automatic. One day,you will hear yourself saying no in a strong confident voice- and it will be music to your ears.
Tip #1 Buy Yourself Time To Think
If you are knee-jerk person,this is especially important. Be assertive. Learn to use phrases like “Let me check my calendar first,” or “I ‘ll get back to you in a couple of days, ” or “Let me think about it,I am not ready to make a decision right now.”
Each of these answers gives you more time to think through the request so you can make the decision that is best for you.
When you are in this position,the people who are seeking your attention will come to respect you for it and know your worth too.
Tip #2 Create Policy Statements
Corporations have policies that sound like they are cast in stone. You and your family can too. A banker will say. “Our policy statements is not to divulge client information over the phone.” End of story.
The phrase, “We have a policy” sounds official- you have obviously given this serious thought. Callers usually won’t argue and if they do,simply repeat the phrase more firmly,or hang up.
We have policy not to support telephone solicitation.
We have a policy to only support children’s charities.
We have a policy not to volunteer in the evenings.
Here’s another response:
Our portfolio for charitable donations is over-subscribed at the moment. Thank you,and goodluck in your fund raising.
Tip #3. Shift The Focus Back To You
This is not about you; I need to say no for me. This is my personal favorite.
When you say this Sincerely, with empathy for the other person’s situation,and use great eye contact,it is magic. Just about everyone will understand and support someone who says no for their personal reasons.
Tip #4 Know Your Priorities and Stick To Them
Once again check your most important values. If having supper together as a family is a high priority, say no to all interruptions. They include cell phones,TV,reading materials,sales people or urgent emails.
It is difficult enough to find time for meaningful conversation,so put your foot down.
Tip #5. Keep It Simple
You do not need to give long-winded explanations or make excuses about your decision to say no. That can make you vulnerable. Keep it short and simple. If you are feeling weak or unassertive,do not attempt to convince the other person by rationalizing, or even worse,telling half-truths. This usually comes back to haunt you. Buy some time instead.
Tip #6. Tackle Easy Situations First
Avoid confronting Mr George if he is your toughest case. Instead, say no to the sales lady demonstrating the latest perfume, to the survey marketer on the phone,or to the clerk who wants all of your contact information. Build up gradually from there. Develop the habit of saying no at least once everyday. Before you know it,you will be ready to take on the world.
Avoid difficult situations as much as possible until you are ready. The first few times may not perfect. That is simply because your no muscle has not been flexed enough yet. Keep practicing.
Also,watch out for the guilt demons- those little voices that chatter in your head after you have said no.
- How could I not give to that worthy cause?
- How could I not help out on the local community council this year?
Tell those guilt demons to shut up! Stay focused on your habit and eventually, they will leave you alone. Soon,you will notice your confidence level increasing,and you will feel stronger and more assertive. That will add valuable bonus points to your self-esteem while staying true to yourself. As you can see,there is a lot to this saying no business.
It is vitally important that you master it.
Choose Your Timing
Sometimes,when you need people to respond to your immediate requests,there could be some resistance at first.
First,choose the best time to sit down,face to face with the individual or people you want to talk to. It could be your husband,boss,co-worker,elderly parent,family or friends. Prepare for this meeting. Think about what you want,and why. What is the specific outcome you desire?
In the words of American poet, Maya Angelou , “The quality of strength,lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination.”
Make a list of benefits that the other person will receive as a result of your new boundary, but focus on your own need and be strong. This is an important discussion so ensure you are not interrupted. Find a quiet location.
These types of conversations are sometimes uncomfortable because you are concerned about a negative reaction or heated argument developing. Be totally sincere with your words and use good eye contact. Express your feelings as the start. To prepare the other person and minimize any immediate defensive action,here are a few suggestions on how to start the dialogue.
- I want you to know how I’m feeling right now so you will know how to handle me. I’m upset( worried,anxious,angry) because…
- I want to talk about me and my relationship to you…
- I realize I haven’t been honest with myself lately,or with you…
- I’m concerned because you haven’t been getting the best from me recently…
- I want to feel happy and have some balance in my life again…
- What I’m going to say is difficult for me,and you may feel some resistance at first…
What you do not want to say is anything that lays blame on the other person. The lines below is a sure -fire way to have a short conversation.
- It’s your fault that I am so upset…
- You never listen to a word I say…
Express What You Want
Whether at work or at home,good communication is important when you are setting boundaries with others. This technique will assist in being clear when expressing what you want.
when… (describe the behavior)
I feel…(describe your feelings)
I want…(State what you want)
- When you come home from work,you disappear into your office downstairs.
- I feel ignored and unloved.
- I want you to ask me about my day
- When I have an urgent deadline…I feel pressured.
- I want you to become more sensitive about this by not adding more to my already full workload.
Obtaining agreement for a new boundary is a form of negotiations. To maintain healthy integral relationships, adults need to regularly negotiate boundaries between themselves. Focus on making it a win-win. One thing you do not want to do,is to isolate your family and friends by being too rigid. You need to be flexible. Getting everything you want some of the time may be sufficient. Check your position by asking these two questions:
- How important is this?
- How far do I want to take it?