How to Say No And When to Say Yes

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Just Say “No” by Blair Massey how-to-say-no What would you do if you were asked to chaperone your child’s field trip but your schedule was already full? Would you say yes and later regretting it? If you struggle with over-committing yourself there is a solution to your dilemma. Just say “No”. It is easier to do than you may think… Why is it Hard to Say No? Why is it hard for us to say no when we are asked to take on commitments that are more than we can handle?  The answer lies at the core of our being.  God designed us to be helpers.  However, when we take this to the extreme by saying yes to every person who asks for our help, we end up overbooked and overwhelmed. I have had many conversations with women about this subject.  What I have discovered is that there are five main reasons why women have a hard time saying no.  See if you can identify with any of these reasons. Guilt. “It is selfish to say no. If you can help you should.” Pride. “I enjoy feeling needed. I like the praise that I receive from a job well done.” People Pleasing. “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.” Insecurity. “What will they think of me if I refuse?” Superwoman Mentality. “I can do this. I’ll just work harder and faster.” When Should You Say No? Deciding if you should take on a new responsibility can be difficult. The key is to develop a personal litmus test that you can use to decide if saying yes to a commitment is right for you. Use the check list below as a starting point. 1. Check Your Priorities What things do you value most in life? Knowing what is most important to you will help you decide if taking on a new commitment makes sense for you. Make a list of the things that are a priority in your life, like your relationship with God, your family, your health, taking care of your home, your job or volunteer work, etc. Next, under each priority write out what your goals are for that priority. For instance, my relationship with God is my number one priority. One of my goals is to have a close daily walk with Him. To do this I have set a time early each morning to read my Bible and pray. In order to do this I make sure that I get to bed on time so that I don’t oversleep. Consequently, I say no to any commitment that will keep me up late at night. By identifying your priorities you will be able to see clearly if what you have been asked to do meshes with your priorities. If it doesn’t then you will be able to turn down the request knowing that you are making a decision that supports your values and personal goals. Saying no to things that don’t match up with your priorities will set you free to pursue what matters to you the most. You won’t be weighed down with responsibilities that clutter your time, drain your energy and take you away from doing what you need and want to do. 2. Check Your Life. Don’t take on new commitments if you are in the middle of a major change in your life such as getting married, having a child, a death in the family, major health issues, starting a new job or business. Things are hectic enough during these changes. Wait until things settle back to normal before making any new commitments. 3. Check Your Schedule Don’t try to squeeze something into an already packed schedule. It is not possible to say yes to everything. Something has to give. You, your family or other obligations will undoubtedly suffer. You know this is true because it happens every time you take on more than you should. Make it a rule to always check your schedule before committing to anything. You can always get back to the person later, plus this gives you time to think more about your decision. Say something like, “I’ll need to check my schedule and get back to you.” 4. Check With Your Husband. If you are married, is it vital that you discuss any commitments you want to make with your husband.  This is important for two reasons.  First, because you want to make sure that you are both on the same page with your schedules.  It is embarrassing to have to retract your offer because you didn’t know that your husband would be on a business trip and can’t watch the children.  Synchronize your schedule with your husband’s schedule before you say yes to anything. Second, it is prudent to get your husband’s input as to whether or not you are overextending yourself.  There have been many times that I was so sure I could tackle an additional project but my wise husband saw that I was “biting off more than I could chew”.  Another viewpoint is always a good thing. How to Say No Gracefully Saying no can be very hard, especially if you have spent years believing that you should say yes. Saying no may not be in your vocabulary. If so, here are a few examples of how you can say it gracefully. Use whichever rendition is appropriate for your situation. Remember to keep is short and sweet. You don’t need to give a reason or any details.  The less you say the less someone will be able to guilt you into saying yes. I would love to help but: “I have another commitment/appointment for that time/day.” “I can’t take on any new responsibilities right now” Offer Options If you don’t have a lot of time but the project meshes with one of your priorities, you might opt to take on a smaller task.  Say something like, “I can’t oversee the festival but I can help with the decorations.” Or, “I can’t run the bake sale but I can bake a few batches of cookies.” You can also offer to help sometime in the future when your schedule allows by saying, “I would love to, but I just can’t this time. But please keep me in mind for next time.” When to Say Yes If a request passes the check list mention above, then you can feel good about saying yes.  For example, let’s say you are asked to serve as a teacher for your child’s Bible class. Your schedule is open, you have talked it over with your husband, there are no major changes going on in your life and it fulfills one of your priorities, then you can feel great about accepting the position. Saying no may feel strange at first but stand firm. Don’t let the other person’s dismay “guilt” you into retracting your answer. The world will keep spinning, people will still like you and someone else will step up to help. Things will all work out. Really, I promise they will. © 2002 – 2009 Blair Massey Christian Lifestyle expert Blair Massey publishes the popular Christian Homemaking Newsletter with over 20,000 subscribers. If you’re ready to get organized, manage your time better, and provide a peaceful, beautiful home for your family, sign up for her FREE newsletter now at www.christian-homemaking.com]]>

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