Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just Say No!!

Speak your mind.....even if your voice shakes. -Maggie Kuhn

"NO!" We don't like to hear that word when we want something. Mustering up enough courage to walk in to the boss and request a raise after years of excellent and faithful service only to have your request denied is enough to rattle even the most confident person. As a child, I was constantly told "No". "No....don't touch that. No....you cannot have a cookie. No....you may not use the car tonight. I said No!" My son's very first word was "No!" I am convinced this is because I constantly said it to him. My boyfriend's niece (the most adorable girl in the world) shakes her finger and says, "No no no!" It's adorable. One night I was out with some friends. My boyfriend stepped outside for a few minutes and a guy asked me to dance. I shook my finger at him and responded, " No no no!!" just like she does. Those who heard me burst into hysterical laughter! I am sure the guy thought I was insane and probably relieved that I turned him down.

As much we dislike hearing "No" when it pertains to us and something we want or need; at times it is even more difficult to say. We say it to our children and our spouses but when it comes to others we find ourselves agreeing to all sorts of things we don't want to do because we just can't say no. The boss asks you to stay after work for a last minute, unscheduled meeting. Tonight is your son's final basketball game for the championship. You PROMISED him you would be there. What do you say?

Women find it even more difficult to say no at times. Women are often percieved to be "softer" so people tend to push harder, knowing they will appeal to their sympathetic side. Regardless of gender; to be soft, kind, and generous without being too soft, you need to be persistent. If you are the type that prides yourself on your empathy skills ( the ability to put yourself in someone elses' shoes) that does not mean that you have to agree to everything.

If you are a generous person how can you possibly turn down your favorite charity, the girl scouts selling cookies door to door or in front of the grocery store, or the woman who asks for a ride to church every Sunday morning, despite the fact it is several miles out of your way and there are other parishoners who live closer to her that can do it? You want to say no but you just can't. "If I consider myself a good person, a good friend, or a good Christian and want everyone to think of me that way, then I can't say no. What's wrong with me?" The truth of the matter is, constantly saying yes to even the smallest requests time after time demands a portion of your time, your money, effort, and talents and will cut into the other ways you might want to use those resources. Deep down, you know it!! This does not mean you should become a hardened "knee-jerk" naysayer, it means you should strive to make every yes you do say a good and genuine one. Here are some tips I have learned on saying no:

* Say it when you want to, not when you'll feel guilty for not saying it--or when you are using selflessness as an excuse to put off your own tasks.

* Before saying yes out of habit, fear or nervousness, buy yourself some time by saying you need to think about the request.

* Negotiate by saying "Yes, I can do that if you do...."

* Realize that "No" is a complete sentence. In Melville's story of the same name, Bartleby the Scrivener never explained why he would "prefer not to." You don't have to either.

No one will ever truly despise you for declining an invitation, donating your time to one fund raiser rather five, or for saying no to transporting a friend all over town on your only day off. The trick is to meet and satisfy your own needs while also accomodating the other person's cirumstances. For instance you might say, "I am no longer able to take you to the mall on saturday afternoons, but why don't you give Suzie a call? She loves going shopping and is always looking for someone to keep her company." You have just released yourself from the task and the responsibility, offered a solution to the problem, and helped another friend by introducing her to a new shopping buddy. They both will be singing your praises!

There is an old saying, " You never really know about a person until you walk a mile in their shoes". Go ahead and walk a mile or two but then don't forget to put your own shoes back on!

And this is my Daily Cyn....................


  1. Well, the reason I like to walk a mile in someone else's shoes is this way, if I have something bad to say about him, I'll be a mile away. Not to mention, I have his shoes.

  2. ah.....but if you wear someone's shoes for too long, your own feet take on the shape of the original owner.....which can be a good or a bad thing....most often a bad thing... I would much rather leave my own unique footprint in the sand and not someone else's.. LOL