Do you ever say “yes” or “maybe” when you really want to say “no?” Or do you muddle your “no” with explanations, excuses, or apologies?
Consider these alternatives:
–I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me. But you know, I don’t know, I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad at me.
–No. I’m not ready to have sex with you.
How about these:
–I really don’t want you to use my car tonight because the last time you went out in it you stayed out until 4 am and you didn’t call me and I was so worried about you and I just don’t sleep when that happens.
–No, dear. You can’t borrow my car tonight.
–I don’t know. I’m really tired, and I’m not sure how I’ll feel tonight. So, I’ll have to call you later.
–No, I’m not available tonight. Thanks for asking!
How about these options:
–You know, my credit card balances have really crept up and I have to get my washer fixed and go to the dentist and I don’t get paid for another two weeks. So, I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it.
–No, I can’t lend you money.
When we are not clear in our no’s we open the door to debate and argument. We set ourselves up for difficult relationships. We often agree to do things that conflict with our real desires and our core values.
Whether we reluctantly go along with something because we’re reluctant to say “no,” or we somehow wriggle out of it by offering up enough excuses, it feels icky. We’re wind up doing something we didn’t want to do, or we’re exhausted by our guilt and the effort to get out of it.
One of the most empowering things we can do is to say “no” honestly, clearly, and cleanly. Without excuses. Without hemming and hawing. Without strangling your own voice.
It feels good. Try it. I bet you’ll agree.