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Do You Have a Hard Time Saying No?

May 19, 2022
by TammyS | For Seniors
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Do You Have a Hard Time Saying No?

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Do you have a hard time saying no?  It is a very small word - just two simple letters.  But, saying no can be tough, as we do not want to disappoint, alienate, or hurt anyone’s feelings.  Let’s explore how we can begin to say no in certain situations.

The ability for some of us to say no may stem from childhood when we were taught to respect teachers, police, parents, and, in general, anyone older than us.  That includes doing what you were asked to do.  However, as we grow up and develop our own personalities, ideas, and preferences, we should also learn to say no to requests that we do not want to be involved in.  It is a skill that can be sharpened with time and will allow us to have greater control over our lives.

You should consider saying no when:

  • You feel uncomfortable saying yes.
  • You are too busy to take on another responsibility.
  • When saying yes will not be aligned with your personal beliefs, goals, values, boundaries, etc.
  • When saying yes will take time away from your family or personal time.
  • You are saying yes only to please the person who asked.
  • When saying yes will impact your personal well-being or mental health.

Here are a few ways to respond to a request when you do not wish to say yes:

  • I have another commitment.
  • I’m sorry, but I’m unable to fit this into my schedule.
  • I’m honored you asked me, but I just cannot at this time.
  • Unfortunately, I already have plans.
  • No thank you, but it sounds lovely.
  • Thank you for asking me, but I cannot at this time.
  • Let me get back to you on that.
  • Let me check with my wife/husband to see if we have anything planned for that time.
  • I have a lot on my plate right now, so cannot say yes.
  • Perhaps another time.
  • I’m not taking on new commitments at this time.
  • No, that’s not really my thing.
  • The demands would be to much for me at this time.

Just remember that you can say no in a kind, appreciative and respectful way that should not offend the person making the request.  Say no nicely and do not be wishy-washy.  But, stand your ground, and state your answer clearly and emphatically.


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