The art of saying ‘NO’

The art of saying ‘NO’

Some of us are very empathetic in nature and we believe we might upset someone by turning them down, this inclines us to say yes even to those situations that tend to affect us or we have no interest in. It can cause a lot of stress and a huge waste of time and efforts. We all have attended some parties or meetings simply because we couldn’t turn the other person down and we ended up regretting going for it. In this article, I will talk about why it is important to say no and how it can help you in the long run.

You value your time: Saying yes to plans that you are not interested in is a big waste of time. Know your commitments and value your time. Whenever someone asks for your time and you are already lined up with plenty of tasks on your plate, gently respond to them by saying ‘I won’t be able to make it. I already have commitments elsewhere.’

Make it a habit: Just like any other skill, this will develop with practice over a long period of time. Start saying no to things that don’t interest you or you find worthless. Over time you’ll get more comfortable with declining things that don’t matter. If the other person keeps insisting just for wandering around without any focus, you need to stay firm and keep saying no. Eventually they’ll stop bothering you with it.

Don’t be sorry: People start by saying “sorry, won’t be able to…”, while saying sorry sounds more polite and soft but it also makes you look weak. You are not doing anything wrong by protecting your own time and self-interest, instead be proud about saving your time and investing in something which is fruitful and makes you happy.

Prioritize what you want: If we are truly working hard, we don’t usually have any extra time or free time, so before agreeing to any new plan or commitments, ask yourself is it really worth your time or is there something else you would rather do. Don’t cut out time from things you love for something that you don’t want.

Keep it for some other time: If you ever feel interested in something that is offered to you but you are not entirely sure about it, you can simply choose to let the other person know that you are interested but you can’t make it at that moment and you would love to try it some other time. This way you’ll still be on their go-to list when and if the opportunity comes again.

These are a few tips on how and why to turn down people and say NO to things that you are not interested in. It would save you a whole lot of time and efforts, which you can utilize in something productive. 

By Vrutika Dawda, Director, IdeateLabs