While December is typically more hectic than November, we are getting ahead of the game with weekly November tips offering ideas on how to manage your stress.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with last week’s tip about sticking to your routine as much as possible throughout the holidays. In order to stick to your routine during November and December, it is inevitable, you will have to say “no.”
Saying “no” is hard sometimes. Ideally, see if there is a compromise that can be reached. That way while you are saying no, you are saying no, not right now instead of a flat out no. Here are just a couple examples when you might be better off saying no to someone and how you can look for a compromise:
- Maybe you feel like you are letting the other person down when you say no. The thing is if you give up one of your stress-reducing activities that you really want/need to do by saying yes instead of no, how do you think the other person would feel knowing that? Consider saying “I’m sorry, I can’t do that day and time. Let’s find another day and time we can do this.”
- Maybe you don’t give it enough thought before responding with a yes. A client of mine told me about a time she was asked to go grocery shopping for a friend. She immediately said yes because she wanted to be helpful. Then she dreaded it because she hates grocery shopping. Had she given herself just a couple more moments to think about it she would have answered differently. Maybe her response could have been “I’m sorry, I can’t go grocery shopping for you. What can I do instead of grocery shopping to help you out?”
- We are often asked to help organizations financially during November and December. While you may really want to help out, your financial needs are priority. Did you add a budget item for financial giving when you did your holiday budget the other week? If not, you could go back and make adjustments to include some giving. If you did and this just doesn’t fit into your budget let the person know that. Tell the person that you have allocated your holiday giving to other organizations and can’t afford to support their organization. Unfortunately, we can’t support every organization that reaches out to us.
And sometimes, you just need to say “no” without trying to compromise. It could be that you really don’t want to do the activity your friend or family member is asking about. You are better off saying no and leaving it at that or telling them it really isn’t something you are interested in doing.
This Real Simple article, 10 Guilt-Free Strategies for Saying No, gives great examples of situations you might find yourself in and how to say “no” in a way that shouldn’t offend the other person. We want to say no in a way that won’t hurt their feelings, just know that no matter how nice we are, we can’t help it if the person feels hurt or offended. All we can do is help them to know we are not doing it to be mean or hurtful.
What is your best way to say “no” to others?