March 1, 2010

The all important "no"-how

I admit it... I was stuck in a phase a long time ago where I was eager to please others at times. A lot of times it was simply my personality to try to be nice to everyone upfront. Often times I had the problem of simply saying no, much like so many others to different situations or people. And that meant I was stuck with tasks, chores or unpleasant business that I'd simply rather not have done, if only I had expressed the opinion. I've attributed this to being a part of the "immaturity" and the process of growing up, though many many people I still know suffer from the disease of not being able to say no where appropriate.

Recently though, I have become a little more aggressively unconcerned about what opinions I express and what effects they may spawn. This doesn't imply that I have become callous or rude, just that I am not walking on eggshells anymore and well, everyone around me can deal with things just the way I can. Or similarly, at least. Saying no to something can be empowering. Not that you turned someone down and got the upper hand... just that you've gotten your priorities right. And importantly, you know what you should be doing. And if by saying "no" like one time, you feel that you are going to jeopardize the relationship, then it wasn't worth your while at all. 

Here are some pretty obvious tips - 
1. Honesty. Believe it or not, unless you're especially glib, it shines through if you're making something up. If you'd rather not do something for some reason, let it out. People can be more understanding than you give them credit for. And if you'd rather not out the truth itself because it's mean or whatever, practice your lie enough to pass it off (read Sheldon in BBT with his made-up cousin, Leopold who's in a drug intervention. Ok, not that extreme, but you get the point).
2. Sincerity. While being honest, it is possible to still come across as brutally honest. I don't want to go shopping with you because you try on every dress in the store and frankly, I have better things to do. Instead, tone it down with sincerity. I only have an hour of free time. I thought I'd just chill at home with a cup of tea. Is it okay if I take a rain-check?
3. Back-up plan. While refusing someone for something, try to reassure them that you would have done it under different circumstances. And that includes pointing out instances in the past or possibilities in the future. I am pretty caught up right now, but how about we meet up on Saturday? This not only takes the focus off the rejection, but also opens the opportunity for a different rendezvous clarifying the fact that the problem was with the date and time and not the person. But if you do make a back-up plan, please try to stick with it.

If only more people knew how to turn down someone and not make them feel lousy, a lot of generic ill-will between people can be avoided, leading  in fact, to a healthier friendship or otherwise between two people. So please, if you must, go ahead and say no, rather than get stuck with something you don't want to do and worse, impose your grudging self on some unsuspecting person.


sivakumar said...

Nice one Jaya. ;o)

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