“I’ll get back to you on that.”
Years ago when I was still working corporate, I had a manager who was famous for using that response.
And did it ever piss people off! I was amazed by it, though.
The fact she stood her ground and was never pressured to make a decision she didn’t want to make was impressive to me – how many of us can honestly say we do that!?
Over the years, I’ve developed a few ways of my own to handle requests for my time.
While I am not perfect with it, I rarely say yes to things I don’t want to do anymore. If I do, it’s because in that moment I am not advocating for my own best interests. There is no one but me to blame for that!
I’m going to get down to it and share 3 ways to handle requests when they come in along with my favourite way to say no that I’ve been using for years.
Drop The Excuses – When you say any version of, “Oh, I’d love to but I can’t because…”, it leaves the door open for negotiation. And further discussion. This is not what you want!
Years ago, I heard someone give the most amazing response to say no that I use it to this day and I want to share it with you now. If you don’t want to do something you simply say…
“That’s going to be a no for me but thank you for asking.”
You can modify this to fit any situation you are in. It works because it completely shuts people down from any further discussion.
It works because people are expecting you to give an excuse and they have their response already planned for that. But they don’t expect to hear no.
The first time I used it I was scared to death – and when I got her response back I was pleasantly surprised. She thanked me for telling her that directly because she said most people gave her the runaround.
Making excuses instead of just saying no has the implication that you owe them your time, a piece of you or whatever else they are asking for.
That is upside-down thinking. It is a patriarchal teaching that women have to be of service to everyone around them.
Pause Before Answering – Most times, we are caught off guard by a person’s request. Take a cue from my old manager and tell them, “Let me get back to you on that”.
This lets you get some space alone so you can tune into your body and whether this is really something you want to do. Your body won’t lie.
This is an especially good practice for you if you are a people-pleaser and do things to be liked or accepted. Give yourself this gift.
Know Why You Say Yes – Most of us say yes when we don’t want to do something because we are hoping that will fill up what we feel is lacking, such as acceptance or approval.
Examine your motives for saying yes when you mean no. This is a great reason to pause before answering so you can tune into what is really going on with you at that moment.
Being anything other than truthful holds you out of integrity and that is never a place you want to be. If you don’t want to do something, say so.
Most people will appreciate the truth even if it is not the answer they were hoping for. Nobody likes being lied to.
And if someone gets upset because you are doing what’s best for you, why do you care what that person thinks, anyway?
Over to you!
Let me know in the comments below if you have trouble saying no to people and why you think that is – I’d love to hear from you!
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