...These women were unable to say no. You don't want to end up like them, in a bundle on the floor with your ass showing, do you?
If you look at a women's magazine in any given month, chances are you will come upon an article discussing how hard it is for women to say no to demands on their time by other people.
Not only have I never been one of these women, but I don't entirely understand them. Maybe it's because I don't have children or tons of family responsibilities, or maybe it's because a sometimes not so gentle undercurrent of depression runs through my everyday life. Either way, I'm pretty good at saying no.
So, for everyone who has trouble with it, here are some steps you can take to free yourself from the tyranny of yes.
How To Say No
1) Start with yourself. "No" seems so negative, doesn't it? You probably don't say it because you're afraid of hurting people's feelings or seeming selfish. The first key is to stop thinking about "no" in such negative terms. When you say NO to other people, what you're really doing is saying YES to yourself. If you're faced with a business offer or invitation, or asked for money you'd rather not give, think about what you need to do with the time, money, knowledge or whatever else has been asked of you. When you think of saying NO to others as simply saying YES to your own life, it's easier to realize it's not so bad.
2) Work up to it... If you really can't fathom turning down any request, you may need to ease yourself into it. Would you like to come to my Bachelorette finale viewing party? asks the woman at work you hate talking to in regards to a show you happen to also hate. Tell her you need to check your calendar, then when she asks again a few days later, thank her for the invitation and tell her you've got a family event that night. She doesn't need to know that "family event" is code for a long bath, delivered pizza and a Gilmore Girls marathon with your husband.
3) ...But don't coddle yourself. The white lie route will only get you so far. Plus, you can't do that forever. Eventually you're going to have to bust out the dreaded two letter word. Practice with those small, everyday questions if working up to no keeps you stuck in I'll-think-about-it land. Do you want fries with that? NO. Can I talk to you about our new credit protector plan? NO. Are you alright? NO. The sex was good last night, wasn't it? NO. You get the picture...
4) Stay positive. Remember that you're only saying no to say yes to your own needs. As a result, it's often a good idea to couch your response in as much positivity as you can, depending on the situation. Here's how this works. You get the question: We really need a new chair for this event. You've worked with us for a long time, would you like to take over? You think: The reason they need a new chair is because the stress of planning always drives the previous chair insane. I am too busy, important and happy to go crazy right now. You say: Wow, thanks for thinking of me, but, no. I really have too much going on to devote enough time to chairing the event. I'll certainly volunteer again, though! See? Easy!
Now go take that bath, eat that pizza and watch TV. You've earned it!
What do you have trouble saying no to?