For many of us, it can be difficult to deny other people their constant requests. Even if granting those requests does not serve our interests, creates benefits for someone else and encourages other people’s weaknesses and weaknesses. In this article, I will tell you how to learn to say no in response to any absurd requests made to us.
Sometimes, the boss asks us to stay at work for a few hours without paying for overtime. Or your wife asks you to buy her a tenth pair of shoes, which in her opinion is an urgent necessity. A friend repeatedly asks if it is possible to borrow money, although he has not yet paid off his previous debts.
Why can’t you say no?
We can understand that these requests are unfair, and it would be right to refuse them. But why can’t we always do it and agree? It’s because of fear. Fear of deceiving someone’s expectations or ruining a relationship. What if the boss treats you worse? What if the wife takes offense? What if our buddy doesn’t call us again? I’ll look at all these situations in the examples below. Based on these examples, I’ll explain why you should sometimes refuse people.
These examples do not cover all possible life situations, but they demonstrate the right way of thinking when you are faced with something similar and it is difficult for you to say no. Please read all of these examples, even if you yourself do not encounter what is covered in them. I will derive general principles from the examples that will help you say no.
To get rid of fears, you have to realize that they are not really solid. The fear of hurting someone or worsening the relationship that guides your reluctance to say “no” does not always lead you to improve your social connections. At first sight, it seems that if you never say no to anyone, people treat you better. This is far from the case.
What happens when we say “yes,”
Let’s think about what happens when we say “yes” first.
Example “yes” #1
If you constantly agree to stay at work, can not refuse your boss when he dumps on you extra, extra work, then your manager will not treat you better as an independent person. This will not help you gain respect for someone else. The manager will understand that you are easy to agree to everything and can use it to his advantage, exploiting you as a free worker.
Maybe you will be awarded the “honorary” title of “employee of the year”, but no respect will go out of the question. You will be better treated only as a diligent employee, on which you can put everything, and he will only be happy.
Imagine a person who will agree with you in everything, to satisfy any of your requests, as a real lackey. Whatever you say, he’ll answer “Yes!”, “Yes!” and nod his head humbly. Will you respect and love a man like that? Maybe you’ll like his submissiveness and pliability, but you won’t get respect for such a person.
Now, think of your friends and family. Probably many of them do not behave like lackeys: they may disagree with your opinion, argue with you and deny you some of your stupid requests. Does that make your respect for these people disappear? No! It’s the other way around! Independence has always attracted people.
Respect is aroused by people who know how to defend their interests, show firmness and independence. Excessive softness and inability to refuse anything give birth to some other feelings, but not respect or sincere sympathy.
Hardness does not exclude the possibility of compromise. All people somewhere have to sacrifice their interests and agree on what they do not want to accept. But independent nature does not want to satisfy anybody else’s request at all. They think about themselves, their interests and those of their family and do not turn their lives into the service of others’ goals.
Example “yes” #2
Imagine your wife or girlfriend provoking you to waste money again. If you’re used to indulging her in this desire all the time, it won’t do you any good. A short thanksgiving associated with the euphoria of a new purchase after a while will be replaced by a desire to buy more. Each new purchase only irritates the desire to have more and more things. It’s just weakness, whimsy and addiction.
When you encourage these weaknesses and weaknesses, they acquire new power. Addiction and desire only grow stronger. It’s like spoiling a child. A brief outburst of gratitude for a new purchase from your wife has nothing to do with the love and respect that you subconsciously fear losing by depriving her of this purchase.
Does an addict have respect for his dealer for regularly supplying him with a dose? No! I’m sure that many spoiled ladies (or even husbands) perceive their spouses as dealers of the pleasure that comes with making a purchase.
I’m not saying that you don’t have to buy anything for your other half. It’s just that you need to know the measure in everything – it’s the golden rule. If we stop denying everything to others, we begin to encourage other people’s vices: greed, desire to parasite, a morbid propensity to consume, spoiling. When we stop saying “no”, we make people worse!
Example “yes” #3
Your friend is asking for money again. He promises to pay it back, though he hasn’t paid back his past debts yet. Of course, there are many different situations. Perhaps money support is really necessary, and you should try to help even if you don’t hope to see that money again…
But it happens that the man himself can get the finances and he just brazenly uses your kindness.
If so, do not fear that you will lose the respect of your friend. If you, again, give him money, securing his empty promise, then encourage his parasitic, optional, irresponsible nature.
What happens when we say “no”
The examples I gave above said what would happen if you say “YES”. We have found that in these situations, as in many others of the same kind, satisfying requests will not make you feel better about yourself. It may be the other way around. We do not say “no” so as not to make it worse for others to treat us, although it may happen exactly when we say “yes” for the hundredth time. We can form an attitude towards us as a person who can be parasitized, from whom any consent can be obtained.
If we always say yes, we encourage and provoke the development of others’ shortcomings.
But let us now think about what will happen if the thing we fear most happens, namely, if we say “no”.
Example “no” #1
Suppose you decided not to take extra work and stay out late in the office. So you said, “I’m out of work, no, I can’t sit here for another three hours”. Of course, if you have taught your management that you like to work for free, this answer may come as a complete surprise to someone. It’s not normal to stay late and sit at work, but when everybody is used to the fact that you stay late, it becomes normal in the eyes of other people.
So someone might be shocked by your refusal to give up extra work if you’ve given it up before. The best thing to do in a new job is to voice your attitude towards free reworking, so you don’t get anyone used to working late. If you refuse right away, it is much better than if you do it later.
You will show firmness, and you will be more respected by your staff. Your boss will immediately think, “You can’t ride this man.” You are unlikely to be fired: you have a legal right to a normal working day. If they do, it means that the company that hired you is bad, because it violates the legal human rights and exploits its employees. All the more reason not to work in such a company.
If you’ve been working for a long time, and everyone is used to your processing, it’s better to prepare your superiors to give up overtime, so it was not a big surprise. You will not spoil the relationship, you just demonstrate a desire to defend their legal rights. There’s nothing wrong with that. If the company doesn’t understand that desire, it’s their problem, not yours. Look for a job that doesn’t exploit the free labor of its employees.
If you say no, you’ll come home on time and spend more time with your family.
Example “no” #2
What happens if you don’t buy your wife another “gift” she asks for? Well, let’s think about it. There may be some resentment from your passion. But resentment is the result of a man suddenly not getting what he wanted. If someone is offended at you, it does not mean that you did badly, it means that you have not met someone’s expectations. And another person’s expectations of you may be overstated and unreasonable. In that case, someone else’s expectations are someone else’s problems. You don’t have to be responsible for them.
In this case, a grievance has nothing to do with the loss of respect or love.
If you say no, you’ll show character and will. These qualities deserve respect as opposed to wickedness.
I do not preach greed towards others. Moreover, I believe that generosity is a manifestation of altruism and moral strength, and greed is a symptom of selfishness and weakness. Gifts should be given!
But if you notice that you are simply being used to satisfy your own desires, and the endless requests for you have exceeded all boundaries of reasonableness, then it is time to think about saying no.
If you say “no”, then it will help you defend your independence and the right not to be a puppet in the hands of others. If you say no, it won’t be a big deal. The shame will pass, and the experience gained from this situation, perhaps, will teach your passion to better contain your consumer urges. Plus, you’ll save money.
Unfortunately, it is possible that refusing to buy will provoke a scandal. But would you sacrifice your own decision-making rights just for fear of a scandal? Maybe you’re afraid you’ll be abandoned? But can a loving person break up with you because of some expensive trinket? I don’t think so. And if that did happen, it means that this man did not deserve to be with you.
Example “no” number three.
You told your friend that you couldn’t lend him any money. He comes to you with this request again and again and every time he promises to return everything, but he does not keep his promises. You can see that he’s using you. So you have decided to refuse or not to lend money until he settles his past debts.
If your friend is a reasonable man, he will understand perfectly. If he sincerely believes that everyone must give him money, that is his problem. If you do not live up to that expectation, then you should not be responsible. It is all about your friend’s exaggerated expectations of you, not yourselves!
It is likely that after your refusal, your friend will not soon make such requests to you. Again, your “no” will not have the terrible consequences that you feared so much.
Think, “what will it cost me?”
If it’s hard for you to say no, then instead of giving in to the fear of being misunderstood, think calmly about what will happen if you say yes and what will happen if you say no. Will your fears come true when you say no to someone?
But sometimes things are not as clear in life as in the abstract situations I described above. In my examples, people use your kindness and failure to parasitize you. It’s easy to say no to someone who just takes advantage of you.
But what if a person who asks for something from you is not guided by such low impulses? Then it’s not that easy to say no. What if your grandfather who lives far away asks you to visit him every weekend, and you have a hard time doing it for a number of reasons? Or your friend wants to lend you money, but he does it for the first time, and you know he’s paying back his debts. The truth is, it’s a big sum of money, and if you lose it even for a while, you’re going to have trouble.
In such situations you have to think about others, but at the same time do not forget about your interests. If you are thinking about agreeing, then try to think about what it will cost you.
If you visit your elderly relative every weekend, you will spend less time with your children. You may not have a lot of free time. It is clear that it is more pleasant for Grandpa to see us as often as possible, but you can never completely please everyone and not start your own business.
If you give your friend money, you will solve some of his problems, but at the same time, you will not be able to settle your accounts, because you have less money left.
Of course, we want to help other people, but at the same time we must not forget about ourselves. In both of these situations it is better to think about compromise than a categorical “no” or a categorical “yes”. It will require sensitivity and a wise approach to life.
You can talk to your grandfather and explain to him that it is difficult for you to come once a week and you will visit him once a month. You can lend a friend a smaller amount by telling him that you don’t have a lot of money right now. And you can help him find the rest of the money by talking to your friends.
Always think about what the next “yes” will cost you. If it is too expensive for you, then look for another way out of this situation, in addition to consent. Your life experience and social skills will help you do this.
Don’t underestimate other people.
You don’t have to think that every person will hold a grudge against you when you can’t satisfy his wishes. Reasonable people can understand what your consent may cost you. Such people respect your interests.
For example, when I ask one of my friends to meet me, they might say, “I can, but I’m uncomfortable today, I’d like to stay home…” I answer it: “it’s okay, no problem, there’s no problem, I understand everything, you don’t have to explain anything to me”.
Of course I wanted to meet a man, but what if he doesn’t have the opportunity to do so? I respect his wishes and interests and therefore I will not be offended.
In reverse situations, when I have to deny my friends something, I immediately put myself in their shoes. I know that they are reasonable people and they understand me and my desires and therefore will not be offended by me.
Unfortunately, not everyone can always show understanding in relation to others. All of us are subject to selfishness, to one degree or another. We should not encourage this quality in others, rushing to satisfy others’ selfish requests. If some people do not respect your wishes, then why should you respond by agreeing to their requests?
You can’t please everyone!
It is impossible for everybody to like you! You can never refuse anyone in anything while preserving your independence and your interests. It is difficult to meet all expectations of others: there will always be someone who is dissatisfied with you, at least in something. And this is normal. Your father wants you to become an engineer like him, and you only see yourself as a free entrepreneur. Your husband wants you to cook for him every day, although you spend as much time at work as he does. Your children expect you to buy them new toys every day, but that is impossible.
You have your own life that you live, your own views on that life and your own freedom. You live for yourself, not to meet other people’s expectations. You do not have to please the selfishness of your own father, husband, wife, boss or state by ignoring your own goals and desires until the end of your years. If someone can not forgive you for becoming a doctor, not a pilot, it is his problems, not yours.
These are the problems of other people’s prejudices, selfishness, expectations. It’s not your fault that another person can’t become more flexible and understand you. You should not always be responsible for other people’s cockroaches, for other people’s beliefs!
Fear of saying “no” is a fear of not meeting someone’s expectations. It does not always mean that you are afraid to answer “no” to someone else’s request. It can mean that you are afraid to deceive someone’s plans, someone’s interests, even if no one is asking you anything directly.
For example, your friends tell you that you don’t spend enough time with them. But you have other things to do, you think it’s right to spend more time with your family than your friends.
If you think something is right, you do it without looking at others. Try to explain to your friends how busy you are with your family. If they don’t understand, let them. Don’t be lamented by it, try to convince your friends by insisting you’re right. Live like you did. It’s impossible to always be right in front of everyone.
If people don’t want to understand you, there’s nothing they can do about it. This is life, you have to choose whether you live for yourself or strive to meet other people’s expectations. Compromise is possible, but not always. So have the courage to put up with someone else’s resentment, someone else’s misunderstanding, if you want to live your life. It will always be, and there’s no escape from it.