Being Assertive: Tips On How To Say No

For some people, it is easier to be a doormat than to say

Are you one of those people who will buy magazine subscriptions from a telemarketer, even though it is not really in your budget, just because you would feel "mean" if you didn't? Do your work colleagues come to you to help them with their projects even though you are swamped with your own duties just because they know you would never turn down an opportunity to help? Do you find yourself endlessly overextended to different projects and different organizations despite your already hectic schedule? If you answered yes to the above questions, congratulations, you are very nice; however, you may also have a small problem using the word "no," thus becoming a doormat, of sorts, to your colleagues, friends and family. If you are tired of being walked all over, try some of the following tips.

Get the thought out of your head that by your saying "no," you are rejecting the other person. When somebody asks you a yes or no question, they have mentally prepared themselves for the possibility of you saying "no" to them, so do not worry about hurting their feelings. Why not try to look at it in this way? When you go to a restaurant and the waiter asks you if you want more coffee, you will say no without hesitation, right? When you say "no," does the waiter turn around, throw the coffeepot down and begin to cry hysterically? No, of course not. Neither will those people you say "no" to, so stop worrying about it.

You must budget both your time and your money and stick to it. For example, just say you have a forty hour a week job and a husband and two kids at home. You know that you always want your Saturday to be free to take your children to their various sports games, your Friday nights to be free for your weekly date with your husband and at least two hours a night for pure quality time with your family. If you are like most people, your priorities always have your family listed above and beyond everything else. If you find that your helping a friend out at work with her job duties and your volunteer work for several organizations is starting to invade your budgeted family time, then you need to say "no" to one or the other. What will you more than likely choose to say "no" to? Ask yourself if you would rather say no to these other non-family commitments or to your family. The choice should be clear. When you make your choices black and white like this, you will see how much easier it is to say no. The same thing goes with your budget. If you find that you are overextending your budget due to your inability to say "no," ask yourself what will hurt more in the long run: saying no to that anonymous telemarketer or not being able to buy groceries for your family.

If you are still finding it hard to tell somebody "no" right away, ask that other person if you can think about it. For example, if your friend asks you if you can babysit for a few hours the next day and you know you have a previous commitment but still feel bad saying "no" right away, let her know that you will check your planner and get back to her. When you get back to her, let her know that you are sorry, but you have a previous engagement that you must attend to. This will give you time to mentally prepare yourself to say "no" to somebody, since it can be quite difficult.

While it will be difficult to say "no" the first couple of times, you will eventually get used to it and realize that being assertive does not necessarily equate to being "mean." It will take a while, but you will see that it is quite natural and okay to be selfish sometimes for the sake of yourself and your family.

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