Say no without apologising

The other day I asked if you were a “yes” person, as sometimes saying no can prove very difficult. If you lack confidence, you avoid the straight no, and offer up excuses – creating more complex and apologetic replies when these are batted back at you..

However, a simple “no” can be interpreted as quite aggressive and uncompromising – which may be appropriate, especially with people you don’t know. But we don’t feel comfortable using straight “no” with family and friends, especially in the first instance.

The first aim is to say no without apologizing. You can still give a reason “No, I’ve got to do some work this afternoon” or simply say

“No, its not possible today” or “No I can’t”. The main habit to get out of is starting with an apology – “I’m sorry… ” or “I’m afraid…”

The other person may have a problem, may need something – but you don’t have to take it on board or feel its your responsibility to meet that need.

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