How do you say “no” without insulting the other person, feeling consumed with guilt, or hurting your own credibility? We need to find a way to say “no” without dragging up all of those HIDDEN FEARS — they’ll think I’m lazy or selfish, that I have no career drive, that I’m not ambitious, that I have no concern for other people. And it’s time to give up all of those roles you’re so proud of — supermom, martyr, hero — but are keeping you from finding true peace. Once you’ve accepted that you have the right (and often responsibility) to turn someone down, you can do it in a way that doesn’t seem like a REJECTION. This is what I had learned from an article. Let me show you how:
1. “I CAN’T RIGHT NOW, BUT I CAN DO IT LATER”
If you really want to help the person but don’t have time now, tell them so. Offer a later time or date — if they can’t wait for you they will find someone else.
2. “I’M REALLY NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB”
If you don’t feel that you have adequate skills to take on a task, that’s okay. It’s better to admit your limitations up front than feel overwhelmed down the road.
3. “I JUST DON’T HAVE ANY ROOM IN MY CALENDAR RIGHT NOW”
Be honest if your schedule is filled! It just means you have scheduled as much as you are willing and you’re stopping to accept any new ones.
4. “I CAN’T, BUT LET ME GIVE YOU THE NAME OF SOMEONE WHO CAN”
If you aren’t available to help out, offer another qualified resource. Professionals do this all the time when they refer a client to a colleague.
5. “I HAVE ANOTHER COMMITMENT”
And it doesn’t matter what that commitment is. It could be a meeting or any appointment. The point is, you aren’t available.
6. “I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF SEVERAL PROJECTS AND CAN’T SPARE THE TIME”
Let people know that you have other accepted responsibilities — no one is going to fault you for having already filled your schedule.
7. “I’VE HAD A FEW THINGS COME UP AND I NEED TO DEAL WITH THOSE FIRST”
It happens that unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off.
8. “I WOULD RATHER DECLINE THAN END UP DOING A MEDIOCRE JOB”
Knowing that you aren’t able to deliver a quality product — for whatever reason — is reason enough for turning a request down.
9. “I’M REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON MY PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE RIGHT NOW”
People act ashamed of wanting to spend time with their families — like it means they don’t have goals. Having a strong family is a goal in and of itself!
10. “I’M REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON MY CAREER RIGHT NOW”
The reverse is true also — you may have to give up some civic or community duties to focus your energies on a work-related task (and that’s fine, too!)