Under different circumstances, I don’t think I would ever consider writing this post necessary. But the blatant disrespect that people show for the concept of consent disgusts me to my very core. It doesn’t matter who is asking you to do something that you clearly have no interest in, ‘No’ means ‘No’, and that’s the way things should be treated.
In no way does a ‘No’ means a ‘secret Yes’. The very fact that some people will try to guilt-trip you into doing them a favour, or into engaging in a conversation with them, or anything else, when you’ve already refused, makes me sick. And then there’s the age-old excuse of saying that you’re just ‘playing hard to get‘ when you’re genuinely not interested!
Well, this creepy behaviour has got to stop. And I am not blaming anybody here, but if you’ve ever felt that you find it difficult to say ‘No’ to people, then here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to say ‘No’:
Plain and simple. You don’t need to feel guilty about turning people down. It’s not your fault that you’re not interested or simply don’t have the time to invest in whatever you’ve just been asked to do. So when you do turn down somebody, do it politely. There is absolutely no need to get nasty about it, but at the same time, if the person won’t back down even after you have refused, you are at full liberty to be a little harsh and drive your point home.
Don’t be afraid to say it twice.
The problem with a lot of people is that they will try to rope you into doing their work by asking you again and again. Don’t give into doing something that you don’t want just because they have been begging you to do so. Some people will make a habit of it, and soon you’re going to end up being their errand rat. So, don’t let it come to that. It’s okay to say ‘No’ once again and get back to focusing on things that matter a lot more.
Don’t say ‘Let me think about it’ when you’re not interested.
Let’s be honest for a second here. When you say you need time to think about it, you’re just delaying the inevitable. Why drag things way past their limit? Avoid giving people false hopes so that they can approach somebody else, or better yet, do their own work. Besides, you’ll only end up letting them talk you into doing them the very favour that you don’t want to. Why put yourself through that?
Don’t go on and on about how sorry you are.
Honey, I get it! I get that you feel terrible about the possibility of having offended someone just because you couldn’t do what they asked of you. Let me tell you something: it’s not a crime! Don’t undermine your consent. You don’t owe anybody an explanation as to why you can’t do something they wanted you to. Your choice matters. You don’t have to drag the conversation ahead.
Remind yourself of what you’ll get yourself into.
Look. When you are doing someone a favour, it’s going to cost you. Even if it doesn’t cost you money, it can cost you time, it can cost you a good night’s sleep, it can cost your mental health. Nothing ever comes free and if you’re accepting to do something your head and heart aren’t in, you’re just going to end up disrespecting your own self and waste time and energy on things when you could have been doing so much better.
These are the few basics of how you can turn people down without sending yourself tumbling down the road of crippling guilt. And since we’re already on the topic, I am going to talk about the many ways you can politely say ‘No’ to people.
And always remember that your choice matters. Don’t let anybody take that away from you.
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