How to say ‘No’ gracefully

They say ‘sorry’ seems to be the hardest word and NO seems to be the most difficult!

We often land in situations where we cannot accept a request, a proposal, an offer and it is extremely hard to reject it in the face. When we aren’t prepared to do something someone is requesting us to do, it can lead to a lot of discomfort for both.

Let us first look at why should we say a NO when we cannot help for various reasons:

Often we end up doing it for the sake of not hurting this person or we end up doing it and hating own self for doing it. It does not end there. For the next time, this person knows your inability to say NO and will surely expect you to repeat the favor soon. The saga then continues.

So, how does one get out of it, make sure the relationships are not affected and the conscious also does not kick you endlessly?

If the person asking you is:

In a position of higher authority/ Influence: Give a convincing reason which makes you unavailable to do what has been asked. Or, communicate inability from the perspective of “not being the best person to handle it”. In fact, propose alternate options if it helps to get out of it smoothly.

A peer: A neighbour/ friend/ relative/ work colleague: Helps to stay honest and convey straight up. This will help to stay out of a routine habit from counterparts

Junior: A polite no without looking adamant or stuck up. Letting them know the WHY to help make it a convincing decline.

Stranger: A random sales agent/ stranger seeking help could end up being pushy and persistent to drive this harder. This opportunity being their only shot at making it happen. Be nice, polite and absolutely firm.


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