December 19, 2006

Saying No...!

Consider this:

You are sitting in your office, buried under files, hidden behind the computer screen, eyes red, fingers weary and hoping that the day would get over soon. In walks your colleague or boss and with a disarming smile, says, "Hey, could you do this for me?"

You want to scream and say: "Can’t you see I am busy? Do you see me doing nothing?"

Instead, your lips break into a smile, and these words come out of your mouth,
“Yes, of course, No big deal."


You are sitting at your home on a lazy sunny day, holiday of course. A friend comes over or calls, "Hey do you want to go for that movie?" or something similar. You know what you want to do. You want to sit in the sun all day long, doing nothing. But you hear yourself say, "Sure, what time?"

I am sure most of us have faced one or both of the situations described above.

What is it that makes it so difficult for a person to say no, even when he wants to?

After each unsuccessful attempt, one tells himself that this is the last time.

"Next time, I am saying no." Whatever happens happens.

But come next time and the "No" doesn't come out. The reason I think is that we don’t want the other person to think of us in a negative light. It is the person deep inside, who wants to be liked by everyone, who makes one say yes. Sometimes one thinks that the other person trusts us and came to us to get his job done and saying no would be the equal of breaking his trust, and we don’t want to do that.
Whatever the reasons might be, sometimes the inability to say no causes more harm than good.

You fail to do what you wanted to do for the other person and your own work suffers too. The other person, instead of understanding the effort you put in, only sees that you did not do what you were supposed to and sometimes even the relationship, you were trying to improve, suffers.

How do you do when it comes to saying no? Are you able to say no, when needed?


Invisible Blogger said...

Oh I use to be HORRIBLE about that! The only person worse than me was, quite possibly, my cousin who always said yes and then if she couldn't or didn't want to follow through-- just didn't answer her phone or door.

At any rate: yes, it's because we want to be liked; seen as helpful; or whatever. After many years of being stepped upon in many ways.. I learned to say no. Saying no can be kind and loving.. and if your reason is good, they'll understand. "I'd love to help you out but I'm so swamped already. I wouldn't be able to give it the attention it deserves" or "I'd like to but today I had planned to spend with my family, So sorry." and so on. :-)

I've yet to have anyone dislike me for it.

Whatever said...

But that is a wonderful chance to say: "yes! Joe over here would be glad to help you!" }:-D

Dave Dragon said...

Learning to say no to management is a skill not every one can master. The desire to please can be a strong behavior to overcome.

I have 14 direct reports and encourage them to tell me NO when appropriate and to back up that NO with tangible analysis indicating why NO is the correct answer.

I do the same with my upstream management and peers at work.

When dealing with friends & family, one has to take a softer approach as we should consider the feelings of the person making demands on out time.

None the less, when NO is the right answer, stick to it.

Nick Payne said...

Not usually that great at saying no... but then for the most part human beings are sociable creatures and want to have good relations with their neighbour.

I'm not a doormat at home but at work I'm keen to please the people I work with so I cave in easily.

Regards and blessings


Anonymous said...

OMG, that is the story of my life. I think I have trouble saying no because it is never an acceptable answer. If I say no to my boss, he manipulates the conversation so that I have no reason to say no that is not extremely selfish. If I say no to the friend, the friend pesters me that I never do anything to nurish the relationship. Quite frankly, our society has made the word no out to be the most selfish and unacceptable answer to any question.

Bluepanther said...

Invisible blogger: Its true, saying no doesnt have to be bad, if said carefully and with good reason, but unfortunately, I havent learned the art yet.

whateverLOL, True. So true.

Dave I agree. Saying no is important both at work as well as the home, otherwise a person can get into a situation which he was trying to avoid in teh first place.

Nick: The desire to please can get us into a lot of trouble, but I think sooner or later we do realise that it is impossible to please everyone.

Anon: True!!!

The Jamaican adventures of mamachel said...

I'm horrible with sayig no. And yes it does affect your productivity as you end up being stretched so thin nothing gets your full attention. I really didnt think about it until i red this but its true. Not wanting to appear mean sometimes affects us this way.

Joanan said...

I am very good at saying no, coems naturally to me. NO, see, its easy.

Bluepanther said...

mamachel: Yes it does!

joanan:That's really good. not everyone can be good at saying "no". You are one of teh lucky ones!

SunKingpoet said...

Happy Holidays to you, brother.

stev said...

interesting insight by neo & the other commentors as well :)

personally will usually reply outright without too much thought if it's a trivial matter as my initial reaction would tell whether I really want to do something (or not)

if it's work-related though, will have to consider if it's possible

of coz exceptions are there if the person asking really has no choice & for some reason you feel validated to help out. meh.

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