Why are those two little letters so hard to say, N-O. No.

It should be easy, it is such a short word. But yet, it doesn’t roll off the tongue. It sits there in your mind, refusing to come out.

We have a solution for you, instead of saying No, there are some alternatives.

Why Is It So Hard To Say No?

Many people fear saying no, so instead we take on more than we should, or end up doing things we don’t want to do. There are a couple of reasons why saying no can be hard…

  1. Fear of conflict
  2. Not wanting to disappoint someone

We often say yes because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, don’t want to seem incapable, or simply to make others feel better, even if it isn’t in our own best interests. We will sacrifice our own feelings, just to save someone else’s.

What To Say Instead

Alright, so we know it is hard to say no. But what is easier to say and gets you out of situations you don’t want to be in?

Try these two little words instead… ‘I don’t’

I don’t is a commanding phrase that lets you keep the control. If you use the words ‘I can’t’ then it implies something outside of your control is affecting your decision. People will think that there is a way they can bring you around if they can just fix that outside factor. They will ask why you can’t.

The reality is, there is no outside factor. You just don’t want to do it.

Now you don’t have to come right out and say I don’t want to do those extra 2 hours of work today Mr Bossman. That would be blunt and likely cause the conflict that you were trying to avoid.

But frame your reply in a way that it make a definitive statement about why you can’t say yes.

How To Use I Don’t

Use the phrase to affirm your values and support your best interests. So if someone asks you to go to a party, but you know you have work the next day then you could say ‘I don’t go to parties when I know I have to get up early for work the next day.’ That is a logical statement that would be hard to argue with.

Or if someone asks you to sit in on a meeting at work, you could answer with ‘I don’t take on extra work when I have existing deadlines that I need to meet.’ You are saying no, but you are giving a valid reason why you can’t do what they have asked. It makes you look like a conscientious worker, who wants to do their best.

By using the I Don’t phrase, you can show people what your priorities are and that you are responsible in your reasoning. There are no outside factors affecting your decision and you are in control of the situation.

So next time one of those awkward ‘no’ situations pops up, try a powerful I Don’t phrase instead!