‘No’ can be a hard word to say – especially in the workplace where you might be especially keen to appear amicable, open and accommodating around your bosses and colleagues.
While it’s certainly a good thing to want to please others, it is simply not possible to make everyone happy all of the time and you will end up doing things you don’t want to do simply to avoid conflict. Sometimes, it is necessary for you to sit back and think – ‘what do I want?’
According to Jacqui Marson, author of new self help book ‘The Curse of Lovely: How to break free from the demands of others and learn how to say no’, when you struggle to say no, other people inevitably start taking advantage of you simply because they expect you to say ‘yes’.
1. Take your time over your decision
Sometimes it can be difficult to say ‘no’ when someone asks you something on the spot. The trick here is to take your time over your decision. Say you need to check your diary, or look over something first. This will give you some time to consider whether you are really happy to do what you’ve been asked to do, or if you are only doing it to placate someone else.
2. Be polite but firm
Another trick, according to Jacqui, is to be as polite as you can. Say something like – ‘Thank you very much for asking, but this time I’ll have to pass. Good luck with it.’ Polite assertiveness is very difficult to argue with.
3. Look like you mean it
Team your confident wording with confident body language. If you look like you’re in two minds, or if you come across overly apologetic and guilty, then the other person may sense a soft spot and continue probing it. Jacqui says: “Ration your smile; it’s lovely but you need to know when to stop, too.”
One study found that people who stand legs hip-width apart with their hands on their hips for two minutes experienced a 20% surge in testosterone levels (the confidence hormone). Before you say ‘no’, go to the toilet and adapt this stance to help you feel more assertive.
Assertiveness is a skill which takes confidence. It is possible to become more confident by changing how you think. Hypnotherapy helps clients to break negative thought patterns and build new, confident ones. To find out more about how this works and how you can find a hypnotherapist dealing with confidence in your area, simply head over to our Self-Confidence page.
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