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  • FIRST POST
    • ripplyuk
    • By ripplyuk 29th Sep 16, 9:47 PM
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    ripplyuk
    How do you say 'No' to people without feeling guilty?
    • #1
    • 29th Sep 16, 9:47 PM
    How do you say 'No' to people without feeling guilty? 29th Sep 16 at 9:47 PM
    I'm really struggling with this. Whenever people ask me to do something, or go somewhere, I find it hard to say no.

    It's everything from friends wanting to meet up or go out more than I can cope with, to doing an activity I'm not really interested in, clubs/charities I'm involved with wanting more help, and family expecting constant visits even though I live far away from them and (with some of them) would just rather avoid them as much as possible. Basically just stuff I don't want to do.

    If I say no, I feel bad because I'm letting people down and disappointing them and they just seem to nag more and more to get me to agree. Or, I end up lying and making up excuses which makes me feel even worse!

    I tend to end up agreeing to everything which means I never have time to do the things I'd really like to do.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with this?
Page 2
    • ripplyuk
    • By ripplyuk 4th Oct 16, 10:14 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
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    ripplyuk
    I used to feel bad about it but then realised that I'm not here to make other people the priority all the time.
    Originally posted by GenericUsername
    That's my problem. I was taught to always prioritise what other people want, no matter what the cost. Although to some people that might sound kind, it's caused a lot of problems for me throughout life.

    I also have mental health problems and just can't cope with a lot of things, or with life being too busy, so if I'm pushed into doing too much, my health suffers.

    I've had a chance to try out saying 'No' a couple of times now. The first wasn't too bad, and I then had time to see a friend who I haven't seen in ages, which was lovely.

    The second time didn't go so well. It's with a local group I try to go to occasionally. I was being asked to commit to going to something I hate, every single weekend until the end of March. It didn't go down well. They were clearly angry and just kept pestering, saying how disappointed they'll be if I don't. I ended up making excuses as telling the truth wasn't working. I've been getting the silent treatment since, obviously to make me feel bad, which is working!
    • tealady
    • By tealady 5th Oct 16, 6:26 AM
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    tealady
    Hi if people are giving you the silent treatment because you said no then I feel this is a form of bullying. If they tried this with me I would drop them PDQ
    Proud to be an MSE nerd
    Judge people by their achievements, not by their mistakes
    • ThemeOne
    • By ThemeOne 5th Oct 16, 7:16 AM
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    ThemeOne
    Asking you to do something (I assume for free) each weekend until end of March is a massive ask, and good for you for refusing. You've said no, so let them stew in their own silence.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 5th Oct 16, 10:21 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention

    The next time someone asks you to do something that you don't want to do, try saying "I'm sorry, I just don't have the time." If they press you, repeat it. If they ask when you will have time, say something vague like "I don't know" or "not for quite awhile" so they don't try to pin you down to something in the future.

    edited to add - don't be drawn into a conversation about why you can't do what someone is asking, people will try to overcome any obstacle you may mention so they can get what they want from you. What you want is equally important. Don't be swayed!
    Originally posted by Thistle-down
    Actually - I wouldnt advocate the "making excuses" thing of saying that one doesnt have time/doesnt know when you will/etc/etc. The reason being that you are likely to be taken exactly at your word and the person asking thinks "Okay - they don't have time now - but maybe in a couple of weeks time" and if they still get the same response then again think "Okay - they don't have time now etc".

    Eventually the asker realises they were told a lie (albeit of the "little white" variety) and basically decides the askee is unreliable/not a straightforward person/etc.

    Far better to say a clear "no" at the outset - and settle the matter right away and have the askee retaining a good opinion of you as reliable/honest/etc.

    Personally - I find that people do seem to take "no" for an answer pretty readily and don't push & push for a different answer. Don't know if it's down to my saying "I'll think about" only when I really am genuinely thinking about it and then going back with an answer (one way or another) once I've done that thinking.

    If I really don't fancy something and I'm quite sure of it - then I'll just say "Not my thing I'm afraid" smiling nicely whilst saying it. That way I guess they just think "Each to their own - they don't fancy that sort of activity". If genuinely busy - I'll say "I'm doing so-and-so" and then the refusal gets accepted straight away too.
    The unexamined life is not worth living.
    • Out, Vile Jelly
    • By Out, Vile Jelly 5th Oct 16, 10:22 AM
    • 2,991 Posts
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    Out, Vile Jelly
    I think you should try and find some more reasonable and less needy friends.

    Most of my friends work and have kids and I know they're busy, so I certainly don't get offended or nag them if they can't make a suggested date. I have a weekly volunteering commitment, but as with many of the volunteers I work full time and have a long commute, so can't always make it. People are still grateful for whatever time we can give.

    It's distinctly weird behaviour to persistently harrass someone to socialise. I don't think you need these people in your life.
    They are an EYESORES!!!!
    • ThemeOne
    • By ThemeOne 5th Oct 16, 10:31 AM
    • 699 Posts
    • 541 Thanks
    ThemeOne
    I think in these kinds of situations you have to take the view that the end justifies the means.

    If you don't want to do things you are asked, then refuse using whatever means makes you least uncomfortable - whether that's a flat no, or some excuse - in a way it doesn't much matter, the important thing is you don't do the thing you're being asked to do.

    Inevitably you will upset some as a result, and you may even lose some "friends", but that will just be fewer people to ask you to do things, so it's a win win. And slowly you will reclaim your time and your life.
    • securityguy
    • By securityguy 5th Oct 16, 10:37 AM
    • 2,046 Posts
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    securityguy
    The second time didn't go so well. It's with a local group I try to go to occasionally. I was being asked to commit to going to something I hate, every single weekend until the end of March. It didn't go down well. They were clearly angry!
    Originally posted by ripplyuk
    You don't need these people in your life. Let me guess: Church?
    • GenericUsername
    • By GenericUsername 5th Oct 16, 10:56 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    GenericUsername
    Ripplyuk,

    Do not let these people make you feel bad. There are some people who just can't seem to accept your answer. To me this shows that they have are not giving you the respect you deserve. Forget about them.

    If you do not wish to make a long-term commitment to something you hate (especially during valuable weekend time), you have every right to say no and stand by that decision.

    Any 'friends' who do not accept that, are not real friends at all.

    There comes a point in life sometimes where you have to put yourself first and put your own happiness above the needs of a group of others.
    • oystercatcher
    • By oystercatcher 5th Oct 16, 1:18 PM
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    oystercatcher
    It sounds daft but have you got a friend or family member who you can practice saying no with? Or even just do it in your head ! Go from the simple to the ridiculous, "would you like a cup of tea? " to "Shall we go swim the channel?" "Would you like a pet elephant?" . Keep practising saying No, no, NO !
    This will just make it easier for you when you have to make these decisions for real.

    Then when you actually manage to refuse something you don't want to do, be proud and treat it as 'time won back', do something you enjoy. It will get easier the more you do it and I think eventually people will respect you more for knowing your own mind and your mental health will improve because you will be doing things you enjoy rather than tagging along unwillingly to something you don't want to do.
    • jozxyqk
    • By jozxyqk 5th Oct 16, 1:45 PM
    • 113 Posts
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    jozxyqk
    It sounds daft but have you got a friend or family member who you can practice saying no with? Or even just do it in your head ! Go from the simple to the ridiculous, "would you like a cup of tea? "
    Originally posted by oystercatcher


    That reminds me of the mother of a former girlfriend. Whenever I went round, she'd offer me a cup of tea / coffee. But if I said no thanks, she went on and on about how it was no trouble, was I sure etc. One time she went on for at least 15 minutes - after that I just said yes, it was easier!


    It wasn't Mrs Doyle btw...
    "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."
  • archived user
    This is how i would say it... No
    • BarryBlue
    • By BarryBlue 5th Oct 16, 6:41 PM
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    BarryBlue
    I have found it far easier to say No as I have got older. It is almost an acquired skill, and I think part of it is because as you get older you worry far less about what other people think of you.

    I routinely used to agree to do favours for people, usually involving running them around in the car. I had a lightbulb moment, however, when I discovered that if I needed a favour those people never stepped up. Now I please myself. If it's something I really want to do, I will change my diary to do it. If I don't want to, I just decline and stick to it. It's easy after a few times.
    We're gonna be alright, dancin' on a Saturday night
    • Lily-Rose
    • By Lily-Rose 5th Oct 16, 6:55 PM
    • 2,104 Posts
    • 6,694 Thanks
    Lily-Rose
    That reminds me of the mother of a former girlfriend. Whenever I went round, she'd offer me a cup of tea / coffee. But if I said no thanks, she went on and on about how it was no trouble, was I sure etc. One time she went on for at least 15 minutes - after that I just said yes, it was easier!
    Originally posted by jozxyqk
    Gosh I HATE this.

    There used to be someone at my old place of work who'd say 'would you like a coffee?' And I (and several other people) would say no thank you.

    Are you sure?

    Yes thanks

    It's no trouble

    No it's fine, I'm good thanks

    I'm making one anyway

    I only had one 20 minutes ago, so no thanks.

    Well if you're sure

    I am, *Smiles*

    10-15 minutes later she would emerge from the kitchen with a coffee for me (AND the others who said no!)

    To me, it's not kindness or helpfulness to do this; it's basically listening to what you say, hearing what you want, but then doing whatever they want anyway, and to hell with what you want. It's totally disrespectful. They are ignoring your wishes. Like you don't matter.

    When someone asks me if I want something, or offers to do something, and I say no, I mean no. To go and do it anyway, as I said, is disrespectful and rude, and shows a lack of respect for you and your wishes.

    As for how can you say no to people all the time:

    When you find out how, please tell me!

    I am better than I used to be, but nowhere near where I want to be.
    Proud to have lost over 3 stone (45 pounds,) in the past year! Now a size 14!

    Slave to 2 mad cats.

    Next time you point a finger; I'll point you to the mirror
    .
    • marisco
    • By marisco 5th Oct 16, 7:43 PM
    • 3,958 Posts
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    marisco
    I'm really struggling with this. Whenever people ask me to do something, or go somewhere, I find it hard to say no.
    Originally posted by ripplyuk

    Yet I would bet that you have come across plenty of people who have no problem saying it to you. Be considerate and thoughtful of others but not to your detriment. It really is okay to say no or to turn people down if you need or want to. If they take issue with that you have to question if they are worth maintaining a relationship with.
    The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own, no apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.
    • ripplyuk
    • By ripplyuk 5th Oct 16, 8:30 PM
    • 1,208 Posts
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    ripplyuk
    Yet I would bet that you have come across plenty of people who have no problem saying it to you.
    Originally posted by marisco
    Yes, though I envy them. I guess everyone knows it's ok to say no to me and it's ok to be honest. It just doesn't seem to work the other way round sometimes!

    I have one friend who's totally honest whenever I suggest something. She happily says 'No, I just don't fancy that' or whatever, and is equally ok with me saying no. It's great because we both know each other's likes/dislikes and there's no problem if one of us is busy/tired etc.

    With this local group (I'll not name it) I think the problem is that I've given in every time previously, especially when they kept pestering me, so they've come to expect it. There's other people in the group that have never done anything extra, and have always said no. No one gets annoyed with them about it.

    I do enjoy it and I like helping out, but it's putting me off going at all if they're going to keep being nasty because I've said no this time. Which is a real shame.
    • JWM
    • By JWM 6th Oct 16, 1:56 PM
    • 263 Posts
    • 402 Thanks
    JWM
    Yes, though I envy them. I guess everyone knows it's ok to say no to me and it's ok to be honest. It just doesn't seem to work the other way round sometimes!

    I have one friend who's totally honest whenever I suggest something. She happily says 'No, I just don't fancy that' or whatever, and is equally ok with me saying no. It's great because we both know each other's likes/dislikes and there's no problem if one of us is busy/tired etc.

    With this local group (I'll not name it) I think the problem is that I've given in every time previously, especially when they kept pestering me, so they've come to expect it. There's other people in the group that have never done anything extra, and have always said no. No one gets annoyed with them about it.

    I do enjoy it and I like helping out, but it's putting me off going at all if they're going to keep being nasty because I've said no this time. Which is a real shame.
    Originally posted by ripplyuk

    Well done for saying no.


    Don't let them bully you into changing your mind. It might be time to consider a break from this group?


    I used to have this problem but am now quite happy to say No. No again. Can you explain which part of No you don't understand? (I did actually say this to a work colleague with a smile on my face, funnily enough she's never asked me again)!
    • ThomasMJacobs
    • By ThomasMJacobs 14th Oct 16, 11:48 AM
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    ThomasMJacobs
    It can be difficult, but just try to explain your situation and be firm on your decision.
    • Lbuk
    • By Lbuk 14th Oct 16, 9:10 PM
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    • 22 Thanks
    Lbuk
    I'm a big believer in putting on others what they would put onto you, more so if you are feeling coerced.

    Instead of being asked, start asking.

    Ask the family to visit you, ask these charity people for favours with your own ambitions, etc.

    You'll find that most will say no and the more you hear it the less you will mind saying no back.

    Those that say yes, you'll mind less saying yes to them.
    • MonicaSmith
    • By MonicaSmith 24th Oct 16, 11:07 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    MonicaSmith
    I can so very well relate with you. I still find it hard to say No to people but I can say I am getting better day by day. I started by saying No to the things that were affecting me the most. If I knew something was happening with me at a regular interval, I would prepare the scene in my mind before hand and practice to say No in my head. It might sound crazy but it did work to an extent. But it wasn't enough. Then I met my boyfriend and he made me realised that my inability to say No to people was not my weakness but my strength because it showed that I cared for peoples' feelings which connected me with them more strongly than anyone else. When you will consider this thing as your strength and not as your weakness, it will be easier for you to use your strength more judiciously becasue you don't need people in your life who want to take advantage of your strength.
    You will know those people who will be asking you to do things not because they are nice to you but they have their own hidden motives. If they don't feel bad in what they are doing, you don't need to either.
    Some people are genuinely nice but you know they will not listen to you. So if you are in a situation where you don't want to meet them, just ignore them for that time and reply after a certain while. I have always found texting rather than talking to be much more helpful and less hurtful while saying No to someone.
    Last edited by MonicaSmith; 24-10-2016 at 11:27 AM.
    • powerwin
    • By powerwin 24th Oct 16, 11:15 AM
    • 319 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    powerwin
    Put yourself first. Work out what you like doing in life and just do that.

    Don't worry what other people think, they can worry about themselves.

    Just say no. I guess it is pleasant to say it in a polite way to avoid hurting their feelings, so something like "I am very busy with work" or "I have some other commitments I must attend to". Keep practicing until you are good at it.
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