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  • Writer's pictureMisti Luke, LCSW

No Is Not A Two Letter Dirty Word.

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Are you a yes-person? Do you sometimes immediately agree to requests, and later find yourself feeling stressed, wondering how you can possibly juggle it all?

Declining via text

Whether the repeated "YES’s" come from an innate urge to help, fear of disappointing those you care about or, to avoid potential conflict, you should never feel obligated to give an answer right away.

Buy yourself some time instead, then give yourself permission to say NO.

“I can’t give you an answer at the moment, please check with me tomorrow.”

Buying yourself some time does two things. First, it sets a boundary, which removes stress associated with giving an immediate answer. Second, and most importantly, buying yourself time allows you the opportunity to fully process what is being asked of you.

Once you have time to fully process what the question is, you can better take into account other obligations, time constraints and personal limitations.

NO is not a two letter dirty word. In fact, declining offers and requests is actually a wonderful way of saying YES to yourself by establishing and maintaining boundaries on a daily basis. Saying "NO" can also help promote self-confidence.

Now, let’s assume you bought yourself some time. Let's pretend tomorrow is now today. How can you gracefully decline an offer without appearing lazy, rude or uncaring? To begin, it's important to use "I" statements when declining. For example, one of the quickest ways to offend someone is to begin a sentence with the word "YOU." Instead, speak from a place of sincerity, use an even voice tone, make direct eye contact and then…. give yourself permission to say no, gracefully of course.

"I just don’t have the extra time needed right now to complete x y and z"

"Unfortunately, my current schedule will not allow me to get involved, but I’m honored you thought of me."

"What a wonderful idea, if I weren’t already so busy, I’d love to help."

"I’ll have to decline for the time being, but if something changes, you will be the first to know."

Misti Luke is a licensed mental health professional specializing in adult anxiety and depressive disorders in Southeastern Oklahoma. For more information, 580-706-2082


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