In my last post, I waxed lyrical about the joys of saying yes after having said no for so long. I listed four imperative questions to which I routinely subject myself before I say yes to keep me honest and out of trouble.
Kristen shared a humorous Anne Lamott quote that reminds us of the healing powers of saying no. She also raised the issue of people-pleasing, a universal tendency that I believe comes from a noble desire to connect and get along with others, and possibly ultimately to please the self.
One thing that all these astute bloggers affirmed is our undisputed need to say no; a word at once so easy to pronounce yet at times so difficult to say. A word with such stinging bite destined to chew expectations to bits. A word with such finality designed to disappoint.
And yet, disappoint we must if, to paraphrase Lamott, we are to create a little glade around ourselves in which we can get the nourishment needed in order to serve people from a place of real abundance and health.
And if Albert Camus is right that a rebel is a (wo)man who says no, then so shall we be rebels!
Thus, I present to you 50+ ways to say no to various requests, social or otherwise, for time/sanity/control we simply can’t spare/compromise/relinquish:
1) I can’t do that.
2) I have a conflict.
3) I’ll be out of town (or out of the country, or checked out, or out of range, etc.).
4) I never even considered that.
5) I’m not planning on it.
6) I have no intention of doing that.
7) It’s not part of my agenda for today (or this week, or this month, or this lifetime, etc.).
8 ) I’m unavailable.
9) I’m not interested.
10) It’s not my thing.
11) It’s not a priority for me.
13) I’m just not good at that.
14) I don’t have room in my life for that right now.
SAYING NO WITHOUT SAYING NO:
15) Listen, I have to get going but thanks for asking.
16) I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s looking likely. (For the times when we just don’t know for sure if something is likely to happen.)
17) You go ahead. Let me know how it goes.
18) I promised my _________ some quality time. Insert “family”, “special someone”, etc. in the blank.
19) The last time I did that, I didn’t love it.
20) Been there, done that.
21) I’ll call you when I’m ready to do that.
22) My schedule’s up in the air.
23) I’m focusing on other things right now.
24) My spouse wouldn’t approve. (For more drama, My spouse would divorce me.)
25) I need some alone time right now.
26) If I agreed to this, it would be extremely low priority.
PHILOSOPHICAL NO (ALSO APPLIES TO THOSE WITH COMMITMENT PHOBIA):
27) It’s my policy to be more discriminating about what I commit to now that I’m older (or “wiser”, “experienced”, etc.).
28) Life is too short to commit to things and people we don’t love.
29) I have commitment issues.
CURRENTLY NO THAT LEAVES ROOM FOR A YES:
30) Let me check my calendar.
31) I’ll have to check with my family.
32) I’ll see if I can get a babysitter.
33) I need more information.
34) I’ll have to think about it.
PASSING THE BUCK NO:
35) It’s out of my hands.
36) My jurisdiction doesn’t cover that.
37) I love the cause, but I’m not the best person to execute.
38) I’m afraid I’m not the right person for it.
39) I’m slammed right now but let me recommend ____________ who would be excellent at that.
40) I don’t want to hold you up so feel free to ask someone else.
41) I bet you’ll find someone who can do a better job than I can.`
42) I’ll have to check with the powers that be.
43) My mother taught me not to say yes to everything.
CONSIDERATE AND GENTLE NO:
44) Sounds tempting but I’ll have to pass.
45) I wish I could but I simply can’t.
46) I better pass. I don’t want to make anybody sick.
FATAL ATTRACTION/RESTRAINING ORDER NO:
47) Absolutely not.
48) For the last time, no.
49) Talk to my lawyer.
AND FINALLY, SOME TONGUE-IN-CHEEK NO (aka as REJECTS):
50) I’d rather beat myself with sticks than do that (or crawl on broken glass while firewalking, or pose as a pinata for adolescent boys, etc.)
51) I prefer to lick my wounds in private (or with strangers, or with Dom & Beluga, etc.)
52) I no longer do things that depress me (or kill me softly, or rub out the thin line between truth and fiction, or confirm my ignorance, etc.).
53) I’ll do it if you do my grocery shopping for a year (or do my laundry, or pay my bills, etc.).
54) I’m on fire for the idea but the execution leaves me icy.
55) My window for this is now or never. Gotta go.
56) I’d like a hefty chunk of the back end. (Very presumptuous and very vague.)
57) Fax me about it when I’m on vacation. (Faxing is hopelessly out of date and being on vacation further de-prioritizes the request.)
58) My phone is ringing. (Phones are meant to ring. The mere sound of the phone ringing does not indicate its importance.)
59) Asking me to do this is like apples and oranges. (Purposely does not make sense and meant to confuse the other person.)
Do you have trouble saying no sometimes? Are you generally understanding of others if/when they say no to you? Do you think the challenges of saying no are more imagined than real? Do you have a preferred way of saying no that you’d like to share?
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