How to Say No to Someone You Love

Say No to Someone You Love

A Little Finesse Can Go a Long Way

Saying no to anyone can be difficult. However, when you are faced with the possibility of letting someone down that you really care about, sometimes a little finesse (or a lot) can go a long way towards strengthening the future of your relationship. Here are five tips to consider before you say no again.

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1. Listen, Understand and Empathize
By taking time to understand the request of your loved one and affirming that you have an understanding of their needs, you show support for their efforts even though you may not be able to do exactly what they are asking. Because deep down, we all have the need to be understood and supported by our loved ones, and even if the answer is no to their request, you will appear more supportive and empathetic if you take the time to hear them out before you say no.

2. The Strength of Don’t Versus Can’t
I can’t is a wishy-washy answer that is often used to place the blame on something or someone else. It may make you feel like less of the bad guy, but a better choice would be to use the word, don’t. There is strength in don’t. It may refer to a value system you have, which leaves little room for negotiation. Saying that you can’t take a day off from work is much less powerful than saying you don’t miss work days because it makes it impossible to catch up. If you’re going to say no, own up to your decision by making yourself the person who has the final say.

3. You Should Never Leave Them Hanging
Giving a loved one hope only makes saying no all the harsher in the end. In other words, by suggesting you are thinking about their request, or waiting on somebody else to give you an answer, you may make yourself and them feel better, initially. But once you say no it will be even more hurtful. This is because maybe is almost as good as a yes to some people.

4. How Explanation Can Lead to Compromise
Most requesters are also going to prefer you offer up a reason as to why you can’t help them at this time. If you are fumbling for a good reason, use your current goals as a starting point. Explain where you are having difficulty meeting your own goals. Explain that they are your priority. They can’t blame you for putting your own goals first. After all, they have goals that they are trying to accomplish too. Maybe they’ll offer to help you in return as a compromise.

5. When No Can Become a Yes
When no is applied properly, it can become an invitation for negotiation and compromise. It’s not that you don’t want to help; it’s just that it would be better if they could offer you help in return. A no can become a yes if the architecture of the request is changed in such a way that they can help you reach your goals while you help them reach theirs.

2 thoughts on “How to Say No to Someone You Love

  1. Julie Painchaud

    Great suggestions. I am a single person in my family. I feel like I have become important because I am at an age where I am getting attention and wondering if it is because of my assets. I have wonderful support people In my business and personal life that I want to support with what they need if anything happens to me because they were there for me always.


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