How to Say “No” Respectfully

We aim to please, but sometimes saying “No” to a request can be a hard thing to do. Licensed Therapist Christian Smith, from Change Happens, Inc. in Chicopee, shared tips on how to say “no” without feeling guilty.

How to Say “No” Without Feeling Guilty

Know and honor your limitations. The more organized you are the more you will be able to help others. If you know you don’t have the time don’t commit!

I am “Responsible to” not “responsible for” – If I make a commitment to help somebody it’s my responsibility to help, I am never responsible for resolving the problem. It’s one thing to feel for somebody’s situation and want to help it’s another thing to take it on as your own problem

Sometimes the best help you can give is supporting someone’s independence – I always look to support someone’s self efficacy and don’t assume that they can’t figure it out on their own.

Gut check! – Am I just uncomfortable with watching someone have a hard time? Do I just want to rescue them? Exercising some self-awareness is helpful to people who find that they constantly are over committing themselves.

Service with a smile – A good goal for someone who often says yes out of guilt is to say “yes” with contentment and no regret. If you do it and feel great about it then it is truly a win-win.

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