Self-confidence: 5 tips to know how to say no, without feeling guilty

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Is it difficult for you to say no to your friend who asks you non-stop, to your family who forgets that you have a personal life, or even to your co-worker who forces you to do part of her work? Find out without delay, to finally assert yourself and learn how to say no tactfully.

Knowing how to "say no", what does that mean?

"Knowing how to say no to someone means being able to defend your resources and set your limits. Sometimes, it is also making concessions that concern others," explains Sylvie Riondel, coach, trained in positive psychology.

There are demands that concern you directly: we want your time, your money, your concentration, your workforce, your love, your knowledge, your body. All your personal resources can be used at one time or another.

There are also the influence games, which one often encounters as a parent or manager. In this case, it is your power over others that some people want to use to their advantage: your ability to arbitrate, choose, decide.

Finally, sometimes you also have to know how to say "no" to things that are not verbally requested, but simply imposed: a fait accompli is presented to you, more or less delicately, as if it were "obvious". "For many people, it is a difficult situation to handle diplomatically," she explains.

We are always in a position to choose and make decisions, and knowing how to assert ourselves, take our place, is essential. Because knowing how to say that it is not affirming what is acceptable, what is legitimate, doing it with tact, preserving the relationship and respecting the interlocutors.

But knowing how to reject something is also in some cases "knowing how to ask", as Sylvie Riondel reminds us, who gives this example: refusing to be in the same office as a person without masks, in these times of Covid, is to find a way to ask them to others to respect us, even if it is not said that way. Because fundamentally, it is mutual respect that is in the balance, respect for the needs and respect for the values of both sides.

Saying "no" to what does not suit us means being able to say "yes" to what we really want. It means regaining control over your time, space, resources, and therefore over your life.

Lack of self-confidence, education Why is it sometimes difficult to say "no"?

Lack of self-confidence can make rejection difficult, but not always. There are people who are not very sure of what their role implies, who have difficulties defining themselves, for example as parents, and who hesitate between being firm and permissive. Others have a strong need to be loved or popular and are afraid of breaking up.

There is also the issue of managing emotions, which is central: the discomfort generated by the idea of "counteracting" the person in front of you or hurting them.

For others, it may simply be a lack of knowledge, which may turn into a lack of interpersonal skills (what turn of phrase to use, with what tone, how to react if it does not work?).

Some people did not have an example as children, or were discouraged (or punished) when they tried to position themselves. So, as adults, they are powerless when it comes to "knowing how to say no" and being assertive.

"I do not know how to say no, to my friends, to my family, to my boss": what are the consequences?

The consequences of not knowing how to say that they cannot be both emotional and tangible. It will depend on the attitude adopted by the person who does not know how to "say no" correctly:

If the person is passive. Inhibited, she will accept too much and end up blaming herself and others.

If the person handles their discomfort aggressively. They will have a more incisive behavior, they will refuse, they will say "no" in a brutal or aggressive way.

If the person is "passive-aggressive". She will oscillate between these two attitudes: accepting too often what she would like to reject, then exploding in aggression under the effect of her frustration and her musings, which, for those around her, is incomprehensible, because the things she did not say and ask clearly .

"When you do not know where the problem is, you can not deal with it. Psychologically, it is hard to see that you can not be genuine and balanced in your relationships, it is very frustrating to start, we ruminate a bit, then we end up transferring our frustration to others, to them. We make us wear the hat of our inability to position ourselves: basically, it would be enough if no one asked me anything. Nothing to refuse ", explains Sylvie Riondel.

The other consequence may be their gaze fixed on us: sometimes they pity us or respect us less. We can also cause irritation, by our hesitation or our relational brutality. Because a rejection must be formulated with tact to be accepted: if it is misdirected, the one in front may feel personally attacked, while what we reject is a behavior.nto, an act, an action, not the person asking or requesting.

Take the time to ask yourself the right questions

To obtain lasting results, and to effectively strengthen your self-confidence, the ideal is to first take the time to ask yourself the right questions, the ones that matter: what are my needs and my values? So what are my priorities and how can I arbitrate between conflicting intentions? Thus, it will be much easier to say "no", if you know what you are saying "yes" to, you will be more stable, more motivated, firmer, and it will be more acceptable to those around you.

Train and gain confidence in yourself

Self-confidence and the ability to be assertive has to work. For small, everyday interactions, training is key! Can not you say no to your friends who ask you a lot, or to your colleague who asks you to do their job? Do not panic, it is not inevitable, but being able to tactfully say no takes practice.

For starters, you can learn typical phrases that will prevent you from saying "yes" without even realizing it. For example: "I need to check my diary before answering you", or simply, "I see your problem, I will think for my part how to help you", or even "I cannot accept, I suggest rather ...".

There are many ways to say "no": we can partially accept, set conditions, postpone response, give explanations, rethink the requestor, offer alternatives, clearly reject with empathy, or be ultra firm if the person persists, even if it means playing the record lined.

Every little step counts for self-confidence and assertiveness every day - start with the small details. Then, more easily, you will finally be able to say "no" with tact, to requests that involve you more, without damaging the relationship with your interlocutor.

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