So today I want to talk about that awful situation…the one where you have to say ‘no’ to someone you really don’t want to let down. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to stand up for ourselves and let down someone that might be relying on you. Whether you let them down for selfish reasons, or for unavoidable reasons, it really does suck either way.
I had to do this recently. Unfortunately I had to let someone down. It was partly a miscommunication, and partly a personal choice. But it didn’t stop me feeling terrible about it. Sometimes, you just need to put yourself first. Your mental health, your physical health, your family, these things all need to take precedent on certain aspects of your life. If something is going to negatively affect you, whether it be small or large, don’t feel pressured to go through with it. (You know, unless you have to, like having a really important blood test or paying for that Curly Wurly from the corner shop.)
When saying no to this particular person, the guilt I felt was immense. I know I didn’t handle the situation well, and I know I could have been better at communicating my points, but I let my nerves get the better of me. All because, sometimes YOU have to come first.
So here are a couple of tips for saying ‘No’:
- Have your reasons ready. Realistically, you don’t need to give a reason for not wanting to do something, but at the same time, an honest reason is better than not having one at all.
- Know what you’re saying ‘no’ to. There’s nothing worse than deciding not to do something and then regretting your decision when its too late! Just know the facts before you decide.
- Stand your ground. Don’t be persuaded to do something you don’t want to do once you’ve said ‘no’. If you give in, you’ll be expected to give in every time, making it harder in the future to say ‘no’.
- Deal with the guilt. Guilt is a horrible thing. When you think you’ve let someone down the feeling can be crushing. But you have to understand, if that person really cares about you, they will understand why you don’t want to be a part of something. You might be letting them down, but surely that’s better than them making you feel crap because you’re not happy.
- Prepare for the fallout. Now I can’t promise there won’t be fallout, and that everyone will be happy and singing and skipping around sniffing daisys and hugging. But by preparing for the fact that you might be in the dog house for a day or two, maybe a week, then you’ve already eliminated the fact that you will be surprised when they’re not happy with you. That sounds silly, but by accepting the fall out as opposed to fearing it, the stress of saying ‘no’ will deplete significantly.
So for the future, don’t be scared to say ‘no’ to people. Its not always nice, but you know what, sometimes you just have to come first. And thats ok.