Keen to learn more about inclusive workplaces? Want to be inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community? Download our special report with Randstad India on making Inclusion without Exception happen
Do you have problems in saying an assertive ‘No’? Then learning to say no is what you must do, either at work or in personal life.
Do you have difficulty in saying ‘NO’? Do you find that you are often taking on more than you can actually handle?
And now you are stuck with your commitments plus the additional work of someone else that you unwittingly took on and told them that, ‘OK I’ll do it for you’.
Are you struggling with these (what I call as excuses), instead of learning to say no?
Are all these thoughts floating in your head right now, as you are struggling to handle the additional work? Then learning to say know is what you need, and this blog is for you.
Often we know that we cannot take on other’s work or we do not want to take on other’s work. It could be due to lack of time or adding to the already existing stress you have in hand or the inability to handle someone’s mess.
Besides it also makes us look weak and insignificant, and we are unwittingly giving the power to the others. We know this at the back of our minds. Yet we take on as we do not know how to say an assertive ‘NO’. It is like self- sabotage. It makes us resentful and more stressed.
Is it fear? Do we want to avoid confrontation? Or do we want to buy temporary peace? Does it help you in the long run? Or did it pull down your confidence level instead? These are valid points to consider.
Take this example. Your colleague wants you to finish his work as he has ‘something else’ important that came up. And of course you oblige. Now you notice that his ‘something important’ is coming up more often, but you still cannot say no. Soon it has become a habit which you cannot now get out of. You may think what if he feels bad, or you think it is OK as it’s just 10 more minutes of my time and let me do it one last time, and then another and another and it goes on.
You are doing yourself a disservice by not learning to say NO.
Saying yes when you mean no to buy peace for now. It is like sweeping the dirt under the carpet. It will surely come one day to bite you, and in a big way.
Saying yes to a request when you actually do not want to is also a cultural thing. Saying no can be considered as rude in many cultures. Or sometimes we perceive saying NO as a weakness. Sometimes the person who is asking, is a good friend, and you don’t want to let them down. And some people are just pleasers by nature and like to say yes all the time, even if they cannot handle it.
These are small things that add up, and it can become a pattern in your life. An inability to say no to people in general. And it comes with the cost. You might start complaining and whining, and believe me, at that time, nobody wants to listen to you and then you start becoming resentful. Guess who’s to blame now?
Were you not trying to be kind and accommodating? Then why is this happening?
Think again. When you start accommodating at your cost, it is at the cost of your time, at the cost of your efficiency. You are not helping the other person nor are you helping yourself. In fact you’re getting into this circle of complaining, of self pity, of being resentful. Eventually it takes a toll on your confidence level, on your ability to be productive.
How can you tell your friend, your colleague ‘No’ when they make a request, and you really don’t want to do it or don’t have the time for it, and yet you don’t want to sound rude, and definitely don’t want them to feel bad about it?
So here is one thing you can think about the next time somebody comes and ask you for a favour and you really want to say ‘No’. Instead of just saying NO in their face, try changing the language in which you convey it to them, perhaps. You can be polite and say, “Can I get back to you” or “I really wish I could help you, but you know what, I really have this bit of work that needs my attention, so sorry.” This can help you gracefully navigate your way out. That is one way, where you are at least not being rude.
There may be times where it is your superior who is making a ‘request’. A way to handle this is to do it this time, but choose a better time when the person is more relaxed and just explain your pressure to them. Maybe they will understand.
Eventually people will get it that you are no more a soft target. I think speaking up for yourself earns more respect than just doing favours and extra work for others which can appear as a sign of weakness.
When it comes to family, sometimes you just have to say yes whether you like it or not, and it’s ok. But at some point, you have to learn to draw your boundaries.
What does ‘draw your boundary’ mean? It means you define in your head that this is the extent to which you can stretch yourself and help people, and this is the point where you do not want to, and you say a ‘NO’ in an assertive and nice way. You will do this because it’s going to decrease family members dumping their issues and work on you, and will also help you feel more confident and stronger. You do not want to be taken for granted, or overwork and stress yourself so much that finally you have no energy left for yourself or for others in this bargain.
First published here.
Image source: a still from the film Masaan
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Ms. Geeta Ramakrishnan, Author of #1 Amazon Best Seller book ‘The Game of Change’
Intimidated by the overwhelming task of handling multiple roles in today's high-pressure world,
Ms. Geeta shares the “aha” moment read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Stop glorifying biological parenthood - other methods of growing a family are just as valid, and completely a couple's choice, especially of the woman whose body goes through pregnancy and birth.
Stop glorifying biological parenthood – other methods of growing a family are just as valid, and completely a couple’s choice, especially of the woman whose body goes through pregnancy and birth.
Trigger Warning: Contains derogatory remarks about having a baby through surrogacy or any means other than giving birth through biological means, and may be triggering, especially to adoptive parents.
Recently Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced parenthood by surrogacy. This has once again sparked the debate about ethical surrogacy, which is a discussion for another day.
Arathi Rajagopalan, founder of 'House of Kalart', talks about thinking like a designer & transitioning to thinking like a business owner.
Excerpts from an interview with Arathi Rajagopalan, founder of ‘House of Kalart’ – a fusion jewellery label that merges global aesthetics and traditional craftsmanship.
When did you start ‘House of Kalart’ and what was the intention?
I started House of Kalart in 2017 as a venture where painting, drawing and embroidery are married with metalsmithing to create well-handcrafted fashion jewellery. Along with painting and styling, the venture aims to create a holistic fashion experience for a bold and dramatic woman!” As a child, I had always been fascinated by arts and crafts.
Two women share their marriage issues, one whose husband is having an affair and the other’s whose in-laws are unsupportive. What would you suggest?
I had a love marriage with no family support. Now it is, 9 years of relationship and 7 years of marriage. It’s 10 months now; my husband is having an affair with his ex-colleague’s wife. My husband does not work anymore. I talked to the lady and her husband too, and both seem calm about it. They have a 3 year old baby too. I fought, begged and did every possible thing to stop my husband from continuing the affair. Instead of paying heed to me, he just left the house. I had to beg him to come back, which he did. Now things are worse. He is verbally and physically abusive. No one is there to stand by me. My husband says that we can be happy this way too. But I can’t find time to spend with my husband. He is always busy on whatsapp, video call or phone with the other woman. My mother in law has asked me to stay calm as many men have second wives. Even the lady’s husband is quite about it. We don’t have kids and my husband says that he is with me because of money. My life has become a living hell. What should I do now? Please help.
It’s an unfortunate situation to be in and one should keep one’s mental balance intact as this is the only support you can have in the circumstances.
If you could pass on one learning to young women starting their careers, what would it be? Here I share some excellent advice from successful women in different fields of work.
Almost 15 years ago, when I began work as a Management Trainee, fresh out of B-School, my first boss (who is, incidentally, quoted later on here) taught me one of the most important things that impacted my career.
“Is it ‘need to know’ or ‘nice to know’? Make sure you know the difference between the two.”