We’ve all been there before. Someone we know asks us to do something we really don’t want to do but we feel obligated to say yes. So through gritted teeth or maybe a fake smile we nod our heads and say yes while on the inside we’re screaming, “NO!”
Maybe a friend asks you to watch her kids and you’re kind of busy and the last thing you want to do is throw more chaos and mess into the mix. Maybe it’s your child’s teacher asking you to help in the classroom. It could even be a family member asking you to host the next big family dinner but hosting just isn’t your thing.
How do you say no? Does saying no make you a bad person? Jody Moore from Bold New Mom, teaches that PEOPLE PLEASERS ARE LIARS. Ouch. Let me explain, people pleasers are indeed lying to BOTH the person they’re agreeing to help by saying, “Yes, I’d love to help”- when they really and truly don’t want to AND they’re lying to themselves by putting something/someone else in front of what you believe is true and right for you.
If I knew my friend only said yes to watching my kids out of obligation I’d feel terrible the whole time I was gone or worrying that I’ve put her in a bad spot and created more of a hardship for her. I certainly don’t want to create a situation where she might become resentful of me.
The cure…HONESTY and AUTHENTICITY. We have to be true and genuine in our relationships. Saying, “Sure, I’d be glad to help” is people pleasing when you don’t really mean it. But if you say, “You know, my day is packed and I’m feeling overwhelmed already. I’d really rather not add extra kids to my day but if you really need me to and you’re in a bind, I can do that for you.” Then I’ve been honest with her and with myself. You don’t even have to give any reasons for it if you don’t want to. You could say this: “I don’t want to but I will if you need me to.” – still being honest and not giving the list of reasons why you don’t want to.
I’m also not building secret resentment when I’m forthright. Maybe she still says, “yeah, I’ve got no one else. I really do need help.” Her honesty will give you the opportunity to see the situation differently now and give you and chance to respond how you want to in light of the new information. But both people have taken the friendship into deeper waters instead of just remaining on the shallow surface now. Even with the new information, you can still say no.
If someone were to ask me to fix their car. They’re stuck and they need help and they’re asking me to do that for them, my response is going to be no. I don’t know how to do that, I don’t really want to learn how to do that. I understand they’re in a bind so I can offer them suggestions as to who else might be better equipped to help them or maybe I offer to help in a different way that feels more genuine to me. But no, I cannot help you fix your car. If I said yes, then I’d be people pleasing and hating having to learn how to do it and then trying to figure out how to actually do it.
The BEST WAY to say no, (courtesy of Jody Moore again), is: “I love you, but no.”
Saying this tells the other person that you do indeed value them but you can’t give them what they’re asking for right now.
Of course, the other person is going to be disappointed that you said no – no matter how nice you say it. That’s part of human nature. Think about how you feel when someone says no to you. But it’s OKAY to say no and even for us to HEAR no. But this process takes your relationship to a more genuine place. By being honest, your friend will know that when you do say yes, you really mean it and they’ll never have to wonder if you’re only saying yes out of obligation.
Think about how awkward it feels not to know if someone says yes because they mean it or if they’re only saying yes out of obligation. It’s a terrible feeling and it creates OH-SO-MUCH-DRAMA in your head!
I have a family member who I love a lot. This person is so kind and always says yes when we ask for help. Sounds great, right? But it’s not really. I never know if this person is saying yes because they want to or because they feel like they have to. It’s a terrible feeling. Then, trust for them is questioned and whether or not I’m going to continue asking this person for help? I don’t really want the mental drama attached to it so most of the time I’m just not going to ask at all or find someone else that will be honest with me.
We flock towards people who are authentic and honest. This includes being able to say yes and no AND being able to hear yes and no from others.
Don’t get me wrong, Saying yes to helping others and serving is such a beautiful thing and we should strive to serve as much as we can but service is EVEN BETTER when you give from a place of LOVE and honesty.
If you can’t say yes and genuinely mean it – don’t do it. Sometimes it’s best to respond with this: “I need some time to think about it” – then you can give yourself some time to get to that loving space or time to know that, “No, this won’t be a good fit for me”.
There have been PLENTY of times where I’ve been asked to do something and my initial reaction is “NO WAY” but as I think about it for a little while maybe I can get to a place where I know I’m GOING to be GLAD I did it or that I will LOVE it once I’m there – then absolutely, I say yes.
This is somewhat of a touchy subject and no one knows the answer to how to respond to each situation but YOU. How do you feel about it? Be honest with yourself – don’t just say no because it’s an easy out – we want to stretch ourselves but we also want to serve for the right reasons.
Remember, the natural man would say no to just about everything that isn’t easy or comfortable so we have to think about it from a future perspective. Ask yourself these questions:
Will I be glad I said yes?
Will this help me grow?
Does this fit with WHO I’M STRIVING TO BE?
Do I like my reasons for saying yes?
Can I say yes out of LOVE and not obligation?
One last thing, when we say, “I love you, but no” STOP THERE. We don’t EVER have to give a long list of reasons WHY we’re saying no. It’s none of their business. If you WANT to share, then by all means, share! But just know YOU DON’T HAVE TO. They might not understand your journey or your reasoning, in fact most of the time they won’t – and it’s okay that they don’t. It’s not their life. You get to live with you and all the chatter in your head. Make sure you like what you’re hearing and remember that saying, “I love you, but no” is a complete sentence.
The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it, the opportunity to serve and give. Make it a goal to be more honest and authentic in your relationships. Show more love to yourself and to others by being willing to be brave and say no when needed. Remember to yourself those questions and share LOVE in the world and NOT people pleasing. You can do it!
Images courtesy of freepik.com
Reference: Jody Moore at BoldNewMom.com