I don’t care if you run a business, work a 9 to 5, lead a family, or a little bit of everything, there will always be someone that will ask you to hook them up with something free or do them a favor. Having a giving spirit is a blessing, but when the wrong people take wind of that generous side of you, it can also be a burden sometimes. Of course you want to see people smile, you want people to love you, and you want everyone that comes within 2 feet of your presence and aura to be happy with loving and nice things to say about you. However, at what cost? Being a giving person is awesome but if the price you pay is a hefty sum of your sanity and self-respect, it’s time to reevaluate your giving strategy.
Examples of the Types of People I’m referring to…
- Someone who is always asking for money or for you to pay for things that they want.
- People who ask for free merchandise out of your store or business with no intention of paying for it.
- Someone who keeps asking for your clothing, shoes, electronics or devices, or to borrow your car.
- People who enlist you for projects that they’re doing without discussing compensation
- Someone who wants to barter items and favors that you don’t want
- Individuals who use their relation to you/the amount of years you’ve known them as an excuse for why you should do something for them.
- Anyone who gets mad because you said “no” or “I’ll think about it”
Consider why you can’t say no or why the way you say no isn’t translating for those that need to hear it. For me, my issue was confrontation and my unfiltered way of speaking. Often I think back on the days when I didn’t care how people felt about my words or actions and how often I would find myself in verbal (and sometimes physical) confrontations. I don’t want to be that person again, nor do I want to push myself into that mood of being defensive or aggressive. I also had an issue of not biting my tongue. I grew up in an environment where you had to have tough skin. Family and friends would say some very straight forward and harsh things, that may or may not be true, and you would just have to suck it up. So when I speak, I find myself thinking about the person who’ll receive my unfiltered words and how I could very well hurt them. Despite being stretched to my capacity or overwhelmed beyond belief when someone asked something of me, I was always ready and willing to make them happy or to see them smile.
All that “Yes” can lead to some negative responses down the road. Not only will you start to feel animosity for going above and beyond your comfort and energy level, but you’ll also start to think perhaps maybe you’re being taken advantage of. How many times have you replayed the conversation in your head or tallied all the favors and deals you handed out to a certain individual until it made you steaming mad? How often do you roll your eyes, suck your teeth, or cursed a tight lip verbal lashing under your breath because you were frustrated by how often you were being pulled into doing something for someone that you honestly couldn’t or didn’t want to do? I used to find myself fuming about the situation, knowing the whole time it was my fault for failing to say I wouldn’t or couldn’t approve the request.
The secret to saying “No!” to the things you don’t want to do is knowing first of all that regardless of how this person reacts, I’m still blessed. Don’t be afraid to lose friends, family, or opportunities because you chose to say “no”. Know that you are still a good person no matter what. Often you’ll find someone try to take you on an unsolicited guilt trip, but whatever…. You don’t have to do anything unless you want to.
I’m all about communication these days, so don’t shy away from saying what you need to say. I used to look back and come up with ways to say no, after the fact, but at the time I was too afraid it would hurt someone’s feelings. Nowadays, I realize that my sanity and well-being are equally, if not more important than all the favors I could do for everyone. If I can’t take care of myself, I won’t be around healthy enough to do anything for anyone.
Best Ways I’ve Learned to Say “No!”
- I’m sorry I don’t have time in my schedule for XYZ, however I know someone that may be able to help you with that…
- I appreciate the fact that you like XYZ, many of my customers love it as well. However, since it’s only $XXX I’m sure you can understand that you’re getting it at a deal.
- I value my business/time & I would love to help you. What’s your budget for XYZ, so that I can if we have anything that will specifically fit your needs?
- I understand times are hard, however I do request XYZ for XYZ…
- Unfortunately, I don’t have time/the budget/the energy for XYZ, however I can suggest ….
- I appreciate you considering me/asking me, however….
The truth is, we’ve all been soft at a time or another. It’s great to give and be the one to make people happy. However, if you find yourself feeling as if you’re being taken advantage of or you’re overwhelmed with responsibilities, it’s time to shut the favor freight down. There isn’t anything wrong with taking steps to ensure you don’t grow bitter, mean, or angry. Saying “no” and being a little more objective about what you do and for whom the favor is for is extremely healthy for your mind, body, and soul. Come home from that guilt trip already, and realize that the people who can’t handle your assertive decline to help them, probably didn’t care about you in the first place. If you start to see people fall off your contacts list of friends and family, that is just the universe’s way of making room for greater people and things. No need to do or be something that you don’t agree with to keep someone around who only comes to you for something. Stand up for yourself! Say “No!”
This is something I had to teach myself (over and over again). I appreciate being in a position to help people. I love the smile on someone’s face when I can do something positive for them. Nevertheless, with all that love and appreciation, I don’t like feeling obligated. Obligation gives me gas. I’m serious, it’s uncomfortable. I should want to give, help, donate, volunteer, etc. When I feel like a relationship, friendship, or business opportunity will be at jeopardy if I refuse or postpone, I’m not feeling it. There have been times where I hated myself for pushing myself to do things I didn’t want to do because I didn’t want to upset someone else. Don’t be that person. I gave up on trying to impress people a while ago, and nowadays I don’t tolerate just anything. So if saying “no” makes anyone uncomfortable, I bid thee farewell. I’m only doing what I want to do…. With no obligation, no favors, or hookups… unless I want to.