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Saying “No”

I am the world’s biggest sucker when people ask me to do things. When Bridoodle wants to be held, she knows exactly how to cry to get me to come pick her up. And that’s just the beginning. At work, I’m stretched thin with everything that I do. This semester, my work week will be 65+ hours long.

So, last night when one of the sweet ladies from church called and asked me to help with 1st grade G.A.’s (Girls in Action), I really should have said no. I wanted to say no. But I didn’t want her to think that I was a slacker. Everyone at church just assumes that I have so much free time because I’m a teacher.

Last night, I told Hubs that she’d called me, and he replied “You told her no. Right? You know that you don’t have time to do that.”

So, now I have to call her today and back out of the commitment that I made. Hubster is totally right. I really don’t have time. Backing out seems even worse than just saying no in the first place. Does this happen to you? I wish I knew how to handle this sort of thing.

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11 Responses

  1. I used to be terrible about that, too. But here’s what I finally learned. Instead of instantly saying “yes” to every request, I say “let me think about it” (assuming it’s not something urgent). I try to get back to that person within a day or two, so they can go on and find someone else if I can’t or just don’t want to do it. Within a couple of days you can decide whether or not this is something you really want to do or not. Plus, when you tell someone you’ll think about it, they have those 2 days to be coming up with a backup plan, so I don’t feel guilty when I say “no”. Good luck!

  2. i have the same problem! adam helps me to say no or sometimes i’ll just use him and say “let me talk with adam about it…” every year i have to purge my schedule and stop doing the things that i don’t really enjoy/am not really needed for/am not really gifted for. it’s a great feeling to streamline every day life for sure, but it’s not easy!

  3. I agree with the other two commenters. Directly saying no is just TOO hard sometimes. I always use either, “Let me think about it, and I’ll let you know by _____” or “You know, I’m really kind of swamped right now, but I don’t want you to be in a bind, so if you can’t find anyone else, let me know and I will see what I can do to help out.” Almost every time, they either find someone else, or I figure out a polite way to say no by the time they need a response.

  4. Hopefully this is not a double posted comment…

    I agree with the other two commenters. Directly saying no is just TOO hard sometimes. I always use either, “Let me think about it, and I’ll let you know by _____” or “You know, I’m really kind of swamped right now, but I don’t want you to be in a bind, so if you can’t find anyone else, let me know and I will see what I can do to help out.” Almost every time, they either find someone else, or I figure out a polite way to say no by the time they need a response.

  5. I used to have that trouble. And then I learned a better way to handle it. Now, unless it’s something I really really really want to do, I just say something noncommital, but not “no” exactly. No is a hard thing to say. But something like, “Oh, that sounds intriguing. Let me check what I’ve got going on and I’ll get back to you.” That little break really makes the no you’ll deliver eventually, much easier to handle.

  6. Saying “no” is something I’ve never had a problem with. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I can relate to the fear of letting someone down. The previous commenters had some good suggestions. I think the idea of saying, “I’ll think about it and get back to you,” is the best one. Or better yet, say, “Let me think about it and get back to you on Wednesday,” because that gives you and them a concrete time to have the answer, and it gives you time to really check your schedule/talk to your husband/work up the willpower to say no.

    The danger in saying something like, “I’m really busy right now, but if you can’t find anyone else let me know,” is that it’s so open to interpretation. You might mean, “I really don’t want to do that, but I don’t want to be rude; please don’t make me say no!” but they might hear, “Oh, sure, I can work it into my schedule, don’t bother trying to find anyone else!”

    I always think of what Miss Manners says. She says, you’re not required to give explanations and reasons for your answers. All you have to do is regretfully but firmly say something along the lines of, “I’m terribly sorry, I won’t be able to attend/help you out that day/build the float for the Founders’ Day Parade this year,” with a smile. If they persist in asking why, you just shake your head, keep smiling, and quietly repeat your refusal. It sounds a little harsh if you’re not used to saying no, but the good news is it gets easier the more you do it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Also, by the way, it’s impossible for (1) a young baby to manipulate anyone, and (2) a mama to hold her baby too much! When Bri cries just right to get you to pick her up, she is communicating what she needs and you are being a good mama and listening to her. You’re not being a sucker, you’re just doing your job to perfection, teaching Bri that when she needs something you will be there to help her. So stop feeling guilty about that right now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I do have a really hard time saying no. I DON’T have a hard time saying no for someone else though:) Robbie has an even HARDER time saying no. I don’t think the man can say no. Other than to me of course.lol People at my church always assume I have so much free time because I am a SAHM. I have had a really hard time saying no, but my family comes first so I am getting better about it.

  9. It’s just too easy to say yes to things. Much harder to say no.

  10. Wow! Your church still has G.A.’s? It’s so nice to hear that there are still churches out there who use G.A’s and R.A.’s. I’m not a big fan of AWANA and I like the smaller programs. My church uses Patch the Pirate and the kids love it! Hope all is going well!

  11. I’ve had trouble with this too but I’m getting better. Like others have said…
    Maybe is a good stall tactic to a) think up an excuse or b) give them time to move on to someone else.
    Play the blame game – blame it on hubby, kids, baby, whatever even if that’s not the full truth as to why you are saying “no.”

    And I agree – try not to give an answer that may haunt you later (as in, “if you can’t find someone else, etc. etc.” ) unless you really mean it.

    I still feel a twinge of guilt sometimes whenever I say no but it does get easier with practice.

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