How good are your skills at saying “no”?

Many of us struggle saying no because of the pressure we feel from our peers and friends. We want to be liked, we want to be part of our friends’ group, we can be afraid by saying no we will be excluded, and our friends will not want to be with us anymore.

There are going to be many times in life where saying no is important.  As difficult as it is, it is a skill you can learn and like any skill, the more you practice the better you become at it.

refusal skills

Practicing the following steps will help you become better at saying no.

  1. If you start to feel uneasy or uncomfortable about something you are being asked to do, for example join in bullying another person, STOP.  Take time, to breath deeply.  Sometimes when we feel uneasy, we become anxious.  Taking deep breaths helps calm that anxiety.  As you take deep breaths, thing about what is happening and what you are being asked to do.
  2. If you are not comfortable with what you are being asked, say NO.  Practice saying no about little things.  Sometimes when we have to say no, and we are nervous we may laugh.  This can send mixed messages to the other person, and they think we are not serious about our no.  So, they put more pressure on us.  This is why, practicing saying no in small thing, helps us say no clearly and in a straightforward way when we need to.
  3. Sometimes your friends will ask “why?”.  Why you do not want to do something.  Remember, “I don’t want to do that” is a perfectly valid reason.  Sometimes we may feel we do not have a good enough reason not to do something.  Not wanting to do something is a good enough reason!

Saying “no” is a skill.  Like any skill it must be learnt and practiced. 

Start small, in situations where you feel safe to say “no”. 

Sometimes, you may find yourself in situations where you want to say know but feel you cannot.  Do not beat yourself up and think you are a failure.  Talk about this situation with a trusted friend and develop a plan of what you could do so that next time you are prepared and ready to say “No”.