I recently went through a string of “no’s” on my calendar.
I cleared the deck of a lot of things: invitations to parties, events, lunches, etc. I said no to all of them because I needed some time for me; some uninterrupted days to get stuff done, and – yes – Netflix binge.
I struggle sometimes with not accepting every invitation I receive (and many of my clients tell me they do, too.) I don’t want to let people down. I feel like I’m sounding ungrateful or not being a very good friend if I decline.
I’ve learned, though: @@Sometimes ya gotta say “no” to others, in order to say “yes” to yourself.@@
It took me a long time to 'get" this, and now I want to share with you my super simple script for successfully saying “no”...because everyone should be free to say “yes” to themselves, first.
Here it is:
Hi (Name of person demanding your time and attention),
Thanks so much for asking me to (bake for your sale / watch your kids / join you for a movie).
I’m absolutely (flattered / delighted / honored) that you would think of me. You know how much I love (delicious brownies / kids / a good flick).
Unfortunately, I can’t make it. But, again, thank you! Hey - I hope you (sell lots of cookies / enjoy dinner with your pals / have fun at the flick)!
Congrats! You just eloquently freed yourself up by successfully saying “no”. It’s a very simple formula: gratitude + directness + no excuses = a well-said “no”.
I know it’s tempting to add a little justification as to why you can’t make it, but you don’t need to explain yourself. (It took me a long time to "get" that, too.)
Excuses are like roundabouts: they slow you down and get confusing. And, they usually either lead to pleading (“Oh come on…it’ll only take an hour.”), or repeat invitations.
Still, if you’re really struggling with just saying “no”, you can always use these graceful few lines:
“I totally understand your disappointment, but I assure you this is no reflection on (you / the kids / the school). I simply can’t make it, and I really appreciate you being so understanding.”
Boom. You’re welcome. Go enjoy your free time!