Saying “no” graciously

In last week’s post about how to handle the holidays in a non-frazzled manner, learning to say “no” graciously is the skill you will need to achieve the outcomes you are aiming for for the holidays. You know, the outcomes you thought about, wrote down, and discussed with the family members or friends it would be important to talk to.

Learning to say “no” graciously is a skill that serves us well every season of our lives. Without it, we enslave ourselves to other people’s agendas.

A key to saying “no” is the adjective “graciously.” We want to be straightforward in our saying “no”, get to that answer as soon as possible,
and we want to say it with grace. By that I mean, with our tone and facial expression we are showing respect to and for the requestor.

There all many levels of responses of “no”.

Simple and direct
Just as “yes” is a full sentence, so is “no”.

Simple and direct with a little more
“No, thank you.”

Notice there is no explanation for saying “no”. It stands on it’s own.

Sticking to your plan. For instance, when asked to join or run a committee of a charity you believe in.
I am honored that you would ask me. It is such a worthy cause. One of my current goals is to spend more time with my family and accepting
this position would mean I could not spend more time with my family. Thank you for understanding.

Possible endings:
* Change the subject.
* Suggest another candidate to ask.
* Offer to help recruit a suitable candidate.

These might not be words you would use yourself, so let’s deconstruct the parts so that you can develop your own way of saying “no” graciously.
* Acknowledge the request and the requestor
* State your higher priority
* Make an offer of help, if appropriate
* End the discussion on this topic

There are many variations for how to say “no” on the Internet. You can find them for many situations at work and at home. More than giving you every instance, my desire for you is for you to choose more often for what you want by developing this skill. Learning to say “no” graciously is much better than choosing to participate in something you don’t want to and makes you cranky or resentful. Social event opportunities rise around the holiday season. It gives you plenty of opportunities to practice and build this skill.