How to Firmly Say No Without Coming Off Like a Jerk

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We’ve
talked a lot about the Nice
Guy Syndrome
here on AoM. You know the guy. Big time people
pleaser
, always puts others before himself, lets people walk
all over him. Heck, maybe you’re that guy. These so-called
Nice Guys might appear happy on the outside, but on the inside they’re
feeling burnt out, resentful, and depressed.

One trap that
a lot of “Nice Guys” fall into is always saying “Yes!”
to every request that comes their way. These “yes men”
are afraid that people will stop liking them if they say no. By
saying yes to everything, the Nice Guy piles on the obligations
and deadlines to his already busy schedule. He ends up spreading
himself so thin that he can’t even fulfill the obligations
he said yes to in the first place, which in a sadly funny, yet totally
predictable turn of events causes people to resent Mr. Nice Guy-
the very result Mr. Nice Guy was trying to avoid by saying yes in
the first place!

A man firmly
sets his core
values
, goals, and priorities, makes time to tend to them, and
says no to things that conflict with what’s important. He doesn’t
lose sight of the best, by pursuing the endless opportunities for
the merely good.

What Nice Guys
don’t realize is that it’s possible to have this kind
of backbone and be able to say no while maintaining positive relationships
with others. In fact, it’s even possible to say no to people
and leave them thinking you’re a pretty swell guy.

If you’ve
been having trouble saying no to people, we’ve provided some
pointers on how to do it without coming off as a cad.

Don’t
make the no personal.
Instead of making it seem like you’re
saying no because you don’t like the person, think their cause
is crazy, or their parties are boring, just let them know you’re
simply “following the rules.” By this I mean that your
pre-set personal rules prohibit you from saying yes.

  • “I
    can’t come to the Polka Festival on Monday night because
    Monday night is always family night for us.”
  • “I
    can’t donate to your charity. We’ve made a decision
    to set aside our charitable dollars for our church and the Red
    Cross.”
  • “I
    appreciate the invite, but I don’t date women with more than
    eleven cats.”

Let them
know you wish you could say yes.
Letting someone know you sympathize
with their request, but still can’t grant it, will soften the
blow of the no.

  • “I
    would have loved to hire you – you’ve got just the right
    personality for the position. But HR has an internal candidate
    whom they’ve already pegged for the job.”
  • “It
    would have been a great honor to speak at your convention. I’ve
    enjoyed attending it every year and have always been impressed
    with the presentations. But I’ve just got too much on my
    plate at this time.”

Show them that you thought it over before saying no. Feeling
like you’re getting the brush off can be just as hurtful as
hearing “no.” Show the person that you took the time to
understand their request before turning it down.

  • “This was a very entertaining screenplay. I really like
    how in the third scene the man-eating robot and the platypus become
    friends. But the studio is really concentrating on romantic comedies
    at this time.”

Read
the rest of the article

August
31, 2010

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