Chapter 1- Saying No: The Basics
In the first chapter of How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty, the authors present the basics of saying no. But why say no? Many times people are persuaded into doing things they don’t want to do, simply because they can’t find the right words to say no. Another reason why people don’t say no is because they are afraid of what the person will think of them if they say no. I can understand this, because many times I have found myself doing things for people because I couldn’t think of a good excuse to get myself out. After reading the first chapter, I learned the basic techniques to politely saying no. The first one is surprisingly simplejust buy more time. If you can put off your decision to accepting a request from someone, you then have the time to really think about what it will take to satisfy the other person. One of the phrases they suggested was, “I need to find out if I work first”. As a college student, my work schedule is anything but consistent, so that phrase will be great for me to use. Another suggestion was to say you have a “policy” against doing something. It’s good because it lets the person know how important it is to do what you need to do. But for me, I don’t think this would be any good, because my friends wouldn’t buy the fact that I have a “policy”.
The prevention technique seemed like it would be a good one. I have a friend who whenever I see, he always wants to go out to a bar and drink. I normally don’t mind, but if I go over to visit him and I’m not in the mood to go out, he will insist that we go anyways. Prevention would be good in this case because if I don’t feel like going out that night, I should probably just avoid this friend entirely. Lying to someone in order not to hurt them, or the face-saving excuse is also a good tactic. If an unattractive girl were to ask me out, I wouldn’t tell her no because I thought she was unattractive. I would probably tell her that I have a lot of work to do for the next couple of months, and I don’t really have time to be going out with her. By telling her this I’m doing her a favor, because I don’t hurt her feelings.
In order to say no without feeling guilty, it’s important to think about all the “No’s” you’ve had to take in your lifetime. All the rejection you’ve taken, when you think about it, really wasn’t so bad. If you can let that roll down your back, then telling someone no will be that much easier. The book recommends practicing in front a mirror in order to build confidence in your no’s. Finally, if you can’t do it, fake it. As long as your voice has a tone of confidence when you say no, it will be that much more believable. This is true because someone can say no in a meek, wimpy voice and have the greatest excuse ever, but if someone simply says “no” in the right tone, it will have a much stronger effect on the person than the softer voice.
Chapter 2- Saying No to Requests for Money
As a college student, I don’t really have a lot of money. However, that means I also have a lot of friends with no money, and they are constantly hitting me up for money, especially when we are going out. This chapter provides a lot of useful information to saying “no” to requests for money. The book told a story about a young actress who took a loan out from her friend. It became evident that the actress was not going to pay back her friend. The friend could now accept it, or let this ruin their friendship. The most important thing I thought this chapter taught me was that if you ever think that loaning out money will affect your relationship with someone, then don’t lend out money. If you do lend out money though, it might be good to write out a contract between you and the person you are lending too.
One idea that they suggested was that if a friend asks you for money, give it to them as a gift. This takes back the pressure for them to pay it back, and makes you look good in the process. But they also stressed that this is not a good idea unless you are completely comfortable with giving your money away. Another good excuse is to say you are saving it for retirement. This would be a good one for me because I recently started my Roth IRA account. Any extra money I make would do best in their, so that I can secure my future.
The mooch is probably the type of person that I and most other college students come across. We all have the friend who just never has enough money, whether it is for lunch or for a beer, or for a toll, whatever. I liked the suggestions the authors gave me for dealing with the mooch, especially the teasing tactics.
Another encounter I routinely have is with the Girl-Scouts outside the supermarket. I rarely can so no, because they are so persuasive and cute. But the book made a good point. It isn’t reasonable for those girls to assume that 100% of the people that walk by them are going to help them out. So now the way I see it, I’ll just be in that group that doesn’t help. Good luck girls!
I have rarely been able to say no to panhandlers. Even after reading the book and their suggestions, I don’t think I’ll be able to turn down a bums request for money. However, if I do turn them down, I will probably use the open palmed, “Good luck to you”, instead of saying no.
Chapter 1- Saying No: The Basics