Learn to say “NO” and when to say “YES”
The end of the year can be a stressful time. Businesses are trying everything to make some extra sales. Employees are working on reaching their annual goals. Students are finishing their last exams. And then, of course, there are the Christmas preparations! Christmas parties with colleagues, friends before they’re heading home for the holidays, sports teams, you name it. It can be tough to say “no” and relax with your loved ones on the couch.
Why is it so hard to say “No”?
Saying no may sound like a strong rejection. In some cultures, you wouldn’t know when someone told you off. Their “no” is so subtle for someone from a more direct culture and can easily be misinterpreted. Thailand is one example where their no is translated as “not yes”. For Thai people, these two letters are confrontational and they do almost anything in the world to avoid conflict. The land of smiles can therefore be a challenge for foreigners to navigate around.
In Asia, relationships are valued and many friendships last over multiple decades. In Okinawa, researchers have found some very specific elements that contribute to the longevity of its residents. One of their secrets is friendships that are formed when they are small children and giving them the support throughout life. It’s difficult to say no to such close friends.
What about the Western world?
Well, in the Western world, not everyone can say no easily either. There’s also the desire not to disappoint someone as well as the fear of conflict. Ever told your boss “No, I can’t complete this report by tomorrow” knowing that you’d need to pull an overnighter or someone else is better qualified? It can be tough, even when you have logical arguments at hand.
By volunteering for yet another parent activity and meeting another friend despite being knackered, we don’t want to miss that opportunity. A few years ago, the term FOMO (fear of missing out) was coined. Instead of recharging our batteries (for example, by reading a book or going for a run), saying “Yes, sure, I’ll come out tonight” appears like the easier option.
When should you say “YES!!!”
As we have the new year (and decade!) soon upon us, think about your goals. What is important to you? How would you like to live your life? Where and how do you want to spend your time?
Being clear about what you want allows you to prioritise your activities.
The saying “If it’s not in your calendar, it won’t get done” also applies to fun activities. Make time for playing with your kids, going out for dinner with your loved ones, calling your parents.
Don’t let peer pressure guide you.
Just because “everyone else” is going to join the party, if you don’t want to, then don’t say “yes”. Politely decline the event and if you change your mind at later stage, go. Don’t do it the other way around, please!
You don’t need to explain yourself.
When you are saying no, you don’t need to give a reason. If you want to participate in an activity, yet, can’t at the proposed time, suggest an alternative time.
Explore new adventure in 2020.
The new year will bring new opportunities. Knowing your goals and values, you can say “YES” to new activities, friendships, approaches, mindsets. And, of course, you can continue your old ones. Say “YES!!!” to what brings you joy and energy.
What’s your favourite way to saying “no”? And what do you say “YES!!!” to?
Until next time,