Why is such a short word as “NO” poses so a big problem?

NOIt is not easy to say “no” because we hate to see the disappointed look it elicits from people to whom we say it. We worry about the pain we give others when we turn them down. Perhaps we can always justify our negative reply by saying that charity should begin at home; or that we are not obliged to forego our own convenience for the sake of others. However, unless you have a heart made of stone, this reasoning still leaves a heavy burden feeling in us.

Well, here are some suggestions to skirt around this sticky situation. They may help you to declinewithout hurting them (too much):

Silence may be as good as an answer. This may seem unethical and a bit rude but at least,you will be given the benefit of the doubt. They may justify your silence by thinking you never got their message, or maybe you did answer but it never reached them.In case they confront you later, you can always say, “I’m sorry I am too busy. What was it again it you wanted to ask me?” Most will take the hint and tell you to forget it. However, to those who still insist despite telling them you are very busy, do not feel guilty to decline. People that are so inconsiderate deserve a straight “no”.

Try to be unavailable. Make sure you activate the “ID caller” feature of your phone so you can filter your calls. Install an automatic ring tone reply that says “your line is out-of-order”, or “you cannot be reached at the moment”.

Delay replying. This is very easy to do with e-mailed or texted in messages. However, in a face-to-face situation, you may set your mobile phone to ring on cue (this feature is called “false call”). Pretend to answer the phantom caller. Cover the mouthpiece and excuse yourself saying you cannot attend to him right now because of the call. Not a very honest way to get rid of a person but a very effective one.

Use an indirect “no”. You can say:” I’m sorry but I have an urgent priority to attend to”, or “Maybe not this time”, or “Shall we discuss it later when I’m not very busy?” This way, you are declining them without using the painful-to-the-ear NO. The effect will be milder to the ego of the requestor.

Offer an alternative. Express your willingness to help but offer an alternative time when you will be available (which can be NEVER). Perhaps you can suggest names of better qualified people who could help. However, do not specify anyone in particular so as not to compromise him, unless you have notified the person beforehand. You can also offer to help by giving tips how to do the task he is asking you to do for him without you actually doing the task.

When turning down the requests of people, always do it with respect and a smile. Give the impression of your willingness to help but circumstances or timing would not allow you to accommodate them. Your graciousness in turning people down may prevent any ill feeling, and more importantly, you are freed of doing what you are not happy to do.