"No" is a complete sentence.
Ever feel like you're just TOO NICE? Does it cause you anxiety to say NO?
I get it and I know. I used to suffer from this too.
During all of my 20's I suffered from the need to please.
Part of it might've been my upbringing. "Nice girls need to help" and "It's rude to say no" or maybe it's the role I've filled for years as an EA. I guess you can say it's in our DNA to be people pleasers and get it "all done." Or maybe it's just the unspoken words and simple social cues I've picked up over the years from being a little girl to now becoming a woman.
"Oh, I'm sorry did ya need me to do that asap?" Ok got it, I guess I'll eat lunch later!
"I'm sorry, did ya want that last warm, gooey, chocolate chip muffin? Of course you can have it!" Stomach grumbles a second later...
"Sure, no problem, I'll wait while you make 100 copies even though I was here first." Patience is a virtue... right? Eyeroll...
As hard as it may be to speak up, it's SO important you learn this nifty little tool and it's called: "Standing up for yourself."
Trust me, I've learned the hard way. Every time you stay quiet when you KNOW you should be speaking up, you hurt yourself in the long run. You also miss out on epic opportunities when you stay silent. Whether it's a tough work situation or a relationship issue, express yourself no matter how nervous, anxious or "stupid" you think you'll sound. You'll soon realize that the only "stupid" person was the one not speaking up, demanding what she deserved, putting her foot down and setting boundaries. You have to! If not you, then who?
As a rule of thumb, if "Jason" is asking you to do something against your values, it's a hard NO. If you're a Bay Area gal then maybe it's a "hell no." Don't think twice about it. Firmly state that you can't and that's that. No need to expand and provide reasons. If they acted like they didn't hear you, don't waste your breath. Pick up your things, along with your dignity and walk away.
If your boss is asking you to do something else as you're halfway out the door... and you're already carrying a full workload, AND she's put you in a similar predicament before, simply say:
"Hey Dana, I'd like to help but I have another conflict/project and I won't be able to complete this tonight given my workload. Can we set time tomorrow morning to discuss priorities and this particular deadline? Thanks.
"Hey Dan, I've noticed you're asking for the x report later on Friday evenings and I have personal matters which I can't be late for (let's say a pedi for ex). In the future, I'd appreciate that you request the report no later than Friday at noon, so I don't run behind in submitting it to you. Thanks for understanding!
Use any of these simple responses below. Remember, less is more and you owe NO ONE further explanation, (unless it's your boss.. or your mother of course).
No thanks, I won’t be able to make it.
No thank you, I have another commitment.
Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.
Sadly I have something else going on.
Apologies, but I can’t make it this time.
Maybe another time!
Sounds great, but I can’t commit.
I’m not able to make that time work.
I’m not able to make it this week/month/year.
Unfortunately I’ve got too much on my plate right now.
I’m not taking on anything else right now. I hope you can understand.
My bandwidth is low, so I won’t be able to make it work.
I really wish I could make it work, but sadly I can't.
I’d love to, but can’t.
Darn! I'm not able to fit it in.
I’m swamped, I'll need to take a raincheck.
Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t.
I’m learning to limit my commitments at this time.
No thank you, but it sounds wonderful!
I’m not able to set aside the time needed, but I appreciate you considering me.
I’m head-down right now, so I won’t be able to make it work.
And if it's your annoying cousin, Nope! works too. :)
Remember, what good does saying YES do for you, if deep down, your soul is screaming NO!? Listen to that inner voice. It's there for a reason.