Friday, December 21, 2007

Do You Have a Hard Time Saying No?

But I want it

It goes against the politeness doctrine many of us grew up with. A blunt, honest and strong "NO" is a strong signal which we cringe to use, even though that may be what is needed in some situations. If not a bare bones "no" a more civil but still effective "I would rather not ..." approach would work wonders in many situations. Where I have learned that taking a stance and being firm has it's merits include

- Sales Calls: I contribute to my charity of choice and therefore should not feel bad saying "no" to the "special olympics" donation drive. These calls bother me but what bugs me even more is commiting to a contribution because I fell for the pitch. I still dread those sales calls but a clean no is better for both me and the sales agent who can invest their time more effectively selling to someone else.

- Kids: I used to fall for the tantrums and instantaneous tears when my kids just "had to have" that toy or trinket. But do my kids really need more stuff - no way! The trinket over which empty tears were shed only minutes ago is forgotten even before the day is over. For kids also it has become a game - how can I get my parents to buy me whatever. After all they don't know any better and if I give in then where is the sanity. A firm no and little distraction later - life is back to normal minus the new trinket.

- Me: Yeah, its a lesson I have learned also. Saying no to myself. Another way to look at this is temptation and discipline. Am I tempted by all the goodies on sales these days? The deals, the bargains, the catalogues ... temptation. If you give in now you pay the price later. I have learnt that a "No" now is better than a painful reflection on my poor judgement later.

It's tough to do but learning to say no has its benefits. Usually practise makes perfect - so start now.

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