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Sitting on the Fence? How to Say “Yes” Fully or “No” Completely

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


How to Say “Yes” Fully or “No” CompletelyDo you have trouble making decisions? Do you hold back, because you don’t want to hurt or disappoint someone? Do you avoid making decisions because you don’t want to be viewed as selfish or too assertive?

It’s true that our decisions may impact the lives of other people, so we should take that into account. Yet many people are unnecessarily paralyzed and exhausted because they don’t have a firm grasp on their core identity. They haven’t set boundaries around the things they’re truly passionate about.

How do you set boundaries so decision making becomes easier?

  • Know yourself. Ask yourself: "Is this important to me, my goals, my values, my wants and desires?” If the answer is “no” or “not really,” then don't feel shy declining the invitation or request. Your “no” gives someone else the opportunity.
  • Be prepared to miss out. Every decision costs something. You’ll miss an opportunity, but you’ll keep your health and sanity. So every "no" is a "yes" to something you value more.
  • Decline graciously.Thank the person for thinking of you and trusting you with the request, but tell them you won’t be able to do it. You’re not rejecting the person, only her request. You can be firm, without being rude.
  • Explain, if you feel it’s necessary. If they’re satisfied with a simple “no”, let it suffice. But at times it’s important to offer an explanation, so give your honest reasons for not being able to comply.
  • Practice. Look for opportunities to say “no.” Choose inconsequential situations like saying “no” to every Costco food sample offered.
  • Call them on their pushiness. Some people won't give up. That's on them, not you. You can make light of it by saying,"I know you won't give up — but neither will I. I'm getting better at saying no.”

If you’re someone who always says “yes,” it will take more empathy to say “no.” Does that surprise you? Those with highly-evolved empathy skills do not confuse the psychological boundaries between themselves and others. They can care, feel compassion and sympathize without taking on the responsibility for another person’s intentions or feelings. This distinction is critical. Empathy is respectfully allowing the other person to take responsibility for their life.

Do you see areas where you need to increase your empathy skills? My new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” will give you the warrior training you need. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition. I invite you to download the first chapter for free.



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