Do you struggle to say no to people? There are often times in our lives when we find ourselves agreeing to things that we don’t really want to do, perhaps because we feel guilty or want to please others.
In this episode, In The Moment’s wellbeing columnist Natalie Lue talks through a number of scenarios and explains how you can refuse requests without damaging relationships.
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Why do we find it so hard to say no to people? According to Natalie, it’s because many of us never learnt how to do it in the first place. “We’ve picked up messages along the way which says that saying no hurts people’s feelings,” she explains.
“No was not something you say to somebody that you love – no is wrong. If somebody needs something, then it should be a yes. Even if it doesn’t work for you.
“So we picked up these confusing messages and a lot of it is around fear of conflict, fear of hurting people’s feelings fear of being abandoned as well. A lot of people are afraid that if they say no, that there will be a mass exodus of everybody that they care about in their life.”
She says that many people are also worried that they might be seen in a negative light if they say no to someone and will be thought of as self-centred or rude. You may also worry that you won’t be liked if you say no.
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Natalie believes that many of these fears are rooted in the messages we receive from those around us in childhood. “We all have been socialised as a result of our upbringing,” she says. “And so depending on who we grew up around, what the culture was then, what were the messages at church, what were we hearing at school, we’ve picked up certain messages. I think particularly for women, a lot of us have grown up in that era of be good, be kind be meek, be mild. Don’t make waves, nice girls don’t, kinds girls do this, good girls don’t.”
To combat this, Natalie has created some scripts to help people say no to unwanted requests in every area of their lives. Listen to the podcast to find out more about how to assert yourself at work, in relationships and when dealing with difficult relatives.
Don’t forget to check out Natalie’s Baggage Reclaim podcast and find more of her excellent advice inside In The Moment Magazine each month.