How to Say No to a Hard Re­quest

Reader's Digest (India) - - Book Bonus - B Y L I N D A G R AY

Could you just... At home and work, we’re be­sieged by re­quests we’d rather de­cline. But we of­ten feel obliged to mum­ble “yes” when we might as well say no be­cause our re­sent­ment is so ob­vi­ous, says psy­chother­a­pist Gael Lin­den­field, author of 101 Morale Boost­ers. “Peo­ple think re­fus­ing will make the other per­son feel hurt or an­gry and it will be the end of their friend­ship or job. But it doesn’t—it does the op­po­site,” she says. So drop the apolo­gies and fol­low this script in­stead.

“You’re a re­ally good friend/I re­ally value work­ing here.” Start on a pos­i­tive note that shows you ap­pre­ci­ate the re­la­tion­ship.

“But I’ve given it some thought and de­cided that I can’t help.” No need to spell out why you won’t lend money or work week­ends. “Avoid say­ing any­thing that in­vites a re­ply, like ‘I’ve got a lot on at the mo­ment’,” says Lin­den­field.

“I know you’ll be dis­ap­pointed.” Em­pa­thy shows that you’re aware of the other per­son’s feel­ings and is vi­tal.

“I hope you un­der­stand as our friend­ship is im­por­tant to me/I’ll be able to fo­cus on my job, which will be bet­ter for us all.” Close with an up­beat end­ing that stresses the ben­e­fits to both of you.

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