By Beth Levine
You can train yourself to stop saying yes when you want to say no-and do it respectfully and thoughtfully, says William Ury, PhD, cofounder of Harvard University's Program on Negotiation.
Step 1: Figure out what you really want. Learn How to Say No
If you're unclear about how you feel or if someone catches you off guard, give yourself time to think it over before answering. Tell the other person you'll get back to her at a certain time, then put yourself in a quiet space and ask yourself if the request feels right.
Step 2: Find the yes.
Most of the time, when you want to say no, it's because you need to say yes to something else, such as guarding your money, sanity or time. Look at a given situation and decide where your yes lies. Example: Your brother asks you to cosign a loan. You feel guilty not helping him out. But you aren't saying no to him-you're saying yes to protecting your children's college funds.Find the right refusal strategy based on the asker's manipulating style.
Step 3: Don't babble.
You don't need excuses-just a kind, apologetic, polite attitude. Lengthy explanations leave the matter open to debate and discussion. If you lie, you'll get in trouble, and if you give too many details, you give the other person wiggle room.
Step 4: Offer what you can.
State what could make the no become a yes: "If you want me to pick out presents for your side of the family, you have to tell me what you think they'd want and how much I should spend." Or, if you can, suggest somewhere else to find what they need or someone else to help. Either way, be honest about what you can accomplish: "I can be on the committee but I really can't chair it."
Step 5: Move on.
No dwelling, fretting or second-guessing. Enough said.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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