Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Art of saying no
Swami Vivekananda had said that everyone has good intentions and every action begins with a good intention. All of us crave to be recognised as good and nice people. Sometimes we put ourselves in trouble or inconvenience because of this. In order to please people, some of us tend to say yes for everything. Even if we disagree with someone, we pretend to agree so as to not hurt the speaker. Similarly, when we are asked to do something, we find it hard to refuse.
I remember when I was a youngster; a few of my 'friends' tried to cajole me into smoking my first puff. Thanks to fear of my mother, I managed to say no to smoking despite a huge pressure on me. If I had succumbed to their persistent efforts, I might have ended up being addicted to this and spoilt my health in the bargain. Yet, there have been times when I found it difficult to take an opposite view. Fear of peers, bosses and significant others getting upset with a refusal is a very strong reason why we tend to say yes quickly.
The ability to say no is an important and useful trait. What also matters is how we say no. One has to be tactful and refuse without appearing hesitant. The ability to put across our refusal along with a proper reason for it would usually do. In fact, before we agree or disagree, it would make sense to think through. Giving an impromptu response is best avoided unless one is already thought about it and taken a decision.
Contrary to what some of us believe, people do not hate us for saying no. Many people appreciate our confidence and honesty. Rather than saying yes and not honouring our commitment by giving last minute excuses, it is much better to say no and stick to it. The intention of this blog is not to encourage readers to say no every time to everyone. The idea being conveyed is that, occasionally and when appropriate, we should be willing to politely decline without any feelings of guilt or fear lingering in our minds.