Friday, August 21, 2009

Are you a doormat?

Why do we say yes to things we don’t want to do? Why do we say yes to things we believe are not fair? Why do we say yes to so many responsibilities and requests that we feel resentment, frustration, exhaustion? Why do we say yes when we mean no?

There are so many reasons—guilt, obligation, and sense of duty. But also—fear of saying no, fear of conflict, fear of rejection and social isolation. We strive to be accepted, liked and reinforced by others—saying yes to a request increase our chances that we will be accepted. Why should we say no? Our life is just that- ours. You don’t always have to say “no” but here are .some tips on how to say “No” from the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Service (

Practice saying, "No."

Once you decide that you do not want to do or buy something, say no firmly and calmly. It is crucial that you give a simple no rather than a long-winded statement filled with excuses, justifications and rationalizations about why you are saying no. It is enough that you do not want to do this simply because you do not want to do it. You can accompany your refusal with a simple, straightforward explanation of what you are feeling. A direct explanation is assertive, while many indirect and misleading excuses are not assertive and can get you into a lot of trouble because it leaves you open for debate.

Learn to say no without saying, "I'm sorry, but ...."

Saying "I'm sorry" frequently weakens your stand and tempts the other person to play on your guilt feelings. When the assertive person evaluates a situation and decides the best thing is for her to say no, and then she has nothing to worry about.

Techniques for Saying No 

The Broken Record Technique

Whenever a person does not accept your assertive refusal and resorts to high-pressure tactics with you, you can use this technique. What you do is simply become a broken record and repeat your original statement (assertive refusal) each time the person to manipulate you in order to persuade you to change your mind. If you remain firm wit your original statement, and resist the temptation to answer why or respond to possible insults, the person will soon run out of new material and give up.

Think it over . . . 

Giving yourself time to evaluate requests made of you also protects your resources. You don't have to commit yourself to something as soon as you are asked to do it. Let me think it over and get back to you, is an important statement to make. Before you make your decision, ask yourself:

Do I really want to do this, or am I really trying to please someone else?

What will I receive for my participation?

If I decide to do this, will it continue to be rewarding or will it become oppressive?

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