A lot of us have a hard time saying no. I think specifically in the workplace it’s exceptionally hard for most of us.

Now, I know when you’re hired to do a job and your boss asks you to do something, you typically have to do it, because that’s what you were hired to do. But there’s a lot of cases I think – for example, when a peer asks you do to something – where we feel like we should say yes, and we do, and we feel regretful about it. I have a tactful way of handling this I think is really respectful to both parties.

The first step is when you feel anxiety about saying yes or no to anybody, I always want you to say, “You know what? That’s a good idea. Let me think about it and get back to you really soon.” That way, it gives yourself times to really think about it and contemplate and decide whether or not it’s the right thing for you.

Let’s assume that you don’t want to do it. A really tactful way in step two is coming to the person and saying, “Hey, I’ve given it some thought. It’s not really a good idea for me to do this right now, because I’m going to be doing this.” That’s pretty much it.

What you’ve done is you’ve been really respectful to the other person by considering their needs, and secondly you gave yourself enough room and time to really decide that you don’t want to do something and you took care of yourself.
I hope that helps. Thanks!

By Sevin Philips, MFT