Help! How can I learn to be more assertive and say ‘no’ to people I love?



Dear Friend,

How do you say no to people you love? Sometimes I feel like my parents or friends are asking too much of me without realising it. But since I love them, I keep saying yes. How can I say no to them without hurting their feelings?

Signed, People Pleaser



Dear People Pleaser,

It sounds like you feel guilty about being overwhelmed by the number of requests received from the people you care about, and it is starting to bother you. Also, you believe those people should have realised they were crossing the line, and you don’t know how to decline their requests without letting them down or upsetting them.

Remember that you have every right to assert your feelings and desires without feeling guilty about it. Being assertive means expressing yourself directly and candidly while respecting the rights and dignity of others. It creates a platform to better understand each other’s needs and expectations and helps you cultivate healthier relationships.

More importantly, asserting yourself can help you feel less stressed, become more confident and develop a sense of empowerment.

Check out these tips to help you become more assertive and build more harmonious relationships with others:

– Speak positively, as this will lead to friendly and relaxed conversations. Use “I” statements – this lets others know what you think or feel without sounding accusatory. For instance, say, “I disagree,” rather than, “You’re wrong.”

– Listen actively and objectively to other people so you can understand their viewpoints better. Being a good listener can lead to mutual understanding and more supportive relationships.

– Be direct and honest about your feelings so you can convey your thoughts clearly and effectively.

– Be polite; this will make it easier for people to accept different viewpoints or reject their requests.

– Believe in yourself; you know what’s best for you.

– Avoid sacrificing your needs. If people do not accept it when you turn down their requests, repeat what you want calmly and clearly. Don’t raise your voice or try to get combative.

– Avoid impulsivity – managing your impulsive behaviours can help avoid misunderstandings and tension in relationships. Rehearse what you want to say in advance; you can even practise general situations you might encounter.

– Start practically and be consistent. It’s not easy to start something new, so practise being assertive in low-stakes situations first, where you are more likely to succeed. This will give you the confidence to speak up in more challenging situations.

– Don’t feel guilty about speaking up for yourself; you clearly care about other people, but you must also take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, after all.

Hope that helps, Friend of a Friend


Source: Young Post