After you have a conversation with people and
see how they behave and react to requests you
can predict one of their weaknesses is they
have trouble saying “no” to requests. Even
when the requests are not in their best
interests and may go against them.
I encountered two people who were surprised
when I predicted that they would agree that was
their weakness. Both a young man and a young
woman were from international cultures. The
same can be said with some American traditions,
but there are some slight differences.
This blog entry is about identifying people who
make such requests that are not in your interest.
It is also about what we should be doing in a way
that realizes we will face these and what we can
do to more easily and more honestly deal with
these requests and feel good about ourselves.
Pier Forni has written that exercising self control
realistically is working toward your goals, but
refraining from doing so at another’s expense in The
Thinking life (2010).
If you reach out and help someone else reach
their goals while reaching your goals you are
exercising “self-control” at its best.
The first step in defining when and when not to
say “no” is: understanding what the steps are to reach
your goals. Then maintain self control to identify whether
a request aids in helping someone else reach their
objectives and yours.
Mark Goulston wrote about the different personalities
we will encounter who might ask for our help.
He classified them into a series of toxic people and Givers:
Toxic people are needy as they demand constant attention
and help, use emotional blackmail to get what they want,
and offer gratitude only if it “keeps you on the hook.”
BULLIES - go after “easy prey” - your action: set boundaries
TAKERS - ‘hit you up’ every day for an easy favor - your action:
immediately ask for something for them to do for you in exchange.
NARCISSISTS - want to be the center of attention - see them
for who they are
PSYCHOPATHS - cold, self-centered, ruthless, manipulators
Then there are GIVERS who reciprocate, share and pass on
credit and attention and look for the benefit of the team and
each individual contributor.
ACTION ITEMS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TROUBLE SAYING NO:
Look at the people who play a role in your life
Write the response next to their name to the following:
Can I count on this person to provide practical assistance
prompt assistance when I am in trouble
LEARN TO SAY NO
1. Set Boundaries; What are your goals?
2. Propose another way or another person to help or delegate
3. Ask questions for clarity; do the right things the first time
4. Create more “thinking time”
schedule time to think; think with partners
turn waiting time into thinking time