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Saying NO at Christmas time (and being loved for it)

For those of us who feel that too much of our holiday family time is being taken up by other people, there is one obvious solution: say no.

If only it were that easy.

For many of us, myself included, ‘no' is the hardest word to say, but if we want to regain control of our time this holiday period, we need to make friends with it. 

Getting comfortable with the uncomfortability of this little word will provide you with more quality time for you, or your important high priority events, or people.

The thing is we want to say it, sometimes we need to say it, but somewhere on the voyage between our brain and our mouth,

'No' transforms into 'Yes'. What's going on?

Many of us recoil from 'no' because we feel that there are more important things at stake than our wasted time. We fear the repercussions of this powerful little word. We worry that we might cause offence to someone and upset them, or look incompetent or risk averse, perhaps even selfish or self-absorbed, or disappoint someone whom we want to like, or even love us.

I was urged by my mentor, Mental Performance Coach David Niethe, to deliver ‘no’ when it was appropriate to communicate no, followed by eye contact and a deliberate lengthy pause.Coupled with the confidence of knowing that an explanation of my ‘no’ is not my responsibility.

Whilst this is not a cookie cutter approach and the flavour of this no delivery is not for the masses, have a go with this ‘no’ this silly season.

To deliver a more palatable refusal, use reasons (to show we have thought about our response and aren't dismissing their request out of hand), or empathy (to acknowledge their position), or alternatives (this shows we care about their interests and want to help on another occasion).

When we put these elements together, we get something that sounds firm and reasonable.

Merry Christmas.



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