saying "no" FTMFW

Oct 28 2011 Published by under academia, awesomeness, exhaustion

As you all know, one of the things I struggle with A LOT is the fact that I'm not great at saying "no" (but I'm trying). Physioprof has an insightful perspective on how feeling like you can't say "no" is a load of crap. But when your department Chair is sitting in your office maybe you (like me) have a hard time executing the "no".

You are in luck! This webpage, "7 simple ways to say no", is like a cheat-sheet for us "yes-sayers"! Seriously, as soon as I found this I started imagining how things could have been different.  I also realized that some of these strategies I had already implemented, naturally. For instance, number 6:

“I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?”

At first, I figured I was throwing X under the bus (it was turnabout, so I was OK w/ it). But maybe I have natural (awesome) tendencies for no-saying that I am not fully realizing?

I know that I, for one, will be practicing these phrases.


In case you are keeping score, I totally said "no" to 2 different requests this week. w00t!



4 responses so far

  • “I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?”

    A more sophisticated way to use this one is as follows: "You know, I am really on board with this thing A getting done. But my intellectual and character strengths in this general area are more effectively deployed in pursuit of B than A, and I am, in fact, already devoting substantial effort to pursuing B. However, I know for a fact that X's intellectual and character strengths are, indeed, well-suited to the pursuit of A."

    This way you are making it clear that you are not shirking an entire general area of professional effort, and are only declining this particular thing. Of course, you can only take this tack if that is true.

  • I agree totallywith PP, but I also suspect one's ability to get away with saying "no" is influenced by their performance.

  • Dr Becca says:

    I think what Isis means is that if you have said "yes" in the past and done a really great job, people may be more willing to forgive you saying "no" on occasion.

    I am trying really hard to start saying "no," since I've already said "yes" far too often in the past 2 months. Thanks so much for posting this link!

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