If you are one of those, that have difficulties in expressing a negative reply or a rejection to a group or single person, Welcome Aboard! :=)
I have tried a set of small, but useful experiments in my life and it had turned fruitful, on 98/100 situations. Well, on the other two occasions I didn't even give it a try! :=) (Meaning, I just gave in to it!)
As most people think, Saying ‘No’ is not just an art, but is also an etiquette. And it is also important how you say it. You should be able to deny or reject politely without hurting the person at whom your refusal is aimed. You may wonder why this is important. Well, put yourself in the other person’s shoes (let's forget the sizes here ;-) ) and think, what would you prefer – a rude refusal or a polite and courteous one? Undoubtedly the latter.
As it has been said – “Do unto other what you would have others do unto you.”
Be courteous is the protocol to follow. The reasons for your refusals may vary in a sizeable manner from being a minuscle ripple effect as that of a small stone thrown in a pond to an adverse tsunami effect caused by natural calamity in the Oceans. Ideally, you must adapt to the situation and act accordingly. However, it is essential to keep the basic governing rule the same – be courteous. There is no need to alter your stand if you are justified in refusing. If you are convinced of your justifications, be firm in your refusal but try not to hurt a fellow human being with harsh words.... Absolutely, but for how long before you loose control of your temperament, when the other person turns completely deaf ears to you and to top it all, is tossing out an indifferent stance towards you. This is the most important point, where in all of us tend to tremble being at the threshold of our temper check...end result - slash out with harsh words, throw out things, shout, scream out, yell at the top of your vioce, give up and walk away quietly....How many of us actually have been at the best of our cool to handle these situations with ease?
How many of us actually know, how to deal with people, especially when it comes to a denial being put out to them in a not-so hurtful manner?
How many of us have actually been successful in saying a "No" without hurting the other person?
Take this situation, for example. Sue had applied for a job interview and got her call fixed on a monday. Unfortunately, she meets with an accident over the weekend and is unable to attend this interview call. She calls up the HR of the organization to inform that she wouldnt be able to make it to the call as scheduled.
The HR person of the organization, being an elderly lady, took advantage of Sue's young age and responded back rudely. “Do you not have sense? What kind of accident can have you make you a phone call to us to inform but not come and appear for the same? If you were really not interested in applying for this job, then you shouldn't have, why do younger generation of these days have such a reckless attitude towards everything in life, I don't understand it. Just because you met with an accident is not going to make you invalid I am sure, why don't you let someone accompany you and attend the interview personally as planned?
I know you won't do that, as this was all a silly game that people like you love to play, fix an appointment and keep cancelling it as if we are here to entertain you all your lives.
You are behaving like uncouth villagers and not like the educated people."
Sue was very hurt and didn't have words to say and apologized over and over... All of it in vain as call was disconnected soon.
Problem here is that, Sue's recent bereavement was made out to be a matter of no consequence, which would have hurt her terribly. Moreover, the after-effects of an unpleasant encounter leave bitter feelings in their wake for everyone.
Monitor your thoughts and your words, as words once said cannot be taken back and unpleasant memories last long. We humans are essentially tender and sensitive, regardless of the tough exterior that many of us exhibit. And words are the sharpest weapons that can pierce the toughest exterior and cause an unseen wound that would take a long time to heal. It is thus extremely essential that the words that we utter should not cause harm to the sensitivity of another person. And it is not very difficult to watch your words either. The words we utter are a direct manifestation of the thoughts teeming in our mind. So it is your thoughts that you have to steer on the right course.
When faced with the task of conveying an unpleasant message of refusal, press the pause button, collect your thoughts, let compassion for the other govern your thoughts but not alter your stand. Now when you speak, your words will reflect the compassion you feel even while you are communicating a negative message. ............. Isn't it pretty difficult for a real life scenario? Sure is.....but not when you have practised it!
Refusal when implied in gentle words falls easy on the ears and the other person will be able to see your point of view. Always remember, the person will be disappointed on hearing a refusal as is, do not compound his distress by being rude and impolite, cos what you give is what you get, remember Nicolaus Copernicus who figured ages ago that the Earth has a planetary motion to go around the Sun....! (Doesn't it mean, what goes-around comes-around too? ;-) )