This post is for Christine.
You put down the phone.
Your heart sinks.
You’ve got butterflies…
Oh well… that’s it. Nothing more to be done.
Stop right there!
All is not lost.
You have the right to change your mind!
I’ll pause while you read that again….
You know why you did it:
- You’d felt guilty if you said ‘no’
- You didn’t want an argument
- It was easier
- You always do…
Why do you want to change your mind?
- Because it’s time to change the pattern
- Because it’s time to be honest
- Because you’re fed up with ‘giving in’
- Because you’re fed up with people assuming you’ll say ‘yes’
Here’s what to do about it.
- Say what you want.
‘Sarah/mum/Simon… I need to cancel the arrangement we made to go to the cinema/come to you for Christmas/go on holiday with you/come to you for the week-end.’
- Don’t apologise or grovel, simply give the real reasons.
‘I realise I’m over committed/under a lot of pressure at the moment.’
‘We want to have a quiet Christmas this year but would love to see you in the New Year/ in February/ on your birthday’ – whatever you actually want to do.
- Be clear and honest
You must say what you want, don’t apologise,On reflection/now I’ve had time to think about it /I realise that it doesn’t work for me/us at the moment. (Leaving the door open if that’s what you want to do.)
- Listen to what they say.
Give them a chance to respond and try to see it from their shoes. But don’t be persuaded to give in. Perhaps you can concede that you understand it’s a nuisance/inconvenient for them, but remember, you have every right to change your mind.
You could say something along these lines: ‘I understand that this is a nuisance but it’s what I want to do.’
What will happen ?
They’ll be upset
They’ll be surprised but not upset
They’ll understand and appreciate your situation and your honesty
If you feel yourself begin to waver, simply remember that
you have the right to change your mind.
Once you’ve had the conversation, you’ll know it was the right thing to do because you’ll feel relieved
You’ll feel so much more confident about saying ‘no’ in the future.
You’ll smile all day!
Are you going to change your mind about something?
What do you wish you’d said ‘no’ to?
Do share, in the comments, how you dealt with it… we’d all like some help with this!
An excellent book on this subject: ‘Assertiveness’ by Claire Walmsly. BBC books.
Header image courtesy of cursedthing and post image by Nicoli Barea, on Flickr.