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How to Say NO in 3 Easy Steps

How to say NO @The HomeScholar

How to Say NO in 3 Easy Steps

1. Say it

       2. Explain it

         3. Walk away

Your priority is your children and your family. Your job is to educate them, and that's important! Don't feel guilty when you must say no to someone (or even say no to something awesome!). Put your priorities first: children and family. Everything else is great, but optional. Say no when you need to. You have my permission.

 

I know that not everyone has the "assertiveness gene" so let me help. There are 3 easy steps to saying no. Think of it as a "No Sandwich." Start with the word "No," add an explanation or humor, and then end with the word "No" again. The other person will hear you that way. If you are still lost, my husband and I did some brainstorming, to help you come up with just the right formula for the "No" you need to say today.

 

There are three ingredients involved in saying no.

 

Step 1: Say it. Start with a clear, simple, unambiguous declarative statement that nobody could possibly misunderstand. Choose one of these statements:
No.
Nope.
Absolutely not.
I can’t.
The answer is no.
No, I can’t.
I can’t commit to this.
Oh dear! I have to say no.
Not a chance.
Not this time.
I need to bow out.
I have to take a rain check.
No thank you.
No way!

 

Step 2: Explain it. Add a short explanation, if needed or desired. While certainly not required, it can make your “no” more polite or easy to swallow. Choose one of these statements:
My motto this year is rest/peace, so I can’t fit it in right now. Ask me next year.
I’m in the season of “No.”
My sanity depends on saying no to absolutely everything right now, no exceptions.
I’ll add that to my bucket list for when I retire.
God is leading me to stay busy at home, not busy outside of the home right now.
I have other priorities right now.
Sorry, my schedule is full.
Christmas is a crazy time, maybe I can next summer.
I can’t agree to something that will make me grouchy when I get home.
I don’t want to be rude, but my life is crazy right now, and I’d be nuts to add even one more thing.
It sounds like you are looking for something I’m not able to give right now.
God has called me to care for my family at this time.
I’m honored, but I can’t.
My schedule doesn’t allow for that.
I’m all tied up.
I’d love to, but I don’t have time.
I need to prioritize my family now.
I’m choosing peace at home, and not adding any commitments.
I’m scaling back on my commitments, and I’m not adding more.
I’m scaling back during the holidays.
No. My children need me at home.
Not now, I have other priorities.
I’m afraid I can’t.
Now is not a good time.
Sounds great, but I have to wait until my kids are grown.
Thank you for asking. Please keep me on your list for next year.
I would I could help you, but (insert name) may be able to help.
I wish there were two of me.
No thanks, I have another commitment.
My heart says yes, but my brain and body say no.
I can’t do that, but I’d be happy to … (stop by the store and buy something.)
No thank you, I won’t be able to make it.
Maybe another time.
Sounds great, but I can’t.
I’m all booked up.
I have too much on my plate.
Perhaps next year.
I’m learning to limit my commitments and prioritize my family.
I want to be present for my family this season.
I’m not adding anything else right now.
I wish I could make it work.

 

Step 3: End the conversation and walk away. Sometimes your “no” statement is not clearly heard, so if a polite explanation doesn’t end the conversation, try replying with humor. Choose one of these statements:
Look! Squirrel! Ha, I figured that would distract you!
I haven’t been able to do that since I was single and childless.
If I add one more thing to my life right now, my head will explode.
My sanity depends on saying no to absolutely everything right now, no exceptions.
I never add anything to my schedule on days that end in “Y”.
Saying yes to that would mean the slow withering death of my soul.
I no longer do things that make me want to pull my hair out.
I would rather remove my spleen with a grapefruit spoon.
Are you serious? My life is crazy enough as it is!
I’m afraid I need to exercise my “NO” muscle on this one.
My brain is full, and I can’t fit in one more thing.
Sadly, there are only 24 hours in a day, even for me.
Nein. Non. Nyet.

 

Bonus Step! You may need to give closure. Choose one of these statements:
Listen to what I’m saying. The answer is no.
Absolutely not.
No way! I can’t fit in one more thing right now!
I will not. End of story.

 

Homeschooling parents are care-givers, and it’s very difficult to say “No” when care-giving is in your DNA.  This is a simple formula to clearly communicating your “No” in three easy steps. Be firm if you aren’t heard. If there are any lingering doubts or you still feel pressured, give your answer one last time and quickly turn to leave, or send the email without any further comment.  If our friendly approach and humor doesn’t work, you may need to sound more firm, or even harsh, to protect your precious family time.


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Comments 5

Guest - Trina on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 19:55

Thank you for this timely blog. I have been feeling so remorseful about declining to care for another's children on New Years Eve. My husband is attending a family party that we have all been invited to, and he never attends them! But he has time off work, so he wants to come. Normally I love to bring any extra kiddos with me, but felt I should say no because of my husband. I still feel guilty, but this article has helped solidified my decision. The mother is invited to attend the party with her kids if she wants to come, so no one is excluded, btw

Thank you for this timely blog. I have been feeling so remorseful about declining to care for another's children on New Years Eve. My husband is attending a family party that we have all been invited to, and he never attends them! But he has time off work, so he wants to come. Normally I love to bring any extra kiddos with me, but felt I should say no because of my husband. I still feel guilty, but this article has helped solidified my decision. The mother is invited to attend the party with her kids if she wants to come, so no one is excluded, btw
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Sunday, 03 January 2016 23:36

Dear Trina,
I think we (as moms) always want to say "yes". It's in our DNA to want to care for the needs of others! When I began homeschooling, I learned the hard way that teaching my children and keeping my home was my first ministry. I say "the hard way" because like so many moms, I took on too many commitments, and my family paid for it. I was not a nice mama when I tried to do too much. It's healthy that you were able to say "no" when you felt like you should.
Blessings,
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Dear Trina, I think we (as moms) always want to say "yes". It's in our DNA to want to care for the needs of others! When I began homeschooling, I learned the hard way that teaching my children and keeping my home was my first ministry. I say "the hard way" because like so many moms, I took on too many commitments, and my family paid for it. I was not a nice mama when I tried to do too much. It's healthy that you were able to say "no" when you felt like you should. Blessings, Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest - Cindi on Wednesday, 09 March 2016 19:52

It all started with Eve, you know. She just couldn't say no and women have been paying dearly for it ever since. LOL I think we women have such a hard time saying no b/c our modern society has taught us to do it all, be it all and have it all, which is a joke, of course. Sadly, oftentimes when you do place boundaries around your time, other (boundary-less) women will get upset with you for taking care of yourself. Thanks to you and your husband for this list, Lee!

It all started with Eve, you know. She just couldn't say no and women have been paying dearly for it ever since. LOL I think we women have such a hard time saying no b/c our modern society has taught us to do it all, be it all and have it all, which is a joke, of course. Sadly, oftentimes when you do place boundaries around your time, other (boundary-less) women will get upset with you for taking care of yourself. Thanks to you and your husband for this list, Lee!
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Monday, 14 March 2016 22:43

You're right, Cindi!
I served in the church nursery when my children were little---for years! Whenever it was my turn to help, I was there, setting up, caring for children and cleaning afterward. Still, it was only once a month. It wasn't enough for some, however. I had a very determined ministry leader tell me that my homemaking & homeschooling was NOT a ministry, and I should be doing more. Thankfully, I didn't feel the need to agree. I politely declined her invitation to take on a "real ministry." Some seasons of my life have called me to serve others in a greater capacity, but when I was homeschooling four little ones, I could not have done more without losing my mind.
Blessings,
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

You're right, Cindi! I served in the church nursery when my children were little---for years! Whenever it was my turn to help, I was there, setting up, caring for children and cleaning afterward. Still, it was only once a month. It wasn't enough for some, however. I had a very determined ministry leader tell me that my homemaking & homeschooling was NOT a ministry, and I should be doing more. Thankfully, I didn't feel the need to agree. I politely declined her invitation to take on a "real ministry." Some seasons of my life have called me to serve others in a greater capacity, but when I was homeschooling four little ones, I could not have done more without losing my mind. Blessings, Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Deanna Pathio on Saturday, 06 January 2018 03:58

Oh how I appreciate this message! When I worked, I had a leadership position and my manager told me once that my position would teach me 'the art of saying no.' I pondered her statement and have learned that art through the years. First, I have found that if I stick with pleasing the Lord and not try to live up to others expectations, we do well. Also, I have found in the homeschooling world a mentality of super mom so I avoid that dynamic as well. My husband is good at knowing when we look too busy. I ask him first before committing to anything. That makes for an easy explanation when someone doesn't respect my no. I just tell them to take it up with the man of the house. And we teach our kids to respect another person's no so I am still trying to figure out why adults don't respect an adult's no. Another thing to consider is that ministry doesn't always have to look a certain way. It could be checking in on an elderly neighbor and mowing her lawn, watching out for her, and showing her Christ's love.

Oh how I appreciate this message! When I worked, I had a leadership position and my manager told me once that my position would teach me 'the art of saying no.' I pondered her statement and have learned that art through the years. First, I have found that if I stick with pleasing the Lord and not try to live up to others expectations, we do well. Also, I have found in the homeschooling world a mentality of super mom so I avoid that dynamic as well. My husband is good at knowing when we look too busy. I ask him first before committing to anything. That makes for an easy explanation when someone doesn't respect my no. I just tell them to take it up with the man of the house. And we teach our kids to respect another person's no so I am still trying to figure out why adults don't respect an adult's no. Another thing to consider is that ministry doesn't always have to look a certain way. It could be checking in on an elderly neighbor and mowing her lawn, watching out for her, and showing her Christ's love.
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