Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best. – John C. Maxwell
Are you a yes, no or maybe person? Is your default answer to most requests for your time Yes, No or maybe? I am an NO person. The minute you suggest an idea I immediately think NO, I can’t or do not want to do that. This is my gut or trigger reaction. I think because I always feel ‘time’ poor (that’s a whole different post), and so I protect my limited hours like a Mama Bear protects her cubs. I am a fierce protector of my time. I don’t like to waste mine, and I don’t like to waste yours.
It is my opinion that ‘no’ actually carries more weight with people. A ‘no’ is perceived as the final answer. It is a definitive answer and is appreciated because you know where you stand with someone on an issue or with their time. Now here is the cool thing about ‘no’, you can always come back and say ‘yes’ later and for the most part, it is welcomed. In fact, when you change to a ‘yes’, you are often met with excitement and joy.
Consider how a person feels when you say ‘yes’ first and have to come back and say ‘no’? That never feels good. In fact, I think it is worse than just saying no from the get go. There is such a letdown. It weighs more because there has been an additional consideration and thought (even after the no) and now follow through to a positive outcome for the person who asked. See what I mean?
I admire people who say ‘yes’ and mean it. Those people are cool and fun to me. They are the doer’s and fly by the seat of your pants people. They make things happen and have the best time doing life. Some of the best people I know say ‘yes’ to most things. They are open and flexible thinkers and tend to be relaxed personalities to hang around. They are the cool kids because they don’t get flustered, they go with the flow.
Then there is the dreaded maybe answer. This is the absolute worst feeling because all parties are in limbo. No one likes uncertainty. There are too many things we are uncertain of and on simple matters, you know it isn’t rocket science, and a simple yes or no should be easy. When left in limbo, or should we say ‘maybe’, there is always the perception that if nothing better comes along, then you might get a yes. You feel strung along and not respected or appreciated. If there is cause to pause with your answer, please explain it with a valid reason or offer up the “no” out of respect for the person waiting for your answer.
So here’s the thing about us ‘no’ people, sometimes we just need time to think it over. That doesn’t mean continue to ask us to do that thing you want us to join, but it does mean let us consider how it might work with our schedule and with our life. The cool thing about a ‘no’ converted to a ‘yes’ is that it usually means that person is totally on board and excited to be apart of what you are doing. If you have a ‘no’ person in your life, and you are not sure how to approach them, here are a few tips to consider. Don’t put them on the spot and request an immediate answer. Give them the information and tell them they can think it over and get back to you. Of course, this will require prior planning and anticipation on your part. When you check back with them, be brief when you ask if they have made a decision and then move the conservation along. People that are natural ‘no-type’s’ hate to feel pressured or cornered. If you really want to get a ‘yes’ from your friend, be patient and let them work through the what-if’s in their mind. One final thought from my experiences, I have noticed that as I have built a history of experiences with people, I have found it easier to say ‘yes’ because the events have proved to be worthwhile and added value to my life.