By Janet Adetu
They say in life that it is important to get along with people every day, everywhere, every time. “No man is an Island” we hear so often, meaning that we must endeavor to associate with others, create and maintain relationships. Given this way of life there is the challenge to please others no matter the cost. I guess in the corporate space the choices are limited you must please your boss, employees and colleagues. The office setting is where you are given duties which are influenced by your performance, equally tied to your appraisal, your promotion and your growth within the organization. At times you may be that individual who just likes to be simple and uncomplicated, you are considered respectful, easygoing and that “YES” person. Being a quiet person that introvert you may feel compelled to fit in and follow everything your peers do and say. Imagine you are sent an invite, you know you are tired but you feel bad about not attending, for the fear of being labelled anti-social. Has saying “No” been an easy or difficult task for you?
Growing up I have always been known to be a nice and simple person at times somewhat quite generous. I thought that saying No was rude, a little unbecoming and unfriendly. At times it was a case of being the perfect people pleaser at my own detriment. Growing up I still felt that kindness and consideration was the way to be that brother and sister’s keeper. Today I strongly feel that it is not about others but more about being yourself.
What are your values in life? What makes you tick? What is right for you and what is wrong for you? Saying No should not gear up feelings of guilt, it should be justified without pride or prejudice. Saying No can be said in so many ways forcefully, aggressively, unwillingly, happily, regretfully, uncertainly and confidently. I have looked at my experiences and decided to write my etiquette strategies for saying “No” where it matters most. See what resonbates with you.
How should you say No when it really matters most.
Today a lot of social functions are happening all over. The social life can be quite overwhelming with invites to weddings, birthdays, corporate events, funerals; launches you name it. At times there is the feeling that you must attend as many events so that they can attend yours. You almost try to split yourself into two or four just to show your presence even when it means you can only barely spend 10 minutes before jumping off to the next event. If you know it is going to be very inconvenient, and awkward be sincere and honest with yourself. Let your No be genuine because you truly have to be somewhere else; in other words you are not available to be present. Better to say it now with an apology if necessary than not to say it at all or say it late.
At times you have two obligations or more at the same time, same day and you are at loggerheads as to which event to attend. There is always an opportunity cost for every decision you make. Say No to the one that is less relevant to you depending on its importance. What is in it for you? You will need to weigh your time, resources, your effort and your intellect. Without appearing rude unless you have the ability to be at both places the clear answer is No. It may pay you to delegate and have a representative to attend on your behalf leaving you room to attend other important appointments.
Don’t Hold Back
I found that some people delay saying No to a later date hoping that things may just change before the D-day. Say No now not later if you are clear that it may just be a challenge. Maybe your meeting will over shoot in time or the traffic to the venue has the potential to cause serious lateness or the distance is impossible for you to make it happen. It is easier to say No partially, meaning that you have a previously arranged event or appointment but might make it if you finish on time. Otherwise say it now that it looks like you will have to pass.
Thank You but No Thanks.
If you receive an invite and it requires an RSVP, once you are aware that you cannot attend the occasion, it is only polite to RSVP by thanking them for the invite and explaining briefly your unavailability. Always show that appreciation, so that you will be valued when it comes to being invited again.
Refuse being Perpetual.
It may be a policy of yours to refuse to buy or pay for something like Aso-ebi. Be careful not to be known for your constant No’s as you will label yourself as one never to be invited again in the future. Remember there will always be a time you will need to invite others to celebrate with you too. Aso-ebi purchases are certainly not mandatory and is surely a personal choice, however at times you might opt for alternative options where available that are convenient, cheaper and more satisfactory.
In the same light you may say that you just do not go to events whether you are available or not. People do take note of this and may feel quite offended especially if you keep mute and disregard the host with no reason. It is a good way of driving friends away from you, when push comes to shove you may not see your nearest and dearest when it matters most.
Does your saying Yes really mean No? Does your No really mean saying Yes?
In saying No, make up your mind fair and square, justify to yourself and stick to your decisions. Avoid any form of procrastination, say it once and don’t look back. Be confident in your choice and uphold your integrity.
Ask all the questions you need.
These are times when the information about an invite on the surface sounds great. When you look closer you see that it will involve travelling out of your locality amounting to some inconveniences. It is safe to ask as many questions before you make the final decision. If the invite requires your services there is the tendency to charge premium to net off all the logistical hitches that may occur. If it truly does not resonate with you all the way no harm in saying a big bold No. Once again be confident in the decision you make and stand by them. Wishing you all the best of luck.