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to think just saying no isn't as easy

(61 Posts)
user1496785376 Thu 15-Jun-17 09:43:10

as many people on mumsnet seem to think it is? The thread about saying no to looking after a friend's dog got me thinking. I've never found it easy to say no but after being told many times that I shouldn't be such a doormat I have tried saying no more often. But I then found that there are many people who have never been taught to take no for an answer. They badger you for explanations, they keep on asking and saying "why not? oh go on, do it for me". Even something simple like not wanting an alcoholic drink has people saying "why don't you want one? Why don't you drink? Go on, one won't hurt you"
So does anyone else find they can't "just say no" because others won't just accept being told no?

MrsOverTheRoad Thu 15-Jun-17 10:04:18

No. I've always been able to stick up for myself. People who badger get short shrift.

I don't drink really and if people hassle me I just look at them and walk off.

SquinkiesRule Thu 15-Jun-17 10:55:37

It gets easier as you get older and don't give a shit so much.

araiwa Thu 15-Jun-17 11:04:24

It really is one of the easiest words to say

ijustwannadance Thu 15-Jun-17 11:09:14

I'm fine with saying no but i'm stubborn as hell and won't bow to pressure or emotional blackmail.

If you are a doormat, you will be an easy target.

steppemum Thu 15-Jun-17 11:09:50

I understadn what you are saying, but I would say that
1. if you have recently started saying no, these people are not used to you saying no. The more you say it, the more they will accept it.
2. Their response doesn't change my original no. I politely shrug and say I can't do it. I use phrases which are hard to come back to "it isn't convenient for me right now" "Sorry, I have too much on that week and can't do it" "I have stepped down from helping with the PTA as I do other things, please ask someone else" "I don't want a drink, just get me a coke. ?? Didn't you hear me? I don't wnat a drink, please get me a coke? Ok I'll go and get it myself"

Don't engage with the badgering, smile, turn away, shrug shoulders, repeat ad infinitum - no, not possible/no, I don't want to/
Or turn it round - really it is pretty rude to keep asking me you know? I have nicely said why and you are nagging.

YoureNotASausage Thu 15-Jun-17 11:10:57

I think you need two things. The ability to say no and the ability to not surround yourself with assholes. Two very important skills for a happy life.

I can't think of a single person in my life who would try to take advantage of me or wouldn't read between the lines if I politely said no about something.

FakePlasticTeaLeaves Thu 15-Jun-17 11:12:48

People who pressure to drink are the worst! Peer pressure: we're not kids, I hate it. It's only so they can feel better about themselves, they don't actually care about you.

I agree that saying no does get easier as you get older. I used to have trouble when I was younger, but I honestly just don't give a shit now. Peer pressure is quite juvenile, so just think of it in that way. Or call them out if it's easier 'Are you PEER PRESSURING me", make them feel like a dick. I know this question wasn't only about the drinking situation, but in other situations - the dog walking - you try and say no as politely as you can I suppose!

Piratesandpants Thu 15-Jun-17 11:14:03

This is a really interesting issue on mumsnet. The ability to say 'no' or do/not do something is not always easy - but it is possible and it is possible to learn. It can also be done 'nicely' if people are concerned about the consequences. I do think it's really important that people remember that they are entirely in control of what they say and do. As soon as we start saying 'She/he won't let me' or 'they made me' 'put pressure on me' we are relinquishing personal responsibility - which is s dangerous position to get into for all sorts of reasons - self esteem, perception of control over our life etc etc.
On a practical note I would say prepare and practice.

Butterymuffin Thu 15-Jun-17 11:17:02

It's having the technique and being ready to draw the line. Broken record is the best way to do this. Prepare your line and stick to it. 'I just can't do it that weekend' 'I'm not drinking tonight, thanks' and then with every new query, simply repeat 'I told you, I... ' until they give up. Don't apologise, elaborate or explain. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you really feel under pressure, move away 'oh, that's my phone ringing / I'm going to speak to so and so now' or whatever. Like anything it needs preparation and practice to get to be good at it.

Intransige Thu 15-Jun-17 11:17:57

It's easy for some people to say no but I agree it's not easy per se.

Regarding the badgering, I think it helps to realise that you don't have to join argument that you're invited to. Not everything that people say deserves a response.

Butterymuffin Thu 15-Jun-17 11:18:04

pirates X post on 'prepare and practice'! Great minds...

araiwa Thu 15-Jun-17 11:20:07

Op can you give me £5000

specialsubject Thu 15-Jun-17 11:31:08

as a life-long teetotaller, when asked what you want to drink, just say what you want. Peer pressure really is a playground thing.

if you associate with bores who can't have fun without getting smashed, change your friends.

cingolimama Thu 15-Jun-17 11:34:21

I think you need two things. The ability to say no and the ability to not surround yourself with assholes. Two very important skills for a happy life.

I will embroider this on my daughter's pillow. Words to live by.

WhooooAmI24601 Thu 15-Jun-17 11:36:27

I used to be a complete people-pleaser and would do anything to please anyone.

Now I'm a selfish cow and if it doesn't suit me or my family, I don't give a shit about pleasing anyone else. It just takes practise. Practise it every day in minor areas and eventually you build up to bigger and better 'no' situations. I don't explain my 'no' often, either. It's an empowering thing once you get used to it. The DCs have grown up knowing "no" just means "no". Not badgering, not whining, not cajoling. Just no. Best word out there.

Peach9876 Thu 15-Jun-17 11:37:54

OP I can relate. I'm a human doormat. Have been all my life.

I think part of the issue is that children learn the word no quite early on and many of us are repeatedly told you don't say no when asked to do something... Usually relating to parents/teachers etc. I know I was always 'reminded' to do as I'm told and no isn't an answer. Add in a mother who doesn't say no (she just cancels at the last minute or doesn't show up) and I figure it's no wonder I'm like I am.

I've started saying no, mainly for my health. It's hard and I hate doing it, it makes me feel completely crap, like I won't help out those I'm supposed to care about. But actually other than the people who just take advantage all clearing off it's not really done any harm.

steppemum Thu 15-Jun-17 11:37:56

I think the key is as Buttery says, don't engage with their argument.
I'm not able to look after your dog.
Why?
I've told you, I'm not able to look after the dog.
Why? Are you busy? Do you have an allergy?
As I said, I'm not able to look after the dog.
But it is only for 2 days, and your kids love the dog?
No, as I said I'm not able to look after it.
PLEASE, it would really help me, I thought you were my friend.
I can't do it, I'm not able to look after the dog.

Do you see how you never ever address their 'reason' ? as soon as you get into, no I don'#t have an allergy, yes I am busy, I am your friend, I know the kids love it but.....
as soon as you get into the discussion, the strongest person wins.
Don;t go there, just repeat, - can't do it.

ludog Thu 15-Jun-17 11:38:25

I used to find it hard to say no but a friend suggested saying 'can I get back to you?' That was helpful as it bought me time to think about it. I find 'no' much easier now but it takes practice to get confident with it.

deugain Thu 15-Jun-17 11:43:46

'prepare and practice'!

^^ This.

I found my IL awful with the drinking pressure. Looking back it was much more about amounts they were drinking than about me.

I got endlessly badger about a sleep over DD1 at 5 didn't want to do - by a mum friend - I tried most things in end started avoiding but it only stopped when I was so blunt I was pretty rude.

I think some people rely on you being polite - I think getting older means I'm less worried about upsetting or not being polite quicker than when I was younger which in turn stops of people trying it on.

MoosicalDaisy Thu 15-Jun-17 11:43:58

I can say no - and I've learned that - but what gets me is when people repeatedly keep 'encouraging' you. I'm talking about a ping pong conversation where they won't accept you having said no, what do you do with that?!

deugain Thu 15-Jun-17 11:48:34

but what gets me is when people repeatedly keep 'encouraging' you. I'm talking about a ping pong conversation where they won't accept you having said no, what do you do with that?!

We've had this conversation.

Howe many time do I need to say no.

It's not happening - I don't need encouragement I don't want to do x - how much clearer do I need to be?

Look what is the problem here - I've said no - and yet you keep on and on - why

handslikecowstits Thu 15-Jun-17 11:54:50

I find it difficult OP as I was unfortunately never allowed to say 'no' when I was growing up and was emotionally blackmailed a lot. Practice makes perfect is all I can say. I'm much better at it now.

deugain Thu 15-Jun-17 11:58:01

The one I found hard was completely ignoring me and doing something - like I say I want a coke and they bring back a coke and rum or coke or another alcoholic drink.

I found not going along and drinking it politely - ignoring or creating a fuss - going and getting what I wanted worked.

I found it harder with some situations mainly with the kids -example when family turn up at same holiday resort as us and gatecrash our holiday - and you can't make a fuss like you'd want -without upsetting the children - avoidance management is my strategy there.

CalmShambala Thu 15-Jun-17 12:07:25

I still find it hard to say no but I don't end up doing things I don't want to. First of all I think I give off a vibe that says don't ask me. A recent example is I walked the length of my town 3 times a few weeks ago and every Labour/Con/LibD tout looked away when I made eye contact. I also try to head people off at the pass when I know that person will make a fuss if we say no. I actually plan my year out to avoid having to do things I don't want to. For example, for some strange reason my MIL thinks we like nothing better than to go on holiday with her. She plans trips around their birthdays and anniversaries to add to the pressure. Unfortunately I am a bit thick and booked our holidays without carefully checking who is having a birthday or anniversary and booked non refundable tickets grin

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