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How To Say "No"
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
There are many reasons that people have trouble saying "no," such as wanting to be helpful, not wanting to be rude, not wanting people to be upset with you, and not wanting to lose out on opportunities.


Though most people struggle at times with saying "no," it can be a real problem if it prevents you from doing the things you want, makes you a slave to being nice, and results in you feeling that you have no value beyond what you can do for people.


There are ways to help yourself say "no," such as acknowledging that you are at your limit with responsibilities that you can take on or reminding yourself that you can say "no" without being rude.


What are your struggles with saying "no"? How do you help yourself to say "no"?




If you would like to read more in detail about this topic in my The Art of Relationships blog, click here .


Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.


Reply
 
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dfromspencer responded:
Hi Doctor Leslie,

I myself struggle with saying no to one particular person. He helped me in a way I have no idea how to pay off? He helped protect me in a way that could have had a dire effect on my life! I really don't know when enough is enough, in this situation?

Now days, since he moved to this town where Joe and I had moved to, he seems to feel that I am his personal taxi? Even when I tell him I have no gas, he insists till I can't stand it, and I drive him where he wants to go. Every time he argues with me, I know he wants to bring our past up. I think he really wants to Lord that help over me? I can see that in his eye's. I know his help saved me a tremendous amount of money, and time, but when is that debt going to be repaid? It didn't cost him much, if any money. It only took some of his time.

So, when is enough, enough? And how do I tell him that? No matter what I tell him, he is going to stand there and, not really argue, just talk about all this he has done for me. He knows I get tired of hearing it after so long, the longest he did this was about three hours. If I could do it without guilt, I would probably punch him right in the mouth? I do get so tired of hearing him go on, and on, and on some more!!!

How do I say no to someone like that? I do not want to hurt his feelings. After all, he did help me in a really big way!

Any thoughts/suggestion's would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks for listening to my sob story! Take care!

Dennis

P.S. Anyone else have any suggestion's, or want to share your story, please feel free to do so!

D.
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to dfromspencer's response:
Dennis: When someone helps you out (unless it is a business deal), you don't really owe them anything beyond appreciation. Of course, people often do feel obliged to "pay back" the aid. In this case, you need to ask yourself when you think that "debt" has been paid. And if you feel you are being taken advantage of or that the original help is being held out as eternally unpaid, then you need to be clear about this unfortunate situation within yourself. This will hopefully help to free you from the 'chains' that bind you.

People in your type of situation sometimes find that they need to be clear about their appreciation for the help and about their limits for how they are willing to be helpful. This can be done in a caring, tactful way, though the other person will still likely get upset- and there is no way to avoid this. Keep in mind, though, that the other person being upset does not mean that you are doing something wrong, just that you are doing something they don't like.
 
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fcl responded:
I learned how to say no when my children were born, not to them but to other people. I had twins and people kept expecting us to attend things with our babies in tow. I learned fast (albeit late - lol).

My husband, OTOH, does not know how to say "no". He thinks that if he says "we'll see" (even when he has absolutely no intention of doing anything) that he will cause less upset. However, he generally causes more because people take the "we'll see" for a "yes". I've tried hard over the years to explain that it's better to be upfront and turn things down than to leave them dangling and have to refuse later. The other possible outcome is that I get to be the bad guy. When invited for an Easter family meal he said "we'll see" when we'd already agreed that neither of us was ready to spend 5 hours sitting at a table with 5 month old babies. So I got to say "no".
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
 
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dfromspencer replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Thank you, Dr. Leslie, that is exactly what I thought I should do? I have to say one more thing about this guy I failed to make clear? Since this help he gave to me, he has become suspicious of other's, especially the neighbor's! He really believes they are spying on him! We had a B.B.Q. one weekend, and he sat there the whole time, telling me how these people were watching him. Yet, every time I looked over, they were completely ignoring us! Another time we were out there, that family was moving out. My "friend" tells me the N.S.A. had recalled them cause they could not dig up any dirt on him! WHAT??? He has accused a couple of different guys of having sexual relation's with his fianc?, including me. ME? There is no way in hell I would touch anyone that had an attachment to another!!! I have told him this, till I am blue in the face, it does no good!

So, you see what I have to deal with, he will be more suspicious of me if I tell him no?!

I wish I could move!!!

Thanks again, now, I will have to tell him, and face the consequences!!! But face them, I must!!!

Take care!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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dfromspencer replied to fcl's response:
Thank you, FCL! I have two children, but they were not twins, and they have families of their own now. I am proud of both of them!!! You are so right! I tried that "Lets see", and it never came out well! You always have to say no, eventually, so it is best to say it up front! That way, there is no misunderstandings later!

That is another one of my problems, I hate to be the "BAD GUY"!! But in this case, I guess I have to in order to free myself of this chain!!!

Thank you, again!!! Take care!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to dfromspencer's response:
Dennis, Good luck with your friend. Be aware that there might come a point when you need to decide between appeasing him (and his paranoia) and moving on -- even though he helped you in the past.
 
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dfromspencer replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Well, I told him yesterday that if he ever needed a ride, it was cash up front, or no ride. I don't know how to interpret the look I got, but I hope he got the message?! I told him I needed tires, and that every ride I give you, takes even more tread. Plus, it takes gas to get you there and back, and I do not have any money! I told him I just took on this payment for this truck, and the insurance doubled because of it. On top of that, the landlady saw fit to raise all of our rents because she can't stop gambling, and that took away my gas money!!!

He gave me some look I have no way of interpreting? I hope it has sunk into his brain now? He just walked away? We worked side by side last night helping the L.L. get an apartment ready to rent, he said nothing about it.

I have to believe he got it?! Thank you, thank you all for the help!!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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An_250579 replied to dfromspencer's response:
I think that how you take things from your approach is completely wrong.. Don't take it to yourself. I think that you need threapy about how being yourself, dont worry about other person. Make clear choice of your centered life, not other person.
Good luck.


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