EP 49 How to Say No
Welcome fellow confidence crusaders, neuro nerds and success equalizers. This is your podcast, Real Confidence. I'm your host, Alyssa Dver, and I'll be sharing a bit of basic brain science, some surprising social secrets and a touch of tough love. Why? Because I believe confidence is everyone's fundamental right and choice. So, let's get to it.
No. Such a simple word to bloody letters N O. And yet it may be the hardest word for many of us to say. Why is that? Why is it so hard to tell somebody no, I don't want to go. No, I don't like that. No, I don't appreciate it. No can be guilt ridden. We feel badly that maybe we've hurt somebody's feelings when we say no. More often, we feel that they're going to judge us, that they're going to reject us, that they're not going to like us. Because there's something that we've expressed that we don't want to do or we don't value. Myself, you know, even this weekend, my sister called me up and she said, Come with me and mom to the museum. Girlfriend of mine said, Come with us to services tonight. And I had just gotten back from New York. I was very tired. It was a great trip, a power packed with with my kids. I had some business commitments and I was tired. I just wanted to be home. The weather wasn't good. I could have made every excuse in the world. I just didn't want to go anywhere. And of course. No. But I had to explain why to my sister, my friends.
Now, I joke sometimes when I do training that oftentimes men will just say, No, no, I can't make the meeting. No, I can't do that. You know, I don't want that. And that's the end of it. Women and yes, I'm generalizing will make all kinds of excuses. Why? No, I can't go. I have all these other things to do. No, I can't go because I blah, blah, blah. Right. And sometimes TMI, we give so much information and the other person just doesn't need to know all the details, but let alone doesn't want to know the details. They just want to know, do you want to call him? Do you want another scoop of that? Whatever it is? No.
How about. Variants of this, like when somebody brings you food in a restaurant, the waitstaff, and for whatever reason, it's not correct. It's not right. Maybe it's cold, maybe it's undercooked, overcooked, whatever it might be. Some of us very comfortably will say, Hey, this is not how I ordered it. And now think twice about the fact that that waitstaff or even the chef might be offended. But at the same time, we're paying money, we're there, we go out, and many times we're too embarrassed or we don't want to cause trouble or whatever the excuses, but we won't send it back. We just deal with that. It's a different variant of no, but it's still the same issue.
And again, it is this fear of being rejected that somebody is not going to like us, that somebody is going to be judging us for saying, hey, time out. This doesn't work for me. It's amazing, right? Again, this little word. Now, why? Why does it seem to be easier for some people and I used before the kind of aggregation of men's. In many cases it might be easier for the males who've been socialized to know that it's okay to say no, but. For some people, women as well, they're just it's easier for them. You know, maybe in some cases they feel that they're experts. And I guess some people maybe it's just some of the times in some areas when we feel we have expertise, it's easier for us to say, no, that's not right or no, that is not how I feel about things, because we have that confidence, that support, to say that I know more than other people. Therefore, I get to be judgmental. And we do this as experts in our career fields. We may do this as parents. I mean, I feel like an expert parent, but we certainly feel like we know more than our children so we can tell them no easily, maybe even our siblings, for that matter. If you're a business adviser or consultant, it's perhaps part of your job description to tell your client, No, that's not right. So we get an elevated sense of privilege to say no when we're an expert.
Another reason it may be easier to say no is when we're being defensive and I say easier when we feel like we're being attacked, whether it's our expertise or our egos being attacked. We will get defensive. And I know I've shared this on other podcasts and certain people I happen to be married to oftentimes will just kind of jump to that. No word as an initial reaction to almost anything. I think that there is this sense of, wait, I got to slow down this train. I got to think about what you're saying. I've got to process this. And it might be something as simple as Do you like this pair of jeans or this pair of jeans for yourself? No. Right. Is the reaction. It's a defensive. Slow the train down and or I don't want to deal with this right now. That might just be the no coming out. In some cases it may be people that you are related to or know personally that have to be the smartest person around. Or they just really enjoy disagreeing. They are debate oriented. And so no, again, becomes a default and it's a defensive position. Just say timeout, I'm in charge. I'm going to take control of this conversation by throwing in the no word. So they're protecting themselves. They want to feel superior. They want to be in control. They say, maybe you do this yourselves. I catch myself doing it still. It is that no defense mechanism. So that's a second reason.
So number one is that we're expert, number two that we're being defensive. And number three. I'm going to give you a positive one, I hope, is that people who are confident will say no because they really mean it. Because they are clear with what they want or they like. And so if there's something that they don't want or don't like. No is a conscious decision and they are respecting their own values, their own needs and wants. And so it's easier to say no when you're confident. Surprise!. Now, my other examples of being an expert in needing to defend that expertise or defend your ego. Possibly you could say are the opposite of being confident. But isn't it interesting that. People who say no may be completely insecure in those cases versus secure in being confident and confidently saying, no, I don't want that. No, thank you, I don't need that. Now as you get older, you certainly get more comfortable around this word n-o. And that's largely a result of our confidence getting higher and higher as we get to the magic number of 60. And we're able to say, no, I don't want to go to the museum. No, I don't want to go to services on a Friday night in the rain.
So the good news is it gets easier for many people. It gets easier when you're consciously making that decision of something that you really don't want to do or eat or wear. And you say it with not a defensive posture, but more of a conclusive one. So I'm going to take a quick break. When I come back, as always, I'm going to give you some very specific tips for how to say no with confidence.
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All right. So here we are. We're going to give you those beautiful tips in an as usual, everything is brain science baked. I'm going to try and give you very specific steps here so that when you're in a situation, whether it's somebody asking you to do something, whether you're making a decision of what to eat, what to send back in the restaurant, or simply somebody asking your opinion about something, you can say no with confidence, not defensiveness. So the first step in all of this and you're going to see patterns here from everything that I teach, because it is the same situation and really recognizing when your brain's going into that defensive mode is you can actually feel it. You can feel a little uncomfortable that moment. If you catch it where your amygdala is screaming at you, hey, under attack. And if you are feeling that, it means that your cave person, your fight or flight, your amygdala is screaming something may go wrong here. And what could go wrong is that you may have a little rejection that somebody may not like your answer of no. And your brain is processing that. And so you get a little sweaty heart races maybe, or you just feel a little comfortable.
Linette, who helped me co-found ACI, used to say it's that itchy feeling, that feeling of discomfort in your brain that's saying, oof, do I really want to tell this person no? That's great when you can recognize it, when you feel that it's that moment of truth that says, if I say no, that's what I really want to say then I might upset this other person. And that's okay. So when you recognize that and you realize that's the fear. You can make a confident decision. The decision is. This is what I really want. I want to tell this person no, and you can say it in a way that's not defensive or aggressive no, thank you. No, I don't want that, but I appreciate it. And so the politeness of the declination makes a huge difference. It makes a huge difference for you to stay calm and in control, but it also then conveys to the person. No, thank you. As opposed to no I'm being a jerk or no, I'm just being temperamental. It's not a defensive posture, it's a declarative one.
So when you decide what you want to do in terms of I want to say no, because it really is important that I say, no, I don't want to eat that. I don't want to wear that. I don't want to go there for good reason, not because. I just want to piss somebody off. But because I really don't want to do that. You can then say thank you for the invitation, but I'm not interested in doing that. This steak that you brought me, it's beautiful, but it's not cooked the way that I had ordered it. And so no becomes an expression of what you need and want and not a fear based reaction to somebody otherwise who may not like what you have to say. So my friends don't fear the no. Know the no. Especially when it's triggering that key person reaction for you to get defensive, to try and maintain your expertise or your sense of ego and put it aside, look at it and say, what is it that's making me say no and respond in a way that honors your values? I know it sounds easy. I literally know it sounds easy, but you can do it. It just takes a little practice. And with that said go forward and say no with confidence.
Before we totally wrap up, I want to let you know that full transcripts and show notes for this and other real confidence episodes can be found on www.AmericanConfidenceInstitute.com/podcast. I also want to remind you once again that the best way to get confidence is to give it to others. And you can do it just by liking and sharing this episode on your preferred podcast and social media channels. You can even give me some confidence by noting topics you'd like me to consider for the future. So for now, this is Alyssa Dver. Thank you for helping to bring more confidence to the world.
Master editing done by Ben Weinstein with original music performed and composed by Jeff Mitchell. Real Confidence is a production of American Confidence Institute. All rights reserved.