5 Ways to Learning to Be Assertive in Relationships and How to Say “No”

Say No

Do you find it difficult to be assertive and say “no” to people’s requests? Learning to be assertive in relationships is key to having healthy boundaries, feeling safe, and not being taken advantage of in relationships.

Since there just aren’t enough hours in the day to appease everyone, the art of saying “no” without hurting the feelings of others is an important skill to acquire. The following article will teach you how to be more assertive in your relationships. 

Saying “no” doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it. There are plenty of polite, yet assertive, ways you can tell people “no” when you need to. Learning to be assertive in relationships while also balancing your delivery is a skill which is why we enjoy teaching people how to be more assertive. 

Here are some ways you can say “no” without being rude or impolite: 

“No” to now, but “yes” to later: “I’m very busy at the moment. Perhaps someone else can help you. If not, I’ll have time later in the week to help you out.”

This is a great way to say “no.” It’s assertive, but also positive and kind. In learning to be assertive in relationships you learn how to be more assertive by letting the other person know there’s no way you can do what they’re asking at the moment. However, you give them the option to ask someone else or wait until you have the time to help out.

This allows you to balance your own personal responsibilities while also being helpful to others by not self-sacrificing.  

“No” unless something changes:

“I’m very flattered that you’ve asked me. However, I’m not currently in a position where I can take on this responsibility. Could we talk about this at another time if there’s a change in my circumstances?”

This statement says “no” while still being very polite. You let them know how thrilled you are that they’ve asked you, but then you’re honest about how little time you have to commit to their request. In learning to be assertive in relationships it is important to set boundaries with time.

Learning how to be more assertive it can be uncomfortable at first especially if you are more prone to helping others before yourself, but this is where discretion needs to come in handy. 

A definitive “No”:

I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not able to do this. I’m afraid I’ll overextend myself.”

With this statement, you express regret for disappointing the person, yet you still let them know that this is a solid “no.” No doubt they’ll understand you don’t want to overextend yourself, which makes them sympathetic to the plight you’re in as well.

This answer is very kind and polite. Plus, it allows them to understand where you’re coming from. If they become defensive, rude, dismissive, or gaslight you in any way then you know this is not a person that can be close to you anymore.

In learning to be assertive in relationships it is about standing your ground, speaking your truth, but also letting go of others who are not going to be supportive of you. In learning how to be more assertive, at times the learning curve can be steep, you can feel uncomfortable, and it can be stressful but it will be easier. 

“No” to attending an event:

“I had a great time before, but I won’t be able to make it this time since I’m already overscheduled.”

Sometimes you may get asked to an event you don’t want to attend or that you just don’t have the time for. You don’t have to feel obligated to go, or guilty to attend. This statement lets the person know you’ve had a great time in the past, yet you’re overscheduled or busy this time around. This allows for you to be able to honor yourself while also communicating your needs. In learning to be assertive in relationships and learning how to be more assertive you will learn to balance yourself and others in your life. 

“No” to loaning money:

I really wish I could but I make it my practice not to loan money to friends and family.”

Money is one thing that many people ask for from their friends and family. It’s a difficult situation since you don’t want to insult them or hurt their feelings. This statement is a nice way to be assertive and say “no” while still being kind. This can be challenging when you are learning to be assertive in relationships.

You let them know that you wish you could loan them the money, yet you go on to explain why you won’t. You make it clear that this is the practice you have for everyone, and you’re not just saying “no” to him or her personally. This is how to be more assertive, especially on controversial topics.

It is okay to say no, you can soften the blow to the other person by providing them with your reason. Make the reason relative to your core values, as an instance, in my practice I do not discuss pricing with my patients. This is for a few reasons, I choose to focus on patient care and my core value is to keep the continuity of my care clear where I am focused solely on the patient care. I want to keep my patient care focused on patient care.

So, I say no, with love. They will often push, try to manipulate, or force their point – but you must ensure the answer is still no. 

For some reason, parents often feel the need to always say “yes.” Whether it’s working at a PTA function, helping in your child’s classroom, or going to yet another classmate’s birthday party, you may feel like these are things you must fit into your already busy schedule.

However, you can take control of your family’s calendar – and your sanity – by saying “no” to some offers that come your way. Saying “no” in a pleasant tone of voice won’t lose any friends, but it will allow you to set boundaries so you can enjoy life rather than race through it.

Try to limit yourself to something you can do comfortably, perhaps something once a month and something that you will love or enjoy – such as the gardening club, or admin work. Whichever it is please gather things that you will enjoy. 

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