May 8, 2017

How to say no.

That might be a better headline than "Why You Should Learn to Say ‘No’ More Often" for this NYT column by Kristin Wong:
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research by Professor Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt found that saying “I don’t” as opposed to “I can’t” allowed participants to extract themselves from unwanted commitments.

While “I can’t” sounds like an excuse that’s up for debate, “I don’t” implies you’ve established certain rules for yourself, suggesting conviction and stability. And since it’s personal, it also maintains the social connection humans crave....

“No, I don’t buy from solicitors” for door-to-door salespeople, for example. “No, I don’t go out during the week” for co-workers who want to go on a drinking binge on a Monday night.

When you have these phrases ready, you don’t have to waste time wavering over an excuse. And you start to develop a reflexive behavior of saying no.
The most amazing thing about this article is that there isn't one word about how saying no is especially difficult for women. What about the references to "Shonda Rhimes and Tina Fey," who, we're told, have advised "us" to "say yes to everything"? You have to click out of the article to get where you can see if this is special advice to women. I did. It isn't.

26 comments:

Gahrie said...

The most amazing thing about this article is that there isn't one word about how saying no is especially difficult for women.

I have not found this to be true........

Earnest Prole said...

I thought women were supposed to lean in.

MadisonMan said...

"No" is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation. (Especially if you're talking to a teen -- although "Why do you think?" was a good rejoinder in my experience).

Learn the freedom of saying "No". If someone asks "Why Not?" you can ignore them or just shrug and move on.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Gahrie said...

I have not found this to be true........

I wear shorts, and drink beverages through a straw, just to make it easier on them.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

That's terrible advice, terrible! "I don't ___________ " makes you sound like an inflexible prig; the kind of self-centered, secretly insecure person who has a policy on everything. Then the kind of person this article warns us of will just debate you on policy Y instead of your reasons for declining specific opportunity X.

Tank said...

@MM

Agree.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Hey Althouse! Wanna grab a sandwich at that new Jimmy John's today at lunch?

No thank you; I don't eat at chain sandwich places.

result: ugh what an uptight snot




Hey Althouse! Wanna grab a sandwich at that new Jimmy John's today at lunch?

No, I'm good; thanks though!

result: a normal pleasant person

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Exactly Pants!

Better to say "no" like MM or "won't". If you say you don't go drinking during the week but then go with a different time or group that will cause you problems.

Arthur James said...

They can smell your intentions. All my friends are heathens

John Tuffnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

co-workers who want to go on a drinking binge

I self-censored about that frat guy who decided to get falling-down drunk and then fell down and died: I think his death was 99% his fault because he was too lame to say "no". Maybe 99.99%.

EDH said...

...Hagtvedt found that saying “I don’t” as opposed to “I can’t” allowed participants to extract themselves from unwanted commitments.

"If you are thinking of..." ...DON'T

Paco Wové said...

"I don't ___________ " makes you sound like an inflexible prig

It's kind of a half-measure; it only really works if you also refer to yourself in the third person.

"No thank you; Ann Althouse doesn't eat at chain sandwich places."

Fernandinande said...

Paco Wové said...
"No thank you; Ann Althouse doesn't eat at chain sandwich places."


That's what I'll say if someone ever asks me (it could happen!) to eat at a chain sandwich place.

Ann Althouse said...

Something I actually wrote to someone today: "These things tend to be set up as pro and con debates, and that’s not what I do."

That's not priggish. That's conveying critique and defining myself.

"Hey Althouse! Wanna grab a sandwich at that new Jimmy John's today at lunch?

I could say: I don't eat lunch.

But then you have to say no to all lunches.

Back in the 80s, I had a problem saying no when asked to lunch and I thought it was dangerous to fumble for appropriate decisions and explanations so I just made a rule to alway say yes. I could write a book about the trouble that got me into. You have no idea!

Fernandinande said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Hey Althouse! Wanna grab a sandwich at that new Jimmy John's today at lunch?

I could say: I don't eat lunch.


You could use a modified version of my excuse:

"No thank you; Fernandinande might be there."

Brian Balster said...

Ann said: " so I just made a rule to always say yes. I could write a book about the trouble that got me into. You have no idea!"

I want to buy that book! (though Ann's Amazon portal)

Bay Area Guy said...

Is this really a problem?

"Thank you for the lunch invite. To be honest though, I'd rather stab my left eye socket with an oyster fork, then force myself to endure pointless conversation with you, or endure your real-time monologues. So, NO, I can't make it to lunch today."

AA says:

"Back in the 80s, I had a problem saying no when asked to lunch and I thought it was dangerous to fumble for appropriate decisions and explanations so I just made a rule to alway say yes. I could write a book about the trouble that got me into. You have no idea!"

Do blog on this! It sounds like an 80s version of Mad Men, with Don Draper, feathered hair and all, bugging you for business/lunch dates.

YoungHegelian said...

As Prof. Althouse kinda says, the problem with phrasing "No" as a self-imposed rule "I don't do X" is that the other person interprets that negative as "I don't ever do X". When in the future that person you turned down finds out that you did X, & matter of fact, often do X, just not with that person, feelings will be hurt. Hurt because you, for all intents & purposes lied.
,
So, if X is bungee jumping, well, then you can get away with "I don't". If X is going to Jimmie Johns, rather than "I don't..." you're really better off saying "Thanks, but I find JJ's sandwiches to be loathsome. Now, fried chicken from Popeyes, you're on!".

YoungHegelian said...

When you're in business for yourself, you end up eating lunch with all sorts of people who are clients, would-be clients, vendors, etc. It really is a motley slice of humanity. I never thought that the Southern affability bred into me as a boy would be so socially useful. I mean, in the South, if you can't start a decent conversation with a total stranger, well, you just aren't very good socially, are ya, child? I know that in many parts of the world, e.g. northern Europe, people will stare at you like your a freak if you strike up a conversation with a total stranger, e.g. this Finnish joke:

How can you tell if you're talking to a Finnish extrovert?

Because when you talk to him he stares at your shoes instead of his own.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

No viva la sexual revolucion? But abortion. Not the final solution? What other punishments keep you bitter, clinging, and insensitive to "Yes. We can"?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Something I actually wrote to someone today: "These things tend to be set up as pro and con debates, and that’s not what I do."

That's not priggish. That's conveying critique and defining myself.


That's different and entirely acceptable and respectable. That's defining your work as opposed to your more small scale and personal preferences, which is the kind of thing this article is about. I know all kinds of people who are all I don't PTA or I don't watch TV or I don't high-fructose corn syrup and while those are all fine choices to make, they sound like supercilious snots when they make pronouncements like that.

Pro-tip, NYT readers who are still learning that graciousness opens doors: if you must decline someone's invitation to share an experience with you, you can turn it down for any reason you want, including no reason at all, but please understand that belittling something that another person values with your attitude will not help you win friends and influence people.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Also I think categorical declines to prevent future awkward invitations are ok, but be tactful. Like, not, "I don't PTA" when the nice lady invites you to a meeting, but "You guys do such important work and I'd love to be involved, but my plate is a bit overfull at the moment and I can't give it the attention it deserves. I'll let you know if I can jump in at some point in the future!"

Caroline webb said...

I have something to share with you!!! There is a great joy in my heart
which I want to share with everyone. My name is Caroline Webb from United
States. I had a misunderstanding with my lover last year which led us to
break up and he never wanted to hear my voice again. He saw a beautiful
woman which he find more prettier than me, but as time went on I met god Dr lucky He is a great spell caster. I contacted him through his email and
explained everything to him. He said that I shouldn't worry, that my lover
will come back to me on his knees begging for forgiveness before 24
hours.My greatest joy now is that he actually came back to me and fell on
his knees begging for forgiveness, and today we are happy and he also cured
my Sister's breast cancer. Do you have any problem? worry no more because
Dr lucky can provide lasting spell solution to any problems:email him Dr luckysolutiontemple@gmail.com or call him +23480139792383 or add him on whats- app +23480139792383

If you want your ex back.

You want to be promoted in your office.

If you want to be cured of HIV, Cancers and other diseases.

You want to be rich.

You want your husband/wife to be yours forever.

If you need financial assistance.

Emmanuel Monday said...

Attention to all,Attention to all.Are you a business man singer soccer play
trying to be grand and famous in life or trying to secure your wealth and
position in the society and get money within 3 days .
whatsApp +2347052744530
.join Illuminati now to have Money, powers, fame,protection, cure to all
illness and wealth become your title in just three days. If interested to
join the illuminati brotherhood and sisters with our headquarters at Nigeria and USA
and Africa through African initiation for success in life do and become
billionaires any were you are through online initiation.For more info
whatsApp us through this initiation contact Number:
+2347052744530
For your on-line initiation.
No matter where you are. No distance can affect the work of our baphomet
WhatsApp +2347052744530
Email:worldmoneyilluminati669@gmail.com
and say yes to your dreams.Hail lucifer..
..............??