“Can you stay on for a few extra hours to help out?”
“You’re coming to my party right?”
“Coffee next week?”
There are two answers to the above questions: yes and no. When you say yes you don’t need to give a reason why. You’ve satisfied the person’s expectations. They don’t care why you said yes. They only care that you’re doing what they’ve asked of you. That’s enough. So they don’t ask, nor do they care, what you’re giving up to say yes.
But when you say no, you shatter their expectations. They asked because, on some level, they were expecting you to say the opposite. To say yes. And typically, after saying no, they’ll respond by asking why.
The misconception is that you have to provide justification for saying no. “I can’t stay because…” “I’m not coming to the party because…” “I don’t want to grab a coffee next week because…” But that’s B.S. In no situation is it mandatory to provide an explanation for your decision.
A justification is a weak attempt to appease those who’ve just been denied something they want. Appeasement wasn’t a good strategy in the run up to World War Two. It isn’t a good strategy when you run a business and are trying to hold on to your star players. And it isn’t a good strategy in any of your relationships—with family, friends, or colleagues.
Why? Because appeasement indicates a lack of self-assurance. You’re so uncomfortable with your decision and how your actions impact another that you have to try and placate that other. Even if what has been asked of you is unreasonable and what you’ve decided is right and reasonable.
Practice this in your life: say no and don’t explain why. Soon, you’ll see that your grovelling and mollifying wasn’t helping. It was harming your relationships and other’s perception of your worth and assurance.