we need help saying no (remember, you're saying no to them but yes to you)

We Need Help Saying No

We sometimes all need help saying no. It’s not just for teens. Listen to Justin give some advice about it.

So erm, I’m in my mid twenties and my sibling is almost 20. We had a bad start in life and never really learned how to say “no” or even to disagree with other people when we were kids. Now we are adults and trying to navigate relationships. We’ve both accidentally made decisions we’ve regretted because we didn’t feel able to say no or to negotiate with friends or partners (everything from taking on work we really didn’t have time for to falling into relationships where the other person’s wants were catered to and our needs weren’t).

As I’m much older, I’ve kinda picked up some of the skills of being assertive by trial and error. My sibling is looking to me for advice on exactly how to learn to say no, to disagree and to negotiate so everyone’s needs are understood and met… and I want to help but I have NO IDEA how it all actually works or how I can help my sib learn it basically from scratch.

I’ve suggested they start small with things like “What food I want to eat” and “Whether or not I like this band” but even that is seeming too big a first step for them and I don’t even know what the next step would be anyway. When faced with conflict, my sib just gets completely freaked out and agrees with whatever the other person says (they and I are both in therapy for this). Bish, where could I get advice for my sib about how to be assertive and handle conflict and how to learn to say no? Even stuff aimed at actual children might help because we’re both feeling like everyone else got given the instruction booklet years ago and we’re just floundering.

Here’s my rambly ramble answer. I sound a bit grumpy cos it’s hot. I’m not good in the heat.

Here are some links

A Guide to No – How we can all hear nos better as well as how we can say no to them but yes to us

(here’s an interesting research paper into saying no and how we don’t just use the word ‘no’ to refuse something)

Power differences – why power differences can make saying no harder

How Are Your Relationships?  – try the Bish relationships graph

– think of your relationships as if they were Venn Diagrams

Big Ups – think about who you are and what people you want in your life


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