Sometimes it’s good to say no. For example if you like someone less than you thought at first. Or if you’re not ready to have sex with someone. But saying no sounds easier than it is. How do you go about it?
How to say no
- First, make up your own mind whether you want something or not. If you’re not sure, say you need time to think about it. If you want to say 'no', do it in the first sentence. Then go on to explain why. Then it’s clear straight away and you don’t have to beat about the bush.
- Explain why you don’t want to do something. But remember, you don’t have to apologise.
- It’s OK to negotiate – for example, ‘not now, but tomorrow’.
- You shouldn’t worry about disappointing the other person or hurting their feelings by saying no. It’s more hurtful to someone if you say 'yes' but you mean 'no'.
- If you’ve said 'yes', you can always change your mind. Just say so.
Tips for saying no
- Look the other person in the eye.
- Say clearly that you don’t want to do what the other person has asked.
- Be aware of your body language (so don’t smile and look at the floor).
- If necessary explain briefly your reasons.
- Pay attention to the other person’s reaction.
- If necessary, keep saying 'no' until the other person gets the message.
Daring to say no
Many people find it hard to say 'no' even if they actually would like to. You might find yourself thinking irrational thoughts, like ‘if I say no the other person won’t like me’. The answer is to change them into rational thoughts: ‘If I say no I won’t lose my boyfriend/girlfriend. If the person respects me, he/she will still like me.’
Kissing but no sex
It’s perfectly normal if there’s something you don’t want to do. You might have a boyfriend or girlfriend, but not want sex. Or you might want to kiss and caress, but not have intercourse. Make it clear. Your partner should respect your wishes. No one has the right to try and get their way by forcing you or blackmailing you.