How to take control and say 'no' to family or friends

How to take control and say 'no' to family or friends

Saying ‘no’ to family

Sometimes family assume you’re at their beck and call, and will drop everything to help out. It’s hard to tell your loved ones no when you want to help, but if their demands are in any way inconvenient, say you’ll have to check your diary first and get back to them. You can always ring up later and politely decline due to ‘prior arrangements’. There is no need to go into details, as you’ll sound more convincing than making up some elaborate excuse as to why you can’t help.

Attending get-togethers

If you’ve been cajoled into attending a family gathering and there’s no way of getting out of it, make a compromise and leave early. That way you still please everyone but know that you have an escape route! Be polite and warn the hosts you’ll leaving early, and if there’s any fuss, gently remind them that at least you’re attending.

Lending to your children

If your child is asking for a rather large loan, or favour, and you feel obligated to say yes, put it in context. Is this request just the latest in a long line? If you’ve always said yes then it’s time to break the cycle. This way you won’t be seen as a doormat in the long-term. Something like “It’s a tough time for me at the moment, and I’ll have to look at my finances.” This should make them realize that they can’t turn to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ every time.

Saying ‘no’ to friends

If you always feel cajoled into saying ‘yes’ straight away to social events you’d rather not attend, try saying something like: “Let me check with my husband/partner to see whether we’re free that day.” This should buy you a little extra time and you can turn down the invite at a later date. 

The friend who’s always borrowing things and not giving them back

If this annoys you but you don’t know how to broach the subject, try making a list of the outstanding items, and saying: "Could you help me track these down... I’m having a sort out at home and I need them back by the end of this week.” They should get the hint.

The neighbours who keep asking you to ‘babysit’ their pets

If you feel they’re taking advantage, try a one-line sentence such as: “I'm sorry, but that's not a good weekend for me.” If you’re worried that by refusing, you won’t be liked, remember – it’s unreasonable to expect you to be available all the time.

Saying ‘no’ to the grandkids

Everyone gives in to a bit of pester power, now and again. But to avoid spoiling the grandkids, it’s far better to be honest. Explain clearly that you can’t afford the thing they fancy, as you don’t have much money, then try to distract them with a fun activity instead.

Treats don’t have to mean money

If you rarely see your grandkids it’s all too easy to give them everything they want, but the simple pleasures in life can be far more rewarding. Children appreciate the time you spend with them as well, so have a baking afternoon; take them to the local playground or read them a book.

Staying up late

When the grandchildren stay over, find out their normal bedtime routine from their parents to use as a guideline. Staying at grandma’s is a treat, but you don’t want them to start playing up at home as a result of being spoilt rotten at yours! Besides – young children need their sleep even if they don’t realise it yet.

Saying ‘no’ to salespeople

Tell door-to-door salesmen that you’ve recently switched or upgraded whatever they’re selling, so won’t need their services. If they’re persistent, you can always says “Goodbye” then shut your door and lock it. You could place a card in the window saying ‘No salespeople please’. There’s no need to hide behind the curtains when they knock – just carry on with what you were doing beforehand. They’ll quickly get the message and you’ll find cold-callers soon stop coming round.

Not today thanks!

If you’re faced with a pushy salesman in a store, make it clear you have no intention of buying today. If they carry on being persistent, tell them you need time to think about it and walk away, or out of the store. Watch out for the ‘false urgency’ approach some salespeople use and don’t be pressured by phrases like “This is the last one left” or “Someone else is interested” as this is seldom true. Walk away and if you still want the product in an hour, or a day, go back and purchase in your own time.

Telephone sellers

Be firm, abrupt and remember the golden rule that as the customer, you’re in charge. It’s the sales caller who needs to earn your trust and business. You have the power to end the phone-call at any time.