"No” to say falls to many People difficult. For different reasons: one doesn't want to disappoint anyone, the other wants to look good. Or you have – especially at work – Anxiety from negative consequences. But if you keep saying “yes” half-heartedly, they are usually even worse afterwards. It is therefore important to point out boundaries in good time – friendly but firm.

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Situations everyone knows

Almost everyone is familiar with these typical situations in which you are asked for something and simply think you cannot say “no”. For example if the Executive urgently needs to do something, but at the same time and just as urgently another job must be completed.

Who wants to risk being missed on the next promotion or being on the hit list? So you choose the path of least resistance and say "Yes" with gritted teeth, even though you know that both of these are hard to do at once.

The lesser evil with great consequences

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This can have consequences: whoever tries to please others will soon not be able to do it anymore, his real ones Tasks good to deal with. Besides, the others get used to it fast remember that the yes man always does everything and rely on that. Over time, it becomes more and more difficult to say “no”.

But nobody can always do everything satisfactorily, and that's exactly what it is Problem. According to a study by the RespectResearchGroup at the University Hamburg, certain ideas about how competent and respectable people should be: namely trustworthy, reliable and fair, among other things.

A clear no is always better!

However, the trust that others place in you is quickly shaken if you agree to take on a task and then fail to make it due to lack of time. Bosses and colleagues are then often more disappointed than if you had turned them down straight away and classify you as unreliable. So it's almost always better to do it from the start clear To say "no".

This is also confirmed by personal trainer Tanja Baum, author of the book “Die Art to say 'no' in a friendly manner”: “No one can fulfill all the wishes of the boss or colleagues so that there is always sunshine and sunshine – especially not in everyday working life. But if you take others seriously, put yourself in their shoes and provide good arguments as to why they have to turn down a request, you will usually be understood.”

Consistent instead of rugged

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Indeed. The sound makes the music. A harsh rejection out of fear of being persuaded to do something is usually just as wrong as a "yes" that is not meant seriously. Because other people always want to have the feeling that you are taking care of them.

It is important to say “no” consistently! But people like to avoid it when others have a request: “I would like to do this for you, but actually I still have to…” Behind it is the wish that the other person will notice that you would actually rather say “No” and pulls back on its own.

Half a “no” does not arrive

Unfortunately, wrongly thought: Half a “No” does not arrive. Very few people can or want to read between the lines and interpret the uncertainty for their own benefit; the uncertain "no" is simply interpreted as an uncertain "yes": "great that you do that .."

Or the other is upset because he realizes that you for sure want to excuse. Better: Equally open and Honestly admit that it doesn't fit now - the other person will understand and respect exactly this consequence.

Attention manipulation!

A half-heartedly formulated “No” also harbors the risk of being manipulated: other people then appeal to pity or assume selfishness to persuade the No-Sayer to have a guilty conscience, such as: “I've done so much this week. Don't let me down. ” Or they are disappointed with the person: “Otherwise they are always so reliable. But I probably won't be able to rely on you in the future.

Such arguments are intended to put the naysayer on the defensive and make them say yes after all. Even if it's difficult: friendly, but consistent with his Opinions staying here helps best.

Well argued is half won

Gegen Handling it also helps to back up your “no” with good arguments. Because this makes it clear that a request is not simply rejected arbitrarily, but that there is a good reason for it. Other people can then understand the “no” better. In addition, others have the impression that they are being cared for - that is especially true when dealing with bosses useful.

Who, for example, before his boss Eyes leads to how busy the schedule is or substantiates that revision even for the Company negative could have consequences. The boss notices that the “no” is well thought out and appreciates that the Employees acts responsibly. Important: Do not start whining or justify your own opinion, but always argue objectively.

The pitcher goes to the fountain for so long ...

The pitcher goes to the well until it breaks. Especially those who constantly say “yes” run the risk of reacting incorrectly at some point because of being overwhelmed: instead of saying “no” objectively, you suddenly become aggressive. With statements like “Do your stuff yourself!” "I don't have time for this right now" feel Bosses and colleagues, however, usually even more so in front of them Head encountered - also because they could not expect such a violent reaction.

It is therefore better to signal in good time “To this point and no further” so that the other person immediately knows where the limits are. If it does turn out to be one Streit comes: It is essential to avoid generalizing accusations such as: "You always make your exaggerated demands ..." - the other person probably does not even know that he has overwhelmed you all the time.


In order to react in such a rational way, it is important that you know yourself and your reactions well. A detailed self-analysis is therefore important: What does someone else's request trigger in you? Does the situation bring back any uncomfortable memories? What exactly is wrong with the question? What exactly is causing it Stress? Why can't you stay calm?

Maybe you put pressure on yourself or your own Time management is just bad and you can work on it. Maybe the suggestion of the boss or colleague is just totally nonsensical, but maybe you just didn't understand what exactly it's about and can clarify what exactly is required.

Find compromises

The boss wants one thing, the employee wants something else. Bad luck, if the boss orders only authoritarian. But in many cases you can also talk to your boss, because usually it brings more when both together solve the problem.

In practice this means taking the boss seriously and putting himself into his situation. Look for similarities, not for differences, by showing the boss where common positions lie. Find possibilities for improvement and put the main focus of the argument, because then the boss has the feeling that one goes to him. Perhaps then together can be a better possibility.

Sell ​​the “No” positively

But even authoritarian bosses can be persuaded: Who instead of a simple "No" a Alternatives offers that is just as good or even better, wins over the boss. It can look something like this: “Unfortunately I can’t do this task today. But colleague Müller is currently free. For that I can take him to his Projects optimal support, because I know the subject very well. As a result, we all work much more effectively.”

On the one hand, suggestions like this make work easier. But even more: The boss sees that the employees constructive Thinks about the well-being of the company and will appreciate this quality. However: Here, too, the sound makes the music. Anyone who offers such an alternative should always choose an optimistic vocabulary that is more convincing to others.

Preparation is everything

Sometimes the role behavior of saying "yes" has become so ingrained that the problem can only be solved with a fundamental, clarifying Conversation about the task distribution can solve. However, this should be well prepared: It is important to have the right one Strategy, and arguments for your overload should be collected.

Also good: The argument beforehand at home to practice, so that it is no longer so difficult to remain consistent. However, one should also ensure a positive mood: anyone who is internally agitated and aggressive or has accumulated frustration runs the risk of heaping irrelevant accusations on the other person.

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