Teach Your Kids When & How to Use The Small, But Very POWERFUL Word NO!
Don’t Be a People Pleaser! Don’t Be Manipulated!
There have been numerous times in my life where people have pressed me to give an immediate answer. Oftentimes it is in conjunction with some “unbelievably compelling” offer. When I was younger, less experienced & less confident, I found it difficult to say “NO” sometimes.
As I matured and became more confident & experienced in life – I learned to trust my intuition more in those circumstances where I felt uncomfortable or pressured. I learned and adopted a philosophy that if you NEEDED and answer on something from me today / now- and I wasn’t ready to make a decision yet – I ALWAYS had an answer for you – and it would be NO!
Learning to Saying No to People – Politely, But FIRMLY!
People generally don’t like to disappoint other people and shy away from conflict. In fact, many times this is exactly what the person selling you or trying to get you to do something is probably counting on.
But rather than being a victim to these tactics and our subconscious bias to please people (or have them like us) in instances where we are unsure what to do or don’t feel ready to make a decision, I want my children to have a extrication strategy.
The philosophy and strategy I have adopted is that if you need a decision today, or right now, and I am not comfortable making that decision right now the answer is always no!
1) The Dangers of NOT Being Able to Say NO!
Early Mistake – The Lifetime Gym Membership!
When I was in my late teens I had gone to a gym for a free workout. At the end of the workout the sales guy hit me up and told me that the lifetime membership price the gym was something like $649 on that day, and that day only. He explained that if I waited until tomorrow to make decision – the price would be a couple hundred dollars more. Being inexperienced in naive, I fell for this tactic and signed up on-the-spot, albeit with a LOT of reservations!
It bothered me for a long time that I had fallen for those tactics. I distinctly remember feeling uneasy, and I should have trusted my instincts and declined the membership.
However not all was lost, as I made use of that gym membership for many, many years. In fact, I’m sure at some level that guilt for falling for this tactic spurred me on to make sure I derived some significant measure of value for what I paid!
2) Being Ready With a Default Answer – NO!
Growth – No New Pots & Pans!
Later in life, I recall another instance right before Melani and I got married where an experienced sales guy tried the high pressure tactic again on me. Melani had received an invitation to a seminar about sales pitch for pots and pans. The invitation indicated that if we attended the seminar, regardless of whether we purchased the pots or pans, we were entitled to some travel vouchers. I was skeptical – but my lovely bride-to-be had booked this – so we were going!
By that point in life I was not nearly as meek & timid as I had been when I was a teenager.
At the conclusion of the seminar we were directed to sit with a representative to collect our travel vouchers – but not before a heavy sales pitch!
The representative finished his spiel with ‘the presumptive close’, and asked which level of purchase we want to have for the pots and pans (package A or B). I replied firmly that because of the cost and that we were in no way prepared to make such decision- as we not even married yet, that the answer was neither, and that we would like our vouchers. To his credit – he paused for a moment, and recognizing my resolve, handed us our vouchers and we walked away!
Yes, of course, we did find out later that the vouchers were essentially worthless!
The point is that the encounter was not nearly as uncomfortable, and the result was certainly much better then if I did not already have a strategy & philosophical approach for such circumstances.
3) Practice Makes Perfect & Don’t Back Down!
Tested Again – With Fine China This Time!
That same year we encountered yet another similar situation while signing up for the bridal registry at Bed Bath & Beyond. To sign up for the registry we first needed to meet with a “Bridal Consultant”. The Bridal Consultant opened a catalog in front of us and asked us to select a fine china set to include on the registry.
We, very courteously, declined when first presented with the catalog and asked to make a selection. She pressed us and asked again. We politely declined, yet again! She walked us through the paperwork to sign up for the registry and then AGAIN revisited the topic of the fine china!
Well, This was getting a little uncomfortable! She obviously INTENDED on selling us some fine china! She went out of her way to explain that if we included the fine china on the registry and not all of what we selected was gifted to us – we could purchase the balance at a discount. We did NOT backdown! We answered no, yet again!
Ultimately, we left there feeling very insulted & disinclined to even have our wedding registry hosted @ Bed Bath & Beyond because of this RELENTLESS pressure to do something we CLEARLY & REPEATEDLY indicated we DID NOT WANT TO DO!
We scanned a couple of things (one of which I remember was a pizza cutter) to continue to be polite – and then rushed out of there!
Whenever you feel pressured to make a decision – it is natural to want to be polite and concede to circumvent a conflict. After all – most of us are hard wired to avoid confrontation. But concession in the face of undue pressure, or even coercion, is rarely going to be viewed as the right decision, in hindsight, when you are removed from that situation.
When people are pressuring you to do something you are not comfortable or ready to do- recognize that THEY are the ones introducing conflict & confrontation into the situation!
Hold your ground – and always have an answer at the ready for someone that needs an answer on their terms and their timeline. Yes – they probably won’t like your answer – but tell them firmly & with conviction – that your answer is NO!
- How to Teach Your Kids to Say NO!
- Teach You Child to Say NO!
- Teaching a child to say no.