‘No’ has to be one of the toughest words to hear. When someone starts a sentence using the word, we know that what’s to follow will only hurt us more and we’re immediately predisposed to close ourselves to what the other person will say. Think about it. It’s like the word ‘no’ serves as our queue to shut our ears for the words to come.
The word ‘no’ is often used to express disagreement, ‘No, things should be done this way’ or ‘No, you’re not understanding my point’. It is also used to deny permission or a request, ‘No, don’t put your mug on the table’ and ‘No, you cannot go spend the night at your friend’s house’.
Controlling vs Relating
What we don’t realize is that it implies a position of authority, opposed to someone trying to understand and relate. When we let go of trying to control the situation and start listening to the other person and relating to them, we let go of the need to use the word ‘no’.
Imagine how differently you would perceive the statements above if they were ‘I think things should be done this way because…’, ‘What I’m trying to say is…’.
When you’re not being imposing, people will receive your comments much more openly because they will feel you’re actually trying to relate to them, not to control them.
Try it for a day
Try it just for a day, not saying the word ‘no’ and instead finding phrases that make the other person fill included, and notice how differently people will react. I can assure you that afterwards, you’ll cut your doses of ‘no’s significantly.