Stress Management Workshop Key Point: Learning to Say “No”
Question: I have friends who are constantly calling me to make plans. I have a chronic medical condition and don’t feel like dealing with their constant calling. I find myself often saying “yes” to them, not because it is something I want to do, but because they are so persistent. When I get to these places, I feel miserable, stressed and resentful. I need to learn how to say no to my friends. Any suggestions?
Assertiveness Training Strategies
It is important to learn to set clear boundaries for yourself. Your body speaks to you, telling you through the anxiety and misery that you are not taking care of yourself. Learning to recognize and honor your needs is an important step in learning self-care as an adult. I’m sure your friends mean well in wanting you to go out, but you know yourself better than they do.
There are a number of assertiveness training techniques I would recommend in this instance. The first is called the “broken record” technique. In this approach you simply repeat what you want, despite what they say. For instance, you might say “I appreciate your request, but I really want to stay home.” No matter they say, repeat this phrase or something that resonates for you.
Powerful Assertiveness Training Technique
For another approach, try the DESC (Describe, Explain, Specify, Consequence). Here is the formulate for the DESC technique: “When you (what they are saying to you that makes you feel stressed), I feel (describe what you feel) I would prefer if you (what you would like them to do or say instead) If you do (reward), if you do not (consequence). Using this tool, you might say, “When you keep asking me to go out after I say no, I feel as if you don’t care about my feelings. I would prefer that you honor what I say. If you don’t stop asking me, I’m going to feel that you really don’t care about me. If you do stop asking me, I’ll feel better about our friendship and that you understand that my needs are important too, and will be more than happy to go with you when I’m feeling better.