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Saying No

Behavioral models

Some people have a hard time saying no. Their lives are fundamentally unbalanced because they accept whatever other people give them to do. As a result, they don’t have time for things they need and want to do for themselves. Saying no is an important ability in creating a life balance.

When you’re juggling the demands of your work and home life, your ability to say no enables you to preserve your state of balance. It’s up to you to define the limits of what you’ll accept and tolerate from other people.

The three typical behavior models are as follows:

  • Passive people typically give in to others to avoid argument or confrontation. They tend to be reserved and oftentimes appear shy.
  • Aggressive people use anger, rudeness, and a raised voice to intimidate others and get what they want. It works, but aggressive behavior alienates people.
  • Assertive people are rational. They try to achieve their goals without alienating anyone. They often use clear explanations of the facts in a respectful and quiet manner, avoiding negative emotions.

People are hardwired to act passively or aggressively. Both behaviors originate with the flight or fight reflex that’s helped the human species to survive. However, passive and aggressive behaviors cause stress, and neither works very well for the give-and-take of daily life.

The best approach to use is the assertive model. Assertive people are able to protect themselves and get what they’re entitled to without alienating others or causing undue stress.

Life is complicated. When you deal with other people, you need to maintain your balance by defending yourself and setting limits on what you’ll take from others. Your behavior helps you do this. Keep a few key factors in mind:

  • Being passive isn’t helpful. You’ll end up taking on too much and put your balance at risk.
  • Being aggressive is equally bad. You won’t have a problem setting limits, but your behavior will alienate people and destroy relationships.
  • Being assertive is best. You’ll be able to set reasonable limits, accomplish what you need to, and feel good about yourself.