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How To Say ‘No’ During The Holidays

by Scott Jesko | December 15, 2016

stressed-woman-christmas.jpgThe holidays are the season of giving, but sometimes you can just give too much!

While the holidays are a time of friends, family, and tradition, they're also a time of stress when your already busy schedule becomes overrun with activities. Your kids have events at school. Your shopping list has no end. You're cooking for twice the amount of people.

So, what to do? Luckily, you're on the home stretch. Christmas is less than a week away!

One of the best ways to keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed is by saying "no." Sounds simple enough, but it's often difficult to actually do. Here are some strategies that will make saying "no" easier and won't ruffle too many feathers.

Say "no" so that you can say "yes" when it matters

You can get pulled in so many different directions during the holidays that it takes away from the time you could spend with your family. You may end up saying "no" to those who matter most by saying yes to outside projects and activities. It's always a balancing act, but leaving time to spend with your partner or family is a priority.

Saying "no" doesn't make you a bad person

It's important to remember that most people won't automatically be angry with you when you say "no." In many cases, people respect that you're able to set boundaries and abide by them. Consider your own needs and priorities — you'll feel better in the long run rather than feeling that you're getting dumped on by others.

Don't make promises you can't keep

Sometimes we make future promises that enable us to say no in the present. You may decline to host a large holiday gathering this year by promising to host it next year but not really mean it. You're setting yourself up to owe someone a big apology.

Use a kinder, gentler "no"

Perhaps you're not comfortable with saying "no" or worried that it comes off as too harsh. If so, use softer alternatives, such as "That's just not a good time for us," or, "That's not going to work for us this year."

Don't apologize

If you're confident in your reasons for saying "no" and have said it in a way that doesn't come off too harshly, then you have no reason to apologize. After all, you're saying "no" because it's best for you and your family.

Know your reasons

If you've carefully considered why you need to say "no" and why doing so would definitely make your holidays less stressful, then be confident in your reasoning. It will help you make a thoughtful explanation that makes it easier for the other person to accept why you can't do something.

Don't immediately say "yes"

One tactic you can use is to say, "let me get back to you on that," especially if you're caught off-guard by a request that demands your time and energy. Doing so allows you to consult with your spouse, partner or roommate before giving a definitive answer.

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