Learn to take the "no"

3 min readOct 14, 2021
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Photo by @bk010397 on Unsplash

Learning how to say "no" and deal with its consequences is an important part of our daily work. However, it’s also important to learn how to take "no" for an answer when we ask for help or support.

Valuing our time and using it wisely is a valuable skill that we develop over time. Prioritizing our tasks and delegating non-essential ones can help us manage our time more effectively.

From another perspective, it's also important to recognize that receiving a negative response is a possibility when we ask for help or support, which is where I would like to put the focus.

I’m not trying to stress or to state that learning how to say “no” is not important, but most of the time, matters are only analyzed from one perspective. As if the communication only flowed in one direction.

This all might sound a bit trivial, but there are small takeaways that might help you in decisions and replies we have already automated.

Hello from the other side

We can agree that both No’s are difficult to learn and to put into practice, to say no and to receive the no as an answer when asking for help or support.

The point of view that I would like to put in the spectrum in this short post is the position of the person that receives that no.

Leaving the fact that it should always come in a respectful manner, getting a no for an answer might have an impact on our daily work, as we for instance could end up blocked.

Preparing for possible scenarios, such as who else we can ask for help or where we can find more information, can help us be proactive and save time. Sharing the steps we have already taken and the resources we have found can also help establish a foundation of mutual respect and understanding when we do ask for help.

In my personal view, even before asking, I consider receiving a negative response as a possibility (you can call me a pessimist), so that if that becomes true I can present follow-up questions that will help me to get unblocked, or to even predict what can possibly go wrong.

Provide more info

Really simple things such as who else can I ask for this problem? where can I find more info? just sharing that you are willing to work on your own but you are actually blocked, and not just lazy.

Or even further, what information or resources are essential to solve the problem, taking into account the possibility of getting a no? Stating the problem, reflecting that I already did my own research, how this makes you feel in terms of frustration.

It’s absolutely normal to spend time doing our own research before seeking help from someone else. Doing so not only shows that we are proactive but also ensures that we have a better understanding of the problem at hand.

Additionally, conducting research beforehand can actually lead to more effective discussions when we do ask for help, as we can provide more detailed information and perhaps even suggest some potential solutions. Therefore, it is important that we make our own research visible to the person we are seeking help from, whether that be by sharing some of our findings or simply explaining the steps we have already taken.

By doing so, we can establish a foundation of mutual respect and understanding, which can only lead to more successful collaborations in the future based on trust.

Learning how to take "no" for an answer can be difficult, but it is important to remember that a negative response is not a reflection of our abilities or worth.

Thanks for reading! ❤️
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