Do the Other Person a Favor and Tell Them, “No.”

This post is for all the people out there (like me) who have trouble saying “no” even when they are already overcommitted.

One of my clients has been having her floors refinished.  All the furniture from her first floor is crammed into one room.  All the counters in her kitchen are full of the contents of the dining room.  Two rooms, including her home office, are entirely off limits while the floors are being treated and drying.  Her kitchen table is serving as her desk.  Everything is topsy-turvy.

And while the floors look beautiful, they are only half done and weeks overschedule.  Why?  The gentleman who is refinishing them has overextended himself.  He agreed to do a job that he didn’t know quite how to do, and he has other jobs for other clients that are taking up much of his time. 

This has left my client in limbo.  Her home is unsettled and it’s taking an emotional toll.

This gentleman has done fantastic work for my client in the past and was trying to do her a favor by tackling one of the big projects on her home improvements list, but his “favor” has backfired.  It would have been a better favor to say that he wasn’t in the position to do this particular job. 

Saying “No” can be hard because we don’t want to disappoint or displease people.  But when we overcommit ourselves, we’re not just giving ourselves grief; we are doing less than our best and can end up doing the very thing we were trying to avoid.  If we decline requests when we know that we cannot do the job justice, we are actually doing the other person (as well as ourselves) a favor.  It’s the best thing to do for both people.

Image: djcodrin /

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