- Family/Friends -

When Someone Won’t Take No for an Answer

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Won't Take No for an Answer

Not everyone accepts the word “no” gracefully. Here are five ways to get your point across.

Not everyone accepts the word “no” gracefully. Robin Stern, PhD, a psychoanalyst and the associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, recommends the following approach when dealing with someone who resists your no:

  • Be both firm and kind.
  • Remember that you don’t need the person to accept your refusal. You just need to say it and stick to it.
  • If you’d like, you can add, “I understand this is hard to accept,” or “I wish I felt differently.”
  • If the person still won’t back down, tell him or her that you feel uncomfortable. Be clear about your feelings.
  • If the person still won’t relent, then it’s probably a good time to reevaluate the relationship. Is it worth keeping?

This originally appeared in “The Freedom of No” in the May 2017 issue of Experience Life.

is a writer and writing teacher in New York City.

Illustrations by James Yang