If it weren’t for people, holidays would be a cakewalk to navigate, and we wouldn’t need to learn the how to say no to in order to keep our sanity…
because we’d just be doing whatever the fun we pleased, no one else to consider.
In reality, it’s hard enough to be purposeful and live out the rest of the year with your principles intact, let alone in a season when people seem to be on the lookout for reasons to take offense instead of a chill pill.
It’s ironic that this time of supposed peace on earth can so easily become anything but.
- People’s selfishness comes out in crowded malls and parking lots.
- People fight over how “sacred” days are spent and feelings get hurt when their expectations aren’t met.
- People get offended for Jesus over this or that “slight” or “persecution”.
Something tells me baby Jesus wouldn’t approve.
When it comes to family, most of us prefer to take the easy road and just try to make them happy, even when that means the chaos of trying to fit four or more family Christmases in one season. (You know who you are 😉 )
Suddenly the easy road gets a little B level, to say the least, and the holidays become something to survive.
The bad news is, there is no perfect solution or magical “easy” button.
You have to decide what’s most important to you, and follow through even on the difficult choices in order to line up accordingly.
There’s a good chance this means you’re not going to please everyone… at least not initially.
The good news is that what may start out as some uncomfortable conversations the first year, may well turn into new and better solutions and closer relationships down the road.
Here are 7 tips for how to say “No” better:
- Be completely confident in the reasons behind your decisions – if you are working from a conviction, your sincerity will do some of the talking for you. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, others will sense that and be more likely to feel you’re just trying to be difficult.
- Assess your motives and attitude when approaching challenging conversations – keep in mind that your goal is to come away with a win-win scenario, not shove your convictions down the other party’s throat or leave them with the impression that you think you’re better than they are.
- Present your case in a positive light – “We are doing this in order to… [benefit]” as opposed to “We are tired of… [negative]” or “We just can’t… [negative] anymore“.
- Come to the table with better solutions – this will show that you do really care and want to maintain the relationship.
- Don’t get caught up in an argument – arguments need someone to “win”, and neither of you really will.
- Consider easing into big changes over time – this might mean bringing up what you’re considering one year and finalizing it the next, or at least giving a good 6 months for the other party to get used to the idea. It might also allow the chance to brainstorm together for a better solution.
- Pray for wisdom – Ephesians 6 tells us that our battle is not with flesh and blood. There’s more going on behind the scenes than what you can see with your natural eyes, and all the human reasoning in the world will only take you so far.