How do you say no?

by BrienneYudkowsky 1 min read4th Oct 20139 comments


Some people seem to be a bit too generous for their own good. I know a precious few people who are especially good at saying "no" when asked to take on new responsibilities that would put them over their limits. I love working with people like that because I can always trust them to tell me when it would be better for me to find someone else to do the thing. I expect this to be an extremely valuable skill it would probably be good for many of us to understand, learn, and be able to teach to people who really need it.

If you frequently find yourself overburdened, think it's not entirely necessary for you to be doing as much as you are, and can recall a specific instance in the last month where someone asked you to do something and you accepted against your better judgement, I invite you to describe what you were feeling and thinking at the time.

Alternately, if you're an unusually busy and productive person who nevertheless is good at saying "no", I'd like to hear about
  1. a specific example of a time when you said no to new responsibility, what was going on in your head, and how it felt
  2. how exactly you believe you decide whether to take on or reject prospective responsibilities if you have an explicit model
  3. whether you consider yourself more or less empathetic or compassionate than average
  4. whether there was ever a time when you had that "don't know how to say no" problem, and if so what changed