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No (and what it really means)

“No.”

That’s what you heard.
But here’s what they could have meant.

No, not now.
No, not here.
No, it’s not safe.
No, I’m too tired.
No, I don’t agree.
No, it’s too much.
No, I can’t afford it.
No, it’s not allowed.
No, it’s not my style.
No, I need more time.
No, I’m not interested.
No, I have other plans.
No, it’s not appropriate.
No, I don’t understand it.
No.

Yes, sometimes “no” simply means “no”.
But often there’s more to it.

Sometimes much more:

No, not now (but perhaps next quarter).
No, not here (but let’s go out in the park).
No, it’s not safe (but we can find a safer alternative).
No, I’m too tired (but we can plan for another day).
No, I don’t agree (but I’m open to discussing it further).
No, it’s too much (but I would take half of it).
No, I can’t afford it (but I can save up for it).
No, it’s not allowed (but we can find a way to work within the rules).
No, it’s not my style (but I can recommend someone who might like it).
No, I need more time (but I can get it done by next week).
No, I’m not interested (but thank you for thinking of me).
No, I have other plans (but maybe another time).
No, it’s not appropriate (but we can adjust it to make it work). No, I don’t understand it (but I’m willing to learn).

At least two takeaways here:
When you hear a “no”, consider asking. Then listen …
When you say a “no”, consider using a couple of more words.

What’s your experience with “no“?

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