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Say No to Sneaky Questions: Protect Your Time and Boundaries with Assertive Responses

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Have you ever been asked a question like, "Hey, what are you doing next Thursday?" and felt like you were being cornered into a situation you didn't want to be in? Sneaky, leading questions like these can put pressure on you to say yes to plans you're not comfortable with. There is a way out - you have the power to respond assertively and protect your time and boundaries.

You have probably been there - a friend asks you an elusive question about if you are free on a given day without telling you why they are asking? They hope you will say, "I'm free, why?"...and then they will ask you something that they know you will not be interested in doing. Often in these situations, you feel trapped or pressured to say yes because you mentioned you were available. YOU CAN STILL SAY NO. How would that look?...

Friend: "Hey what are you doing next Thursday?"

YOU: "Nothing, why?"

Friend: "Will you drive me to the airport?"

YOU: "Sorry, I am not available."

Friend: "But you just said that you were free on Thursday."

YOU: "I did, but I didn't say I was free for that."

The next time you're faced with a sneaky, leading question, respond with, "It depends, why are you asking?" This allows you to find out more information before making a decision.

Once you know the proposed plan, you can still say no. Even if you already said that you were free and available. No is always an option, even if you're technically free. Don't let others pressure you to do something you don't want. Saying no can be difficult, especially if you're not used to asserting yourself. But it's important to remember that setting boundaries and protecting your time is a sign of self-respect and confidence. It shows that you value your own needs and desires and are not afraid to stand up for yourself.

Also, please don't be the person who asks leading, sneaky questions! Be a direct communicator and you will get more "yes" responses. If your friend made the same request in a different way you might be more open to saying yes, ie: "Hey I have a crappy favor to ask you that no one wants to do, and it's okay if you say no...but is there any chance you could drive me to the airport next Thursday?" See how much better that approach is? Do you want your friends to resent you because they felt guilted into something you sort of tried to trap them into...or would you rather have your friends feel great about doing you a favor? The latter.

Don't let sneaky questions corner you into situations you don't want to be in, and don't corner others. Respond assertively, find out more information, and remember that no is always an option. It is within your power to avoid feeling led, cornered, or pressured into saying yes to things that you don't want. Empower yourself to take control of your time and live life on your terms.

About the author:  Elle Russ is a #1 bestselling author and master coach. 

Need to become more confident and assertive? Take my Confidence Masterclass HERE  


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