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“NO” is such a dead end word.
It’s so finite.
I know it’s meant to be, but when you hear it in response to a request, it sure doesn’t feel good.
Are you hiring? No.
May I have another piece of pie? No.
Can you give me a ride to the theatre? No.
Are you able to join me at the gala? No.
Would you honour the sale price? No.
What a let-down.
Before you get too depressed, let’s try something.
Are you hiring? No, but I’d be happy to keep your application on file for when we do.
May I have another piece of pie? No, but I can offer you a beverage or some fruit.
Can you give me a ride to the theatre? No, but I can help you with taxi money.
Are you able to join me at the charity gala? No, but don’t you have a fundraising golf tournament coming up? I’d be happy to look at attending that.
Would you honour the sale price? No, but I’ll see what else I can find in a comparable style and price if that works for you.
Aha – there’s no dead-end when you add your but.
“No” can be a valid answer but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road.
Offering a positive option after a “no” might still not entirely solve the issue but at least it opens the conversation for possibility thinking.
Every question deserves an answer and sometimes “no” is an appropriate answer.
Following up a “no” with your but – proposing what you can do as opposed to isolating what you can’t – indicates that you genuinely have the other’s best interest at heart.
And we both know you do.