Yes and no and…

When someone makes a request of you, there are at least four possible helpful responses.

Many of us have only one of these in our repertoire, and a lifetime of habit that makes the others invisible to us:

1 Yes (which means, I promise to do what you ask)

2 No (I promise I will not do what you ask)

3 Here’s a counter-offer (I don’t intend to do what you asked me, but can imagine this alternative that might be acceptable to you)

4 I promise to commit later (I don’t know yet how I’m going to respond to your request, but I can promise you a specific time by which I’ll let you know).

You can build your capacity to respond genuinely to others’ requests by practicing the responses that are less familiar to you.

And if you’re a serial ‘yes-er’ (as so many of us are) who then gets overstretched and resentful, practicing response 4 can open up much needed space in which you can settle on an answer that’s true, heartfelt, and takes all your existing commitments into due account.

Photo Credit: Daniel Kulinski via Compfight cc

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