The more you ask for what you want in your intimate life and daily life, the more you’re likely to hear both yesses and nos. Rejection can sting, but there’s also an opportunity to build connection when you can hear a no gracefully, especially in your intimate relationships.
Sometimes, the “No” is direct. More often, it’s difficult for people to say no directly and it may be unclear what’s going on. As an advocate for clear communication and consent, I suggest that you take ambiguity as a No. (This will either be received gratefully, or be a gentle reminder to your loved one to communicate their desires more clearly.)
Regardless of what kind of a No you get, here are some ways to HEAR a no gracefully:
(Download a printable, poster-sized PDF version of this graphic here.)
- Accepting a no doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it.
- You’re allowed to feel sad, disappointed, angry, etc.
- When you can radically accept boundaries (your own and others’) a space for creating new possibilities opens up that didn’t exist before.
- In the long run, gracefully accepting other people’s nos builds trust.