A friend arrives at your door or at your coffee date with an armful of her second-hand items or something she has bought especially for you. You are caught off-guard but you are too polite to say ‘No’ straightaway? ‘Let me think about it,‘ you say as you stall for a kind answer.
We all do it! Stalling is not a good technique because it leaves you open to arguments and pressure from the other person.
The sentences ‘Let me think about it’ or ‘I’ll think about it’ are not good ones to use because everybody recognises them as stalling techniques. Using either reply in this situation could lead to the other person telling you to ‘Just take it and try it on later. You’ll like it.’ Or so she hopes.
It is hard to reply to that pressure when you are not sure if you like the item or have something to wear it with.
How to Stall Assertively
so that you give yourself enough time to make a considered decision. There are lots of sentences you could use. Here are a few to choose from or you could come up with your own variation.
Not today. Not now. Not at this moment. I can’t decide immediately. I need time to consider it. Ask me later. Ask me again later. Ask me next week. Call me later. Call me next week.
Using ‘Sarah’ as your imaginary friend, here is my suggestion, including using modern technology to your advantage, to help you set your boundaries and be in control –
‘Not now Sarah. Let me take a photo of it and then I can check it against my clothes to see if it is perfect for me. Please call me on Monday for my decision.’
- By saying ‘not now’ or any version of the sentences from the examples on the top two lines above, you are expressing your uncertainty and your need to consider it carefully before making a decision.
- By taking a photo (with your camera, mobile phone or iPhone) you have a copy of the colour and style without actually accepting and receiving the item.
- By saying ‘perfect for me’ you state your boundary and your desire to be a ‘first-class you’ not a passable, angry copy of someone else.
- By asking Sarah to call you on a specific day you nominate, you are putting the responsibility firmly back on Sarah. It is then up to her to call you or to dispose of her jacket some other way.
- Make your statement calmly and firmly. Only re-state your original words.
- Finally, do not get drawn into explaining or justifying your ‘not now’.
Yes, it may take a lot of practise before you feel comfortable doing it. This is a good technique for Introverts who dislike being hurried into decisions. You prefer to take plenty of quiet time to consider all the implications and options before you come to your final decision. This is also a good technique for Extroverts who often think out loud. Sharing all your thoughts with others can leave you susceptible to pressure from the other person. Using my suggested technique, you have to commit to a specific time for ‘later’. Please do so and then when asked at that time, give your ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ reply to the offer.
Introverts will have time to mull it over and make their decision. Extroverts will avoid a rash decision that they may regret later.
All of you will have the time to decide on your preferred ‘No’ response. You will also have the time to practise it. Some people will hold you to your ‘later’ commitment. So Extroverts do not ignore it. You must make a decision before the set date for Sarah’s return call.
Assertiveness is a more admired character trait than constant Stalling or Procrastination. If you love the item, take it. File this away for the day when you do not want the item offered to you.
This is a modified excerpt from my eBook ‘How to Say No to Unwanted Clothes & Fashion Advice’. It is one of the FREE Bonuses for the ‘Wardrobe Full, Nothing to Wear- How to De-clutter, Revitalise & Modernise Your Wardrobe’ Program.
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