Learning to Say No

One of the best things about studying in an architecture university in Manila is the diversity of options that are available to you with regards to research and leisure. Group work is the foundation of many research papers in a university as well as other projects. This is a fact for most students, especially to those who are graduating. The best part about group work is the ability to delegate tasks as well as to learn from one another. This simple notion of teamwork is one of the building blocks of professional readiness that any student must achieve.

There are many things to consider with regards to working as a group, such as the availability of every member and the willingness to contribute. Because people have free will and, of course, other responsibilities, there will be times when a groupmate will try to delegate one of their tasks to you. Of course, Filipinos are known to be courteous and accommodating, so they will most likely accept that responsibility as their own, but there are times when it is okay to simply say “no.”


While “yes” is encouraged most of the time, learning the value of saying “no” has its own merits that should be seriously considered by anyone who is not yet used to a culture of teamwork. Learning to say no is one of the most powerful tools a person can use both for himself as well as for the benefit of the requesting party.

Saying “no” to a request does not automatically translate to selfishness and the unwillingness to be a team player. Take the example above; while the requesting party has other things going on in their lives, the same could be true for you as well. Learning to say no will not only give you the ability to empower yourself, but it will also allow you to have some more time for your own endeavors.

While saying “no” to a request may seem disheartening at first, it is also a measure of tolerance on your part by subtly letting the requesting party to learn the value of time management. It is a lesson that everyone should learn because in understanding that value, they will also learn to appreciate the value of other people’s time.

A negative effect of saying “no” is potentially giving the requesting party a hard time. Sure that could be true, but to shoulder the entire burden for the other person should be the last thing you would do. In fact, simply sharing it should be enough. Simply put, everyone has different tasks and obligations that they have to attend to. Being busy should not be an excuse to have less load; being busy should be taken as a sign of the need to learn better time management: a talent that would be put to good use in the work place.

While learning to say no is a good thing to practice, one should also keep in mind the difference between saying no and being uncooperative. At the end of the day, the best way to learn and grow is through the constructive criticism and guidance of your peers.


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5 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    Very good! This is very helpful in the workplace! I have lots of experience with people who always say yes to do a task even though they can’t really do it. At the end of the day it will result to a bigger problem because they can’t accomplish the task and that gravely damaged the schedule of the project… Honesty is still the best policy. It’s okay to say no and explain why you can’t do it. That will give the project leader a better view of how complicated the task is. It will help him to re-assess the situation and to plan ahead of time on what to do to solve it.. If you lie and say yes, then the REAL issue will never be exposed and that will surely worsen the problem…

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