There are times we find ourselves in the unpleasant situation of needing to refuse a request. We explain the reasons for why we can’t do it, and still the person making the request is angry and upset with us.

The least effective thing to do in such a situation is to get into an argument. Such arguments tend to go nowhere, and have the potential of making an unpleasant situation worse.

It is far better to listen and respond with empathy. Empathy means to hear, understand and acknowledge what the other person is thinking and feeling. “I can imagine how disappointing this is to you. I wish it could have been different.”

In addition to being an effective way to respond to this situation, it is also the most compassionate way. The first thing people need when they are upset is to be heard and acknowledged.

By listening with empathy, and perhaps sharing our own feelings of disappointment at having to say no, we can turn confrontation into connection. It is much more likely that our decision will then be accepted with no lasting resentment. Rather than negatively impacting our relationships, this kind of interchange can enhance them.

Author's Bio: 

Uzi Weingarten, founder of Communicating with Compassion, holds a Masters degree in the field of Education, is an ordained (though non-practicing) rabbi, and has studied communication skills and spiritual psychology with internationally acclaimed teachers.

Uzi's tele-courses and tele-seminars provide you with the skills, attitudes and approaches for effective, heart-centered communication. These tools empower you to build successful, fulfilling relationships with professional connections, family and friends.

In addition to phone courses, Uzi provides on-site training, and has spoken around the country, to the delight of his audiences.

Uzi also provides individual coaching/consulting using his communication and spiritual skills.