The Broken Record Technique is designed to help you learn to say no. As the name suggests, the repetition of the same statement refusing a person’s request or demand again and again until the person accepts your “No.” It is very effective and simple to learn. You create one or two sentences to refuse the person’s request; for example, you could repeat the sentence, “I’m really busy this weekend and I can’t see you.” Continue until the individual accepts your “No.” The strength of this technique is that, because you know what you are going to say, you can stop listening to all of the arguments and persuasion tactics the other person is using to persuade you to their side. All you have to do is hum to yourself. As soon as the other person stops talking, repeat your Broken Record statement. Keep it up until the other person gets the message.
If you are trying to stop drinking and you are out with a friend who keeps asking you to drink, you could say, “I’m not into drinking today.” Repeat this as many times as your friend asks you to drink. There is no need to overcomplicate it; continue to say the same thing over and over again. Eventually, your friend will get the message. The magic of this technique is in the repetition. Do not argue. Do not explain yourself. Do not justify or excuse yourself. Just state the facts, again and again, and again and again! It will work.
An additional “No” technique we teach at BlueSky Behavioral Health that builds upon is the Three-Part Statement. You can use this technique to explain how you’re feeling to another person in order to get that person to change his or her behavior toward you. It is a harder skill to learn because it involves identifying how you feel (something most people have a tough time doing). However, once you’re able to voice your emotions to others, the rest is very straightforward.
Why is it worth learning the Three-Part Statement? It is a more effective approach than arguing with someone, especially if that someone is a person you care about. It is better than verbally attacking someone. It is better than saying nothing and feeling bad inside. The Three-Part Statement focuses on the other person’s behavior, not on the person. Instead of saying, “You make me angry,” you would say, “When you turn away from me while I am talking, I feel angry.” The difference in meaning and effect between these two phrases is enormous. The Three-Part Statement attempts to minimize hurting the other person’s ego while still explaining how they feel. You want your message to be understood. You don’t want your message to trigger an angry exchange of harsh words that accomplishes nothing.
Try the Three-Part Statement technique, and see how it works for you. When you express how you feel, it brings a lightness to your mood and mind and ultimately brings forth a greater amount of control in your life. You must begin to reduce any of the bottled-up feelings that you carry. As you read this article, you mustn’t add any present pain to replace your old feelings of hurt. At BlueSky Behavioral Health one of our goals is to help you slowly release your concealed emotions and learn how to assert yourself when necessary.