How To Say No Without Feeling Guilty In 3 Super Simple Steps

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How to Say No Nicely

Two Methods:

There are an infinite number of reasons you may find yourself having to say no to requests from family, friends and work. No can be a very difficult word for some people to say. Compared to men, women tend to have trouble saying no.Whether you are male or female, knowing how to say no nicely can have a huge impact on any kind of relationship. There are things you can do to make the task easier while preserving your own sanity. Learn to ask for time, avoid direct confrontation if you can, and be as honest as possible.


Saying No in Daily Life

  1. Understand why saying no is difficult.Most of us have learned from an early age that saying yes is easier and gets favor and approval from family. This taps into a deep need to please our parents that is tied with love and fears of abandonment.Or we may fear alienating and losing our spouses or significant others. With friends, saying no can cause misunderstandings or risk hurt feelings. Then there's the worry that saying no at work could make you look bad or keep you from a promotion.
    • Saying yes is great in theory, but often causes problems if we say yes to more than we can manage.
  2. Learn why saying no is important.Learning to say no nicely is a pathway to establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. If you take pride in caring and doing things for others, saying no often feels uncomfortable. You may find that you say yes too often and end up anxious or stressed because you took on too much.
    • Saying no reinforces healthy boundaries, which lets you effectively care for others while you take care of yourself.
  3. Give yourself a little time.The experts agree that taking your time before saying no is crucial.If you're considering how to turn down an invitation or request, remember that you don't have to answer right away. Buy yourself some time to avoid nagging on the subject or hurt feelings. Don't take too much time, since it's not fair to make the other person wait too long. Avoid saying yes immediately and changing your mind later. This will hurt or ruin your credibility.
    • For example, say your mom asks you in February, "Are you coming to town for the holidays this year?" Respond with something like, "Well, we haven't even thought about it yet. We’re not sure if we can get the time off work. Let’s talk about it again in September, okay?”
  4. Stick to your principles.If someone asks you to do something that's against your values, it may be best to say no in a way that avoids direct confrontation. Ask for time, then tell the person you want to give it some thought. Carefully consider your own values before saying yes to something you do not feel comfortable doing.
    • For example, imagine a friend asks you to write a letter of reference for her family member. You can say something like, “I don’t really know your family member very well and wouldn’t feel comfortable writing as if I do.”
  5. Try not saying no.Don't say yes, but understand that you can turn something or someone down without saying actually saying no.Instead, be clear about your concerns and why you're refusing.
    • For example, if your boss asks you to take on another project, don't simply say that you can't fit it into your current workload. Instead, say something like, "I'm working on x project due next week and y project that we're presenting next month. How much time can you give me to complete this project?"
  6. Be honest.Sometimes it is tempting to tell a white lie or make up an elaborate story before saying no. But doing this risks your credibility if you are found out, and this can threaten relationships, whether personal or business. In the end, being honest is being nice.
    • For example, if you're refusing an invitation, you could say, "That sounds like a great (opportunity/event/project) for someone else, but it doesn't suit me. I hope you (have fun / find someone else)."
  7. Stay firm.You may find it hard to repeatedly say no if someone keeps pestering you to do something. They might be used to you always saying yes and are just testing your limits.Hold your ground and continue to firmly say no.
    • You may start out by refusing and giving an explanation like, "I know you really want to meet up this weekend, but I've already made plans that I need to keep." If the person continues to pester you, try keeping your responses brief, but firm.

Turning Down Specific Requests

  1. Refuse to lend someone money.Lending money to friends can really put a friendship at risk.If your friend takes too long in paying the money back, you may hesitate to ask for it and the person might start believing the loan was a gift. If you do not think your friendship (or pocketbook) can withstand an unpaid loan, break the news as gently as possible to your friend. Remember to be as honest as you can.
    • For example, you could say to your friend, "I know you are in a tight spot financially. I really value our friendship, but friends and loans just do not get along. Is there some other way I can help out?” Or, “I just don’t have the extra cash myself to lend. If I could give you the money, I would.”
  2. Refuse to donate.If you know you won't be supporting a donation request, express the importance of the request, turn it down, and give an alternative, if you can.For example, "It sounds like you're working on a great cause, but I just can't work it in right now. I've already pledged my monthly donation funds. You might try x business or ask me again next month."
    • Don't feel obligated to donate to every request. Chances are, you're focusing on your time, business, or finances. Say yes to projects that you really can or want to commit to.
  3. Tell your kids no.Most kids don't like just being told not to do something. If your child wants something that you're not going to give or allow, firmly say no and explain why you're not allowing it. Make sure to express their point of view and then suggest something that they can have or can do.
    • For example, you might say, "No, you can't spend the night at your friend's house during the school week. I don't want you to be too tired for class the next day. I know you're frustrated, but you can always spend the night over the weekend."
  4. Turn down a big favor.Never feel obligated when someone asks you for a huge favor. After all, the person probably has no idea what your work or stress load is currently like. You have the choice to say no, even to a personal favor. If the person is a good enough friend, she should understand and not press you.
    • For example, you might say, "I really wish I could babysit for you this week, but I've got a really big work deadline and a family obligation." Be clear and honest. Don't lie, which could hurt your relationship in the long run.
  5. Turn down a date.Be direct and clear to make sure the other person gets the message. In romantic situations, people tend to take any ambiguity as a sign of hope, which isn't fair or pleasant for anyone involved. Polite ways to be blunt include "You're (a good friend / a nice guy), but I'm not interested in you that way," or, "We're not quite a match."
    • If you just went on the date and have been asked to go on another one, you should be as honest, but gentle as you can. Try saying something like, "I enjoyed this evening, but I don't think you and I are a good fit."
    • Cut the conversation short once you've turned someone down. Most likely, neither of you will be happy trying to spend time together immediately afterward.
  6. Turn down sex.If a romantic partner is pressuring you to start having sex, or act more intimate than you are comfortable with, firmly decline with a straightforward "No." If necessary, mention a reason, such as the chance of pregnancy, your moral beliefs, or simply that you will make the decision on your own schedule. Let the other person know that this is your personal decision, and has nothing to do with his or her attractiveness.
    • Don't assume that your partner will pick up on your lack of enthusiasm and simply stop. You need to be clear.
  7. Handle persistent requests.If you're being repeatedly hounded to go on a date or start having sex, it's time to be extra firm. If someone doesn't listen to your polite responses, another firm "No" is necessary. Here are some examples of followup responses to try:
    • Say, "I'm uncomfortable with your constant asking, so I'm going to have to say no."
    • Tell your friend or partner that the behavior is making you sad or upset.
    • Turn down requests to spend time together.
    • Don't get invested in the opinion of a stranger or acquaintance. If you can, stop seeing the person completely.
  8. Turn down a marriage proposal.First, thank him or her, and say that you're honored to be asked by such a wonderful person. Say you're not going to accept, but it's not because of anything he or she did. Finally, offer a full explanation of why you are turning down the proposal, including all the specifics in your situation.
    • This advice applies to someone in a serious relationship with you. If someone you only started dating proposes, gently say "That's sweet, but it's way too early."
    • If someone proposes to you in public, prevent embarrassment by keeping the moment short and sweet. Try "I love you, and I want to talk about it in private." Don't create a big scene or dramatic refusal.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    My father asked if I wanted to go for a drive with him to see his friend Anna, but I don't want to see her again. What can I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Talk to your father and be honest with him that you simply do not want to see Anna. You shouldn't have to hang out with his friends if you don't want to.
  • Question
    How do I tell a friend who offers gifts no?
    Community Answer
    Say something along the lines of, "That was so thoughtful, but I can't take that. I have too much stuff. You should keep it."
  • Question
    My friend asked me to take tae kwon do lessons with her, but I am not sure if it is really something that I would like to learn and I don't want to let her down. What do I do?
    Top Answerer
    Go to one or two tae kwon do classes with her, just try it out. Keep an open mind and see if you like it. You could let her know, even right now, that you love trying new things and you're happy to spend time doing this with your friend, but that you're not sure if it's something for you. Or, if after two lessons you still don't like it, say the same thing. "Hey, I tried it, but it's really not for me. Let's think of other fun stuff we can try out together." Remember, you never know, you may like it after all.
  • Question
    How do I say no to being a taxi?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Just say no, giving [whoever it is] a ride doesn't work for you today. You can take it on a day to day basis or make a blanket "Sorry, I'm not going to drive you around" declaration. Don't get bogged down in explaining or justifying yourself. Just be clear about what your boundaries are.
  • Question
    My dad said that I can't refuse my bad friend that's always hitting my best friend in public, and there are rumors that he wants to be boyfriends with me! Should I say no in public?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If it's a bad friend, try not to be around them anymore. And of course, if they're hitting your best friend, tell an adult. A teacher will help and end the situation immediately. If he asks you to date him, say no and tell him why: "I don't like that you hit my best friend all of the time." Tell your dad about your best friend being hit, and he will understand if you refuse to spend time with the bad friend.
  • Question
    My friend asked if she can borrow one of my books, but I don't like loaning out my books. I know it sounds silly, but how should I say no nicely to her?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If she's a good friend, you can always just tell her the truth. You could say something like, "I'm just kind of weird about my books. My collection is really important to me so I don't like loaning them out." Otherwise, you could always say that you've already promised to loan that particular book to someone else but that she can borrow it when they're done. She'll probably just forget about it.
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Sources and Citations

  1. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  2. Grzyb, J. & Chandler, R. The nice factor: The art of saying no. Vision: New York.
  3. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  4. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  5. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  6. Grzyb, J. & Chandler, R. The nice factor: The art of saying no. Vision: New York.
  7. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  8. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  9. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (still) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.
  10. Adams, S. (2014). How to say no at work. Forbes Magazine.
  11. Gartrell, MD., N. (2008). My answer is no, if that’s ok with you: How women can say NO and (stil) feel good about it. Free Press: New York.

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Date: 03.12.2018, 08:01 / Views: 61331