Four ways to say ‘no’

It’s a tiny word, but saying ‘no’ can seem a huge effort. Here’s how to say ‘no’ when you need to.

‘No, not now’

Sometimes you really want to say ‘yes’. You would be happy to help if only there was less on your plate. You really don’t want to miss out on that golden opportunity, if only you could fit it in. Be firm with yourself and honest with others. Let people know when you can accommodate their request, rather than saying ‘no’ outright.

Avoid giving reasons

Unfortunately, longwinded explanations often seem like excuses. And other people may use your explanations against you by discounting them. So don’t overdo you ‘no’ message. A simple ‘No, I won’t be able to is often the best response. Avoid over-explaining. You don’t have to be curt or impolite. Just be assertive.

‘No, but thank you for asking’

Not every request is an imposition. It can take a lot for people to ask for help. Sometimes people are genuinely trying to help you. This doesn’t mean you have to say ‘yes’. So sweeten your ‘no’ by showing your appreciation.

‘Let me think about it’

Admittedly, there isn’t an actual ‘no’ in that sentence. But if you need time to think something over, come straight out and say so. This is what confident, assertive people do when they want to consider an offer. Remember – don’t say ‘maybe’ in this situation. If you already know it’s going to be a ‘no’, then get it over with. Otherwise, you’ll only be putting off an awkward conversation for another day.

Four Ways to Say No


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