How To Say No Politely 

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“Saying NO is an art, master it.” ~ 

Vikrmn: CA Vikram Verma

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how you use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” ~ 

Anna Taylor

Why do we find it hard to say “no”? Because we want people to like us and would like to appear kind. ‘No’ is counterintuitive to this notion, when we say ‘no’ we fear the repercussions. Humans crave social and emotional stimuli; attention, recognition and intimacy are critical for our emotional and physical survival. “No” can be perceived as a rejection, the very thing that humans are programmed to avoid. The fear of missing out is another reason why people struggle with ‘no’, as social beings, we unconsciously base our beliefs on the current values of society. The Chimp Paradox explains: “The need to belong to a group is so powerful that we will often compromise our lives and lifestyle to remain as part of the group.”

Here are some ways for you to say no politely ~ 

1. Vague and effective ~ “Thank you for asking, but that isn’t going to work out for me.”

2. It’s not personal ~ “Thank you for asking, but I’m not doing any interviews while I’m writing my book at the moment.”

3. Ask me later ~ “I would like to do that, but I’m not available until July. Will you ask me again then please?”

4. Let me hook you up ~ “I can’t do it, but I’ll bet Jasmine can. I’ll ask her for you.”

5. Keep persisting ~ “None of those dates work for me, but I would love to see you. Send me some more dates.”

6. Try me last minute ~ “I can’t put anything else on my calendar this month, but I’d love to do that with you sometime. Will you call me right before you go again?”

7. Gratitude ~ “Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support! I’m sorry I’m not able to help you at this time.”

8. Give the dad a chance ~ “Let’s ask Dad if he wants to help this year.”

9. 5-minute favour ~ “I can’t speak at your event, but I will help you promote it on my blog.”

10. Just No ~ “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.”

11. Gracious ~ “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”

12. I’m Sorry ~ “I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now.”

13. My family is the reason ~ “Thanks so much for the invite, that’s the day of my son’s soccer game, and I never miss those.”

14. I know someone else ~ “I don’t have time right now, but let me recommend someone who may be able to help you.”

15. I’m already booked ~ “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day.”

16. Setting boundaries ~ “Let me tell you what I can do..” Then limit the commitment to what will be comfortable for you.

17. Not no, but not yes ~ “Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”

18. I’m “maxed out” ~ We need a ‘safety word’ for saying no, an easy way to tell people that we can’t/won’t do the thing they are requesting, but that it’s not personal. You are asking them to respect that you’re taking care of yourself and that you also respect their need to take care of themselves.

Research suggests that when we precipitate a decision that allows us to change our minds later, we tend to be a lot less happy with the decisions that we make. Once we decline an invitation or say “no”, we need to make an effort to focus on the good that will come from saying no, not the regret or guilt we may feel. Perhaps we will be better rested because we didn’t go to a party, or we’ll feel less resentful because we let someone else help our friend out. Maybe saying no to something frees up time for another (more fulfilling) activity. Whatever the case may be, focus on the positive outcome of your effort to give a good “no”. Because saying no is really about allowing ourselves to really enjoy what we are doing in the moment, whatever that might be.

Feel free to let us know below how you set your boundaries and have learnt how to lovingly say no..

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Good read. Thank you for your words.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      Saying no isn’t always easy—but it’s often necessary. That’s true both at work and in personal relationships. When a colleague asks you to take on a project you don’t have the bandwidth for, pushing back without leaving them feeling rebuffed is a valuable skill. Likewise, when you get an invite you’re just not up for, knowing how to say no politely keeps things from getting awkward.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. henhouselady says:

    Thank you for your post. You have some great tips on how to say no diplomatically.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      Most welcome

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That also includes how to say no at your workplace. Even if you work incredibly hard, not being able to say no to a request for an extra favor can make your mentally and physically tired!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      For most of us, saying no doesn’t come naturally. You feel lousy disappointing a colleague, guilty about turning down your boss, and anxious denying a client’s request. “You don’t want to be seen as ‘no person,’” says Karen Dillon, coauthor of How Will You Measure Your Life? “You want to be viewed as a ‘yes person,’ a ‘go-to person’ — a team player.” Trouble is, agreeing to work on too many assignments and pitching in on too many projects leaves you stretched and stressed. Saying no is vital to both your success and the success of your organization — but that doesn’t make it any easier to do, says Holly Weeks, the author of Failure to Communicate. “People say, ‘There is no good way to give bad news.’ But there are steps you can take to make the conversation go as well as possible.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. As a people pleaser, I could certainly take a pointer or two from this article. Need to say no more. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      Most welcome Stuart. I think all of us subconsciously become people pleasers sometimes, specially in situations when we don’t want to create an unpleasant situation

      Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Thank you for sharing

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Always a joy and pleasure to read and share your posts with followers, My Dear! Hope you have a great day!! xoxox 😘💕🎁🌹

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Arizona says:

    I lost everything because I didn’t know how to say no. No to others and no to myself. How to accept no from others. I accept and respect the no’s. To protect the one I care about from myself. Thank you for what you do GS. This is an important lesson for me. Bless you 🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. GS says:

      Most welcome. I am glad you found our post.

      Liked by 3 people

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