Say No with Ease / Say No without Guilt

My #1 helpful tip... Don't give more information than necessary - people are naturally motivated to "help" you overcome your difficulty doing the thing they want you to do. The more information you provide, the more reasons you list, human inclination is to help you overcome those difficulties.

Personally I have a huge challenge with the actual word NO and perceive it as confrontational. Probably the reason for this is that with most people I had in my life it was cause for confrontation and huge argument. So I came up with ways to say no without actually having to say the word.


So the challenge is bowing out without offering reasons

Ways to soften "no" without saying why you can't do the thing:

Here's a few suggestions
  • That sounds really nice but I can't
  • That sounds fun but I don't think I can
  • I'd love to but not possible
  • I'd really prefer not to
  • I don't think I can
  • That really won't work for me
  • Maybe some other time
  • I'll have to pass
Other times it helps to buy some time if you're thrown into panic mode, freezing and not sure what to say exactly but had to provide a response. That used to happen with me. Here's some things that might work in that situation. Try this or some other variation that sounds natural to you
  • Let me check with my family and get back to you
  • Let me check my calendar and let you know

With one work situation I noticed that very often I was asked to do something and then the thing I did wound up not being needed and had been a big waste of my valuable time. I learned with this situation to always answer some of the following
  • That sounds like a great idea let me brainstorm
  • Let me give it some thought and can you get back to me in a few days
  • Check back with me on Wednesday and I'll let you know
Inevitably this person never returned and had completely forgotten they had requested the thing they didn't need in the first place.


Here's the other thing and you really need to own this 100%

You are not responsible one little bit for how someone feels about your decision to opt out of what they want or need you to do that you cannot do. Read that again


One word of caution - you may actually need to use the word no with some people and only the word no because anything else is too fuzzy and not perceived as a no. Some people can even hear "yes" even with a very clear no. Another thing others do is keep asking even after a very clear no because they haven't yet gotten the yes they wish to hear. At that point just repeat your no more firmly.

Finally practice out loud

This was huge for me - to get to hear my own voice actually say the words - have you ever tried that?

Related info is understanding the difference between guilt versus shame and owning your human rights firmly outlined. You need those two things in place and can find them here




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