Personal Growth Self Improvement

How to Say No Politely?

How to say no politely?

Am I the Only One?

I don’t know if this happens with you or not, but it’s been many years and I am still learning how to say no politely and without feeling guilty. I kind of feel guilty when I say no, so I don’t and then I have to face the repercussions. It can be quiet frustrating at times but who’s to blame!

To be honest, there have been times when I am all psyched to say no but yes slips out. (SMH, right?)

And yet, we do it again and again and again! Even though it adds more to our crowded schedules and bulging to-do lists.

There are high chances that you may end up in uncomfortable and messy situations which can be easily avoided had you said a simple no.

Saying no to a certain favor or a task may sound easy, however, ask people like us. It’s a nightmare for people like us, trust me.

A Few Strategies

There’s always confusion about how to say no and not feel bad at the same time. I sometimes feel aggressive when I have to turn someone down because it’s like reject the person and not their request. I don’t want to be an aggressor because there’s a negative connotation to it.

But you know it’s not about turning someone down, it’s about turning their request down because you put your priorities first.

What matters more than saying no? How you say no Politely!

Saying No politely

It is not necessary that your no has to be a rude one, you can refuse politely also. Here are a few ways to say no nicely –

1. Say it with Kindness or add a Compliment

Here the basic idea is to make the other person feel good despite the rejection.

For example, Your idea sounds like a great chance, however, I think I’ll pass. Thanks for considering me though.

If the above example doesn’t work for you then you may say something like this – As intriguing as it sounds, I’m afraid that it’s not a good fit for us. Next time, maybe?

2. State Reasons (That always works!)

Apart from compliments, another thing that you can try is giving your reasons and that’s something everyone appreciates. It’s not necessary to have ‘fancy’ excuses, candid ones work the best.

For example, This opportunity sound great but I don’t think we have a budget for this kind of project.

And if you want to turn down some trip here’s what you can say – I am sure that a trip to Singapore will be fun but I won’t have the time to swing it this summer.

3. Be brief, but not abrupt

There are times when you don’t have to explain yourself when telling someone no. But, it’s still considerate to gave a straight-up no rather than a non-response because leaving someone without answers tend to read as thoughtless.

As much as your message should be brief, there’s always a better way to do it.

For example, Sadly, I’m upset I can’t help you with this.

When you use a word like sadly, it shows you recognize that your response won’t thrill the other person and it gives you no joy to say so.

Another thing that you can say is – Thank you for considering me but I can’t take more work on as of now, but please do keep in touch.

4. Leave the door open a bit

This is something you can use when you don’t want to say no so you use an alternative – not now.

For example, Thank you. I am honored that you considered me to speak at your event but the timing is no good. Would you keep my name in mind for the next year’s summit though?

As handy as this approach is, you may want to use it rarely. Putting someone off all the time can come off as rude than telling them no at the outset.

5. Offer an Alternative

When you want to say no, but in the interest of the courtesy, at times, you want to tell your friend some other way maybe by suggesting another time or another option.

Here’s something that you can say – I can’t cover the weekend shift for you but I surely can cover for you on Monday if you need a day to recover.

Or you can say something else like, It’s not possible for me to give career advice to you right now. But my colleague John will be a better person to mentor you and the insights that he’ll give will be worthwhile. Shall I introduce you to him?

6. Be Firm

How to say no politely
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If the other person refuses to accept your no, then you know that he/she is not a true friend or doesn’t respect you, perhaps. You got to stand firm, and there’s no need to feel compelled to give in only because they are uncomfortable.

It is necessary for all of us to realize that saying no is an essential part of your life. There are times when you don’t have to offer the other person a Plan B or an explanation, however, it’s always worth taking the time to express yourself kindly.

Also, we got to realize that we have to put our needs first than anyone else’s. If we will prioritize our needs over others, we will surely find productivity and there won’t be any resentment pounding.

Wrapping Up on Saying No Politely

Saying no can free up your mind as well as time for another perhaps a more joyful activity. It will help you to set healthy boundaries. Whatever the case may be, you must focus on the positive outcome of your effort to say no. Isn’t this what saying no is all about? Allowing ourselves to enjoy what we’re doing at the moment.

Allow yourselves to be free from the guilt and enjoy!

saying no politely

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  • Reply
    Steve Patterson
    July 28, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Sometimes it is hard for us to say no, other times, we don’t use tact when we tell others no. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      July 29, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Yes Steve,
      I completely agree with you. However, I think saying no is important for your peace of mind, most of the time.

      • Reply
        October 16, 2023 at 6:59 pm

        It’s really hard to say no. But you can say no when you have a clear reason to present.
        But sometimes it’s feel bad when you can’t do anything for someone.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    These are great tips to not come off as dismissive or rude when saying “no”. Putting a positive spin on a negative action is a really great skill to have, thanks for these ideas.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve dealt with this problem my whole life and used to come up with all kinds of stories to get out of things. Now I’ve found that this approach works best without having to make up a story or sound mean. Thanks for the tips on how to word future no’s.

  • Reply
    Jayashree srivatsan (jaish vats)
    August 9, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Sometimes taking a No is difficult too and when one starts doing that better, the art of saying No develops too i think

  • Reply
    Ajay Sharma
    August 13, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Saying no is an art itself sometimes without triggering the other person.. this blog definitely tells the same story, great work!

  • Reply
    Dixita Agarwal
    August 25, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Nice post. Saying no at times can be hard but with these tips it will make me guilt free for sure

    • Reply
      Hannah Scott
      October 18, 2023 at 6:56 am

      Finally something for us recovering people pleasers!! Such a great easy to digest post! Thank you!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2020 at 5:44 am

    Politeness always works in saying No. Saying No is not a bad thing.

  • Reply
    Terrie Lewine
    October 18, 2023 at 9:29 pm

    I like some of your suggestions here. I like to think of requests as proposals. Then we can negotiate small shifts to get to a mutual yes.

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