No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that.

When we don’t want to do something we can simply

smile and say no.

We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No”.

Early on my journey I found developing the ability to say no

expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it.

My early attempts at saying no were often far from graceful

but with practice even my no came from

a place of love.

Love yourself enough to be able to say yes or no.

Susan Gregg

Do you find it difficult to be assertive and say “no” to people’s requests? Have you finally come to realize that there are just not enough hours in the day to appease everyone? The art of saying “no” to people, without hurting their feelings is an important skill to master. Saying “no” doesn’t mean you have to be rude. or impolite There are many polite, yet assertive, ways that you can tell people “no” when you need to.

1. Later. “No” to now, but “yes” to doing it later on. “I’m very busy at this moment. Perhaps someone else can help you. If not, I will have some time later in the day/ week/ month to help you out.”

This is a great way to say “no.” It is assertive enough to get the point across, but it is also positive and kind. You have been very clear with the person asking that there is no possible way you can do what they’re asking at the moment. But, you have supplied them with two options: ask someone else to help, or to wait until you have the time to help out.

2. Situational. “No” unless something changes. “I am very flattered that you have asked my help, but I’m not currently in a position where I can take on this additional responsibility. Can we talk about this at another time if there’s a change in our circumstances?”

This statement says “no” while still being very polite. You let them know how thrilled you are to have been asked, and at the same time being honest about how little time you have to commit to their request.

3. Definitive. ”No.” “I really hate to disappoint you, but I’m not able to do this. There is just no may that I can do that without overextending myself.”

With this statement, you have expressed your sincere regret for disappointing the person, but you have still been firm in letting them know that this is a solid “no.” Almost anyone can understand the concept of being overextended. And, this should also make them feel a little more sympathetic to the plight that you find yourself in as well. This answer is very kind and polite. Plus, it allows them to understand where you’re coming from. Who knows? They might even offer to help you.

4. Special case: Money. We have all seen money destroy friendships and strain family relationships. Just say “No” to loaning money. “I really wish I could but I make it my practice not to loan money (or co-sign loans) to friends and family.”

Money is one thing that many people ask for from their friends and family. It presents a difficult situation since you don’t want to insult them or hurt their feelings. This statement is a nice way to be assertive and say “no” while still being kind. You let them know that you wish you could loan them the money, yet you go on to explain why you won’t. You make it clear that this is a firm practice you that you use with everyone, and that you are not just saying “no” to him or her personally.

For some reason, parents often feel the need to say “yes” to every request. Whether it means working at a PTA function, helping in your child’s classroom, or going to yet another classmate’s birthday party, parents may feel like these are things you must somehow fit into an already overbooked schedule.

By saying “No” more often, you allow yourself some breathing room, and opportunities to say “Yes” to things you want to do, and to those things that truly matter to you. Learning to say ”no” in a pleasant tone of voice should not lose you any friends, but it will help you to set some useful boundaries so that you can enjoy your life, rather than just racing through it.


Photo Credit: Jill via Compfight cc