Four Ways to Say “No”

Saying “no” is hard, but necessary. Many women aren’t good at saying no, because they want to please everyone. We don’t want to lose a friend, make an adult child mad, disappoint a boss, or upset our family. However, most of us have also ended up in places that aren’t good for us because we said “yes” when we should have said “no.”

Let’s boil saying “no” down to four options. Try these on for size. Actually say them out loud as you read them.

Your Own Terms

When someone asks you to help them for, maybe, five hours, say no and immediately offer what help you can give.

“No, I can’t do that, but I can come help you for one hour. “

Maybe Next Time

Only use this one when you mean it. Otherwise, you’re just going to have to say “no” again.

“No, I can’t do that now, but maybe I can next time.”  

Buy Time

This is the delayed no. Avoid the impulse of saying yes and regretting it later by simply saying:

“I’ll get back to you.”

Buying yourself time allows you to double-check your schedule or your inclination. Really think about the request, then come back to the person with a “yes,” a “maybe next time,” or with your own terms.

Full Stop. NO!

This is the toughest “no” to deliver, so you need to practice stating it clearly and concisely.

You can still be nice, while being firm.

“I understand your dilemma, but I’m not able to stay late/volunteer/help you this time.”

Avoid going into detail or talking yourself back into things. Once you’ve said no, politely change the subject to make it clear there’s no room for debate or negotiation.



Sometimes we have to say “no” to ourselves. In his book, Love Does, Bob Goff talks about quitting something every Thursday.  How are you doing at saying, “No, I’m not going to live that way anymore?”

Here’s an additional resource to consider how sometimes saying “no” means letting go. Quit Something

Learning to say “no” opens new doors to say “yes” to better things!

When was a time that you had success in saying “no” when you wanted to say “yes?” What was the outcome? Share in the comments and encourage one another.