Do you find it difficult to be assertive and say “no” to people’s requests? Learning how to say no without hurting someone feelings can seem challenging.
Since there just aren’t enough hours in the day to appease everyone, the art of saying “no” without hurting the feelings of others is an important skill to acquire.
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Saying “no” doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it. There are plenty of polite, yet assertive, ways you can tell people “no” when you need to. Keep reading to learn how to say no politely to a friend.
But how can you say no to someone without offending him/her? Glad you asked!
How to say no gracefully without being rude or impolite?
“No” to now, but “yes” to later.
“I’m very busy at the moment. Perhaps someone else can help you. If not, I’ll have time later in the week to help you out.”
This is a great way to say “no.” It’s assertive, but also positive and kind. You let the person know there’s no way you can do what they’re asking at the moment.
However, you give them the option to ask someone else or wait until you have the time to help out.
“No” unless something changes.
“I’m very flattered that you’ve asked me. However, I’m not currently in a position where I can take on this responsibility. Could we talk about this at another time if there’s a change in my circumstances?”
This statement says “no” while still being very polite. You let them know how thrilled you are that they’ve asked you, but then you’re honest about how little time you have to commit to their request.
A definitive “No.”
“I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not able to do this. I’m afraid I’ll overextend myself.”
With this statement, you express regret for disappointing the person, yet you still let them know that this is a solid “no.”
No doubt they’ll understand you don’t want to overextend yourself, which makes them sympathetic to the plight you’re in as well.
This answer is very kind and polite. Plus, it allows them to understand where you’re coming from.
“No” to attend an event.
“I had a great time before, but I won’t be able to make it this time since I’m already overscheduled.”
Sometimes you may get asked to an event you don’t want to attend or that you just don’t have the time for. You don’t have to feel obligated to go.
This statement lets the person know you’ve had a great time in the past, yet you’re overscheduled or busy this time around.
“No” to loaning money.
“I really wish I could but I make it my practice not to loan money to friends and family.”
Money is one thing that many people ask for from their friends and family. It’s 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 the practice you have for everyone, and you’re not just saying “no” to him or her personally.
Find Polite ways to say no as a parent
For some reason, parents often feel the need to always say “yes.”
Whether it’s working at a PTA function, helping in your child’s classroom, or going to yet another classmate’s party. You may feel like these are things you must fit into your already busy schedule.
However, you can take control of your family’s calendar – and your sanity – by saying “no” to some offers that come your way.
Saying “no” in a pleasant tone of voice won’t lose any friends; but it will allow you to set boundaries so you can enjoy life rather than racing through it.
6 Easy Ways to Say “No”
Sometimes we have a hard time telling others “No.” Unfortunately, leaving it unsaid can come at your own expense. You lose time to do the things you really want (or need) to do and you can even feel resentful towards the other person and yourself.
Telling others that you can’t acquiesce to their request doesn’t have to be difficult. If you struggle with the concept, here are some ideas you can put to use immediately.
#1. Explain that your other commitments are taking up all your time right now.
Everyone is too busy at times; the other person will understand that you have a heavy load of other responsibilities.
It might help to go into a little detail about the other things you have going on; it will increase their level of understanding.
#2. Say that you’re in the middle of something and that you’ll get back to them.
It’s not uncommon to get hit with requests for immediate help. You can let them know that you can’t help right now but that you might be able to help soon.
If it really is urgent, they’ll find someone else and shouldn’t feel resentful towards you.
#3. Tell them that you’ll think about it.
This is more of a “maybe” than an absolute “no.” Avoid using this option if you really do want to say “no.” Take the time you need to consider it and remember to get back to them.
You can suggest your own deadline or an alternative that works for better for you if you can’t comply fully with their first request.
#4. Say your needs are different right now.
If someone is trying to sell something to you, tell them that their offering doesn’t meet your needs but you’ll get back to them if your needs change.
This puts an end to the matter quickly without the other person feeling insulted. After all, you’re rejecting their product or service; you’re not rejecting them personally.
#5. Tell them that so-and-so would be a better help.
In this case, you’re not refusing to help them. In fact, you are helping them by suggesting someone more capable of satisfying their needs.
#6. Tell them that you’d like to help, but…
This lets the other party know that you would like their offer or would like to provide assistance to them, but you that you are either too busy or their offer doesn’t meet your needs. It’s similar to #1 and #4, but is more supportive and encouraging.
If you’ll learn to say “no” to the things that you really don’t want to do, don’t have the time to do, or don’t fit your needs, your life will be much richer for it.
Like many other things in life, it gets easier with practice. After you get used to it, you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how receptive others can be.
Remember to only tell the truth. One of the options is bound to be true. There’s no reason to feel like you’re being dishonest.
Now go tell some people “no” and see how much better you feel!
Empowering Yourself to Politely Say “No”! Try this Self Reflection
I allow myself to say “No.”
I am capable of saying “No” to requests I do not feel comfortable with. Sometimes, people can ask too much of others. I like to help people, but I know I cannot say “Yes” to everyone all the time. It is healthy and okay for me to say “No” sometimes.
Even when I say “No,” I still care about the people to whom I say it. “No” is not an indication of my feelings for the person who made the request. Saying “No” is about keeping my own happiness, joy, and peace, instead of giving them away to please others.
People still love me when I say “No” to them. They understand why I sometimes have to decline their request. I can take good care of the people I love without agreeing to everything they ask of me. I realize it is okay to say “No.”
Saying “No” can be healthy. By saying “No,” I ensure my own happiness and peace of mind. I say “Yes” when I can, “No” when I cannot, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Others appreciate my honesty.
I still feel good about myself when I say “No” to a request. Declining some requests gives me the time to follow through on the ones I accept. I say “No” to keep my life in balance, and it works very well. Saying “No” keeps me healthy and happy.
Today, I allow myself to say “No” to requests I cannot accommodate.
Self-Reflection Questions to Learn Polite ways of saying No
- How can I say “No” without hurting someone’s feelings?
- How can I say “No” and still feel good about myself?
- What is the best way for me to say “No” without causing problems for others?
How to politely Say No and Still Be Friends
Many of us have a hard time saying no to friends. Who doesn’t want to help a friend who asks for your help?
Unfortunately, there are times you simply need to say no when a friend seeks your assistance. Perhaps you’re way too busy or maybe your friend is asking you to do something that you’re uncomfortable doing.
It can be awkward to say no to a friend. No one wants to risk a friendship. You might be surprised to find out that it’s not that hard to say no and still be friends.
Follow these principles and you can say no without damaging your friendship:
Make certain you didn’t misunderstand.
Misunderstandings are common. Maybe you didn’t hear what you thought you heard. Get clarification before you say yes or no.
Maybe you’ll be able to say yes, if you first seek to understand.
Separate the issue from those involved.
Once you’ve gotten clear on the issue and determined that you’re not getting involved, remember that you’re still friends. Being friends is separate from the issue at hand.
Ensure they understand that it’s the issue or your own situation that’s preventing you from saying yes, not them.
Keep the focus on yourself, not your friend.
It doesn’t go over well if you say something like, “I can’t lend you money because everyone knows you’ll never pay it back.”
Let them know that you care, but explain why you can’t help. It’s important that they understand why you’re saying no.
For example, you could explain that you have a policy of never loaning money because it has ruined friendships in the past.
Be firm and clear in your “no.”
Many of us give weak, wishy-washy answers that give the other person hope that we might change our minds. Avoid giving false hope and just give a clear “no.”
A clear “no” ends the issue quickly. It’s like pulling off a Band-Aid with one quick pull.
What is the underlying need?
If you can determine what she really needs, you can help your friend come up with another solution.
Sometimes, a person in need doesn’t have the capacity to find more elegant solutions.
You could be of great assistance by taking the time to brainstorm and look for other alternatives in which you aren’t involved.
Find another way to help them.
Maybe you could help with the current issue in some smaller capacity. Offer other suggestions.
Maybe they have another need where you would be happy to provide help and support.
One of the keys to keeping the friendship is to ensure they walk away with something from you, even if it’s only advice and empathy.
If they feel worse than they did before they approached you, the friendship is likely to be strained.
How we feel about others is largely dependent on how they make us feel. Do what you can to make your friend feel better without compromising your limits.
It’s never easy to say no to a friend. But sometimes saying no is the only way to maintain a friendship. If helping your friend comes at too great a cost, you’ll end up feeling resentful, which can kill the relationship altogether.
Take care of yourself and say no when it’s appropriate. Be supportive of your friends and try to help in other ways if you can’t acquiesce to their request.
If you can show that you’re empathetic and offer help in another way, your friendship should remain strong. It can be an awkward situation, but sometimes saying no is the best option.