How to Politely Say “No” and Reclaim Your Power
You say yes to everything – to new projects, extra responsibilities, staying late, coming in early, but sometimes you really feel like saying no. You find it difficult to, though, don’t you? It doesn’t matter whether you’re busy, uninterested or just downright exhausted, saying no is terrifying. (Source)
How to Politely Say “No” & Stop Giving Your Power Away
You don’t want to upset your boss, hurt your friend’s feelings or let down a colleague. As it turns out, you may be able to take the sting out of your no by learning how to deliver it diplomatically. Let us take you on a journey of how to politely say NO!
1. The Vague No
You can offer an effective no by simply saying thanks for asking, but no, that doesn’t work for me.
2. The it isn’t personal No
Thanks for asking, but I’m not doing x right now.
3. Ask again later No
That sounds awesome, but I can’t do x until y, please ask me then.
4. An Alternative No
I have to say no, but I know someone who might be interested.
5. A Temporary No
I’m not available on any of those dates, are you available any time else?
6. Too Busy To Concrete It No
I’m too busy to make concrete plans, but maybe we can pull it off last minute if you try again.
7. The Grateful No
I’m so touched by your offer, I wish I could help, I just can’t right now.
8. The Switch No
I can’t do x, but I can do y if that helps.
9. The Apologetic No
I’m sorry. While I appreciate you thinking of me, I’ve already committed my time elsewhere.
10. The It’s Out of My Hands No
I promised x that I will focus on y.
11. The Family No
While I appreciate the invite, I can’t miss this specific family gathering.
12. The I’m Fully Booked No
I’m fully booked so, I can’t take anything else on right now.
13. It Isn’t a Yes, But It’s Not a No
I’ll need to get back to you on that.
14. The Boundary Setting No
Let me show you what I can do for you.
15. The Silent No
You don’t need to respond to every request you get. You may feel like it’s rude to ignore it, but sometimes it’s the best way forward.
16. The I’m At My Limit No
Sometimes you want to say yes, but you just can’t. There’s nothing personal about turning down extra responsibility or invitations. So, sometimes you just need to diplomatically explain to someone that you’re at your limit.
17. The Radically Honest No
When you are overwhelmed with activity, the constant requests can add to your stress. So, sometimes being completely honest about what’s going on with your life will make your no easier for people to accept, and stave off additional requests for a while.
18. The OTT No
This will work in just about any personal situation – it’s the over the top no that will stretch your acting abilities. Oh, how I wish I could do this (dramatic pause), but it’s impossible.
19. The Conscientious Objector No
It goes against your values or it’s something that you just disagree with. So, be quick with your no – there should be no hesitation. If it’s going for a drink and you’re a recovering alcoholic you can simply say you don’t drink.
Yeah, that’s it – you can just go with a simple no thanks.
If you always say no to everything, people will stop asking. That’s why it’s really important that you learn how to offer a diplomatic no. It’s also a good way for people who struggle to say no to flex their boundaries.
How to Reclaim Your Power & Break Free From People Who Ask Too Much Of You
Do you just want everyone around you to be happy? Does that mean you are likely to go along with their requests simply to keep the peace? You put everyone else first and saying yes to everything comes as second nature. Sometimes it feels like your people pleasing is an addiction.
Yet, you recognize that you’re doing it and realize that you don’t feel compelled to say yes to everyone. So, are you really a people pleaser or are you a person pleaser? It might be time to break free from people who ask too much of you.
It’s normal to want some type of outside validation, but true people pleasers need that validation deeply. They gain their feelings of security from others, that is where they draw their confidence from. That can make assertiveness a challenge, whether you’re simply a person pleaser or a people pleaser.
It’s time to get your validation internally. Your confidence should be drawn from within you, not from external forces. How can you do that? Start doing the things that make you feel good, and if you do those, then you won’t rely on others to do it for you. So, make friends with people who make you feel like a rock star, do activities that make you feel amazing, and remind yourself constantly that you are awesome.
2. How to Politely Say No [The Small No]
You can’t just wake up on day one and say no to absolutely everything. Cold turkey is difficult no matter what you’re trying to quit. If your friend calls you to invite you to go to a party, but you don’t feel like going, then don’t go. That’s so hard to do, though. So, instead you can start with a small no – you can say you’ll arrive late and then you can leave early.
If your friends want to grab dinner, you can suggest coffee instead. The art of the small no, and you can build up to those more significant nos with the people who ask too much of you.
It’s difficult to say no at the best of times, but it’s even more challenging when you like to please. Your default is yes, even if you immediately regret it. Then you go through the stage of beating yourself up over it.
So, give yourself a bit of time between the request and your answer. Tell them you’ll need to check with your partner or your schedule and buy time. That allows you space to process the request, and you can then offer a no through text or email. It’s much easier this way. I’ll need to get back to you.
It’s easier to say no to people when you understand your goals. So, what are your goals? Think short-term and long-term and revisit them regularly. It will be easier for you to break free from the people who demand too much from you when you know exactly what you have going on.
5. Toxic People
As you went through this article, there’s a pretty good chance you zeroed in one or two specific people. You probably have at least one toxic person who is always demanding your time or effort. They are dragging you down, and you are right to cut them out.
It’s important to recognize when people are taking advantage of you – they typically flatter you always in a bid to get their way. There is a difference between someone who does this once and someone who always uses this tact to get what they want.
One more time with feeling – that’s how you say no, and don’t ever feel tempted to apologize. You are saying no because you have priorities and this doesn’t fit the list. You’re simply standing up for yourself and breaking free from the people who are too demanding.
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How Do You Say No Effectively?