Do you find it difficult, and sometimes awkward, to say ‘no’?
Do you people take advantage of you because you cannot tell them the word ‘no’?
Here are a few ways to say ‘no’ in an elegant way, and the reasons why you are right in saying ‘no’.
Learn How to Say ‘No’ without Feeling Bad about It
I am in the middle of several projects
- Let people know when you have accepted other responsibilities.
- No need to make excuses if you don’t have any free time.
- No one will fault you for having already filled your plate.
I am not comfortable with that
- You might be uncomfortable with any of a number of issues.
- The people involved, the type of work, the morale implications, etc.
- This is a very respectful way to avoid a sticky situation.
I am not taking on any new responsibilities
- You aren’t saying that you will never help out again.
- You feel your schedule is as full as you would like now.
- Understanding your limits is a talent to be expected.
I am not the most qualified person for the job
- If you don’t feel that you have adequate skills, that’s okay.
- It’s better to admit your limitations up front.
- The best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed down the road.
I do not enjoy that kind of work
- Life isn’t about drudgery – if you don’t enjoy it, why do it?
- Don’t be afraid to let someone know you just don’t want to.
- Someone else is bound to enjoy the work you don’t.
I do not have any more room in my calendar
- Be honest if your schedule is filled.
- “Filled” doesn’t have to mean really filled.
- Know when you are scheduled as much as you are willing and stop.
I hate to split my attention among projects
- Let people know that you want to do a good job for them.
- But you can’t when your focus is too divided or splintered.
- You will be more effective if you focus on one project at a time.
I have another commitment
- It doesn’t matter what the commitment is
- It can even simply be time to yourself or with friends or family.
- You don’t have to justify — you simply aren’t available.
I have no experience with that
- Volunteering shouldn’t mean learning an entirely new set of skills.
- Suggest that they find someone who has experience in that area.
- Offer to help out with something that you already know how to do.
I know you will do a wonderful job yourself
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- People often ask for help because they doubt their own abilities.
- Let them know that you have confidence they will succeed.
- You are actually doing them a favor in the long run.
I need to focus more on my personal life
- Don’t be ashamed of wanting to spend time with your family.
- Having a strong family is an important priority in and of itself.
- Be willing to put your personal needs first.
I need to focus on my career right now
- Often, you have to focus your energies on a work-related task.
- You may have to give up some civic or community duties.
- If you don’t do it, someone else will take on the task.
I need to leave some free time for myself
- It’s okay to be selfish – in a good way!
- Treat your personal time like any other appointment.
- Block off time in your calendar and guard it with your life.
I would rather decline than do a mediocre job
- Know when you aren’t going to be able to deliver a quality product.
- The reason doesn’t matter — not enough time, wrong skills, etc.
- Whatever the reason is enough for turning a request down.
I would rather help out with another task
- Saying no doesn’t mean that you can’t help at all.
- If someone asks you to do something you really despise, refuse.
- Then offer to help with something you find more enjoyable.
Let me hook you up with someone who can do it
- If you aren’t available to help out, offer another qualified resource.
- Helping to connect people is a valuable service to offer.
- Make sure the person you refer will represent you well.
- Sometimes it’s okay to just say no!
- Just say it in a way that expresses respect and courtesy.
- Leave the door open for good relations.
Not right now, but i can do it later
- If you really want to help but don’t have time, say so.
- Offer to help at a later time or date.
- If they can’t wait for you, they’ll find someone else.
Some things have come up that need my attention
- Unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off.
- Accept that you may need to make a few adjustments.
- It is temporary and you will have more time when life stabilizes.
This really is not my strong suit
- It’s okay to admit your limitations.
- Knowing what you can handle and what you can’t is a skill.
- Your time will be more efficiently spent on something you do well.
About the Author
Ramona Creel is a modern renaissance woman and guru of simplicity, traveling the country as a full-time river, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. Follow her on twitter and on facebook.