How to Nicely Say No


It’s not always easy to decline requests but there are ways that you can nicely say no. Depending on where you grew up and how you were raised, some people find it difficult to say no because they want to be nice and to please others. But the truth is you don’t always have to say yes. It’s not your obligation to always do what people want you to do. And you can still be nice and say no.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of personality issues or certain traits of a person. But you should be careful because you might not realize that you’re being a pushover and that’s not healthy. Here are the 10 signs that you might be a pushover and what to do about it. Sometimes, saying no is just a matter of choosing the right words. A good vocabulary might help you and this is a guide on how to expand your vocabulary.

Why You Don’t Always Have to Say Yes

Before you master the art of how to nicely say no, you must first realize why it’s not your obligation to always say yes to each and every circumstance that requires your help or assistance. You have the right to say no and there are so many reasons why it’s not healthy to keep saying yes to everything. It could also lead to a lot of problems.

  • Say Yes to Yourself First

    One of the biggest reason why you should say no sometimes is that you are not saying yes enough to yourself. Sometimes, we are too focused on pleasing other people afraid of letting them down that we forget not to let ourselves down. You need to think of yourself too. If saying yes to a situation, a favor or a commitment means compromising your own needs and values, then it’s a clear sign that you shouldn’t say yes. It’s a good start to know how to nicely say no.

  • Don’t Give In to Pressure

    Sometimes, you say yes because there is a pressure of doing so because everyone else says yes. You need to stand your ground and remember that your life does not depend on the decisions of others. When a situation calls for your answer and everyone else is saying yes but you know in your heart that you don’t want to and that you shouldn’t, you need to listen to that voice and make that decision for yourself.

  • It Will Be Unfair

    Guess what, saying yes all the time even when you don’t want to is unfair not only for yourself but also to the people you are saying yes to. Why? Because you will not be doing it freely. In time, it will build resentment and that can cause unfair judgments in the future. You may not notice it but you may find yourself doing something out of spite for these people all because you were forced to do something you did not freely do so. It’s not fair for you and it’s not fair for them either. That’s why it’s important to learn how to nicely say no.

How to Nicely Say No

Knowing the reasons why you should not always say yes, you must then practice the ways to nicely say no. Remember that this is for the benefit of all parties involved and not only for yourself. And either way, it’s not wrong to think of your own well-being. Because often, when you put others first, people tend to abuse that and not appreciate you anymore. They just take and take, and never give anything back. So how do you nicely say no? Here are some tips.

  • Be Clear About Your Priorities

    There are times when you really want to help or give but it may not be a good timing. You might be preoccupied with something else or are intending your resources for something that you have already planned for a long time. When this happens, be honest to whoever is asking and tell them that you have other priorities at the moment. You can say that you would love to help but right now, it’s not a priority. Not that you owe them an explanation but it will be so much easier if you let them know that you’re not saying no just because you don’t want to but because you have other things that are more important. It’s up to them to understand. This is a great way to nicely say no.

  • Offer Alternatives

    You may not be able to do exactly what they are asking or give exactly what they need but you can still help by offering another resource. You can point them to another person who could better help them, a place, or maybe even just an idea to help them. This is a win-win situation to nicely say no because you are still helping them, just not the way they expected.

  • Say Your Limitations

    Another great way to nicely say no is to let the person know that the reason you can’t fulfill the request is because of your own limitations. This will allow them to not feel bad for asking you. This lets them know that there was nothing wrong with what they’re asking. Rather, you are just not fit to do it. if for example, someone is asking to partner with your company or group for a project, you can say that it’s a really great project unfortunately, your company is not the best fit for it. it will even make them feel good about their intentions and understand that you’re not turning them away because of personal reasons.

  • Show Your Appreciation

    This could be an optional step to nicely say no. But it is in your best interest to show appreciation to the person who sought your help. Tell them you appreciate how they want you to be part of their project. Or how they thought of you as the right person to do something, but you just can’t do it. It’s always good to show appreciation to people and everyone deserves it.

When a person won’t take no for an answer, then that is a different situation. Still nicely say no, but be firm and remember not to compromise your convictions and values.