Eight Tips to Say No and Keep Your Sanity

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Isn’t funny that one of the toughest things to learn is something no one bothered to teach us in school? I’m talking about how to say “no.” It’s the one of the main things that holds us back from being happy and living our purpose. Here are eight quick tips on how to do it.

1) Just Say It. “No” is a complete sentence. It doesn’t need any modifiers or qualifications. Instead of spending all of your time coming up with fancy reasoning so the other person feels better, just say no. For some people, that will be enough. And if it’s not, it’s really their problem, not yours. But if you MUST give them more….

2) Repeat a rehearsed phrase. This is especially handy for people who ask you for the same thing, or the same type of thing, all the time. For example, the friend who always asks for money, or the parent who tries to make you feel guilty for not calling/visiting someone often enough. Come up with a reason why you’re saying no, such as “I understand, but my budget is tight,” or “I know you love Aunt Tabitha, but we’re not very close.” Whenever the subject comes up, use the phrase early and often.

3) Offer an alternative. Give the person something else that you would be willing to do instead. Don’t want to loan any money? Help them search for a new job or a side gig. Offer to sit down with them and help organize their finances. (Repeat that one often enough, and they may stop asking!) No, your cousin can’t just show up at your place, and stay for a week. But you can help her search for hotels!

4) Don’t apologize. You have every right to say no. Apologizing will only be seen as an opening for the person to ask again. Say it simply and plainly.

5)Keep your tone even. Remain neutral when you’re telling person no. Don’t make faces, and don’t raise your voice.

6) Don’t fight it out. You will most definitely encounter people who will not be happy with your response. They may try to bait you into an argument, in hopes that they can win and get you to change your mind. DO NOT ENGAGE! Hang up the phone, leave the room, change the subject, do whatever you need to do.

7) Think of this as a yes to yourself. If you are still feeling guilty about saying no to other people, remember why you’re doing it. Make a list of all the ways in which you are saying yes to yourself and opportunities in your life by saying no to this person.

8) Don’t wait. If you already know the answer is no, don’t tell the person you’ll think about it. It gives them hope that you’ll say yes, and will just upset them more. It also gives you more time to be stressed over your decision, and makes you more likely to cave. Just say it, and be done with it.

At the end of the day, some people are just users, and will never be OK with you saying no, no matter how you say it. Remember two things: 1) That’s their problem, not yours. And 2) You know what’s worse than losing a relationship quickly because you said no? Ending a relationship after years of being resentful over putting their needs ahead of your own.

Originally published at

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