how to say no

Are you someone who:

  • Is trying to save the world (solve other problems) all at once?
  • Says a YES and never means it?
  • Is guilt conscious to refuse or say NO?
  • Doesn’t want to be called selfish?
  • Is over-confident about his / her own capability of taking up everything even out of one’s comfort zone along with something additional?
  • Doesn’t want someone to be disappointed in you?
  • Would control everyone’s opinion of you? OR even
  • Just want to please others?
  • Don’t know how to say NO.

May it be outside work or at work; have you ever said YES to someone; just because they would feel bad if you would have told NO. Such scenarios put one in an uncomfortable position giving them little choice to answer in terms of yes or no.

What would you choose; over-commitment leading to overwhelm OR a small NO?

The problem is that we try to squeeze in as many tasks as possible; bend up overburdening ourselves which in turn is overwhelming. We need to realize that even we have only as much time to spare as the rest of the world. Totally agree with the thought that “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”! On the contrary, ‘NO’ is not a negative or impolite word! In fact, it saves you from many problems.


For every YES you say, calculate if you would be saying a NO to something more important. Try to prioritize your to-do list before agreeing to something. See to it that you are not drowning yourself. You need not compromise always. Not to forget, the way you convey your ‘NO’ also matters a lot. Majority of people end up saying yes just because they don’t know how to say no. There are better ways to state your objection.

Learn How to say NO without hesitation:

  • Straight forward ‘No’: Without any hesitation, just say NO.
  • E.g.: No, I can’t do it.
  • ‘No’ with a valid reason: Give valid and genuine reason for not accepting.
  • E.g.: No, I can’t make it tomorrow. I got an appointment with the doctor that very day.
  • Conditioned ‘No’: It’s equivalent to negotiating. You agree based on certain conditions.
  • E.g.: Yes, I can help you on this provided the testing team stays back to test on weekend and the ‘x’ takes care of my module that day.
  • Buy time: You buy time to think before giving any assurance.
  • E.g.: I will let you know by tomorrow if I am able to take this up.
  • Sandwich ‘No’: You guarantee the relationship, refuse the request, and then thank for being considered.
  • E.g.: I understand how important it is to finish the task, but I see no room for completion, although am glad you approached me for such a risky job.
  • Firm ‘No’: Call it a Fevicol No! This is usually used when people try to butter you and beg you. You need to see that you stick to your decision and don’t fall for them.
  • E.g.:
  • NO
  • But, the task won’t be completed, without you.
  • No, I can’t make it tomorrow.
  • But, I have promised the manager you would be coming.
  • No, I can’t make it tomorrow.
  • We shall go out for team lunch
  • No, I can’t make it tomorrow.
  • I will make sure you get a comp off.
  • No, I can’t make it tomorrow.
  • We don’t have anyone amongst us as good as you are in coding.
  • I understand, but I can’t make it tomorrow.

Stating no does not make you a rude or an indifferent person. It also does not prove that you are not a kind person as well. Remember, it is always better to state a NO boldly in strength rather than to give a negative YES in weakness. How to say no is an art that needs to learnt and practiced. If said often, the life of many people will be less burdened.

Also, read:

  1. Influence of colleagues at work
  2. Having DISTRACTION fever or Are you DISTRACTED at work
  3. Are you satisfied with the job?
  4. New job opportunity or Stick with the current job!


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