How do you say ‘NO’ 

“Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.”   ~ Josh Billings


Saying ‘No’ can be a very difficult thing. It is especially so if the person to whom you have to say it is someone very close to you. And if you think that you are the only one who has this inability to say ‘No’, think again. You are not alone. A lot of people cannot say ‘No’ and they agree to do something just to be nice to others but at the expense of themselves.


For you to be able to say no, you should first know what the reasons are why you are not able to say ‘No’. Some of the common reasons are –


  1. You may be a person who is generally a kind person at heart and want to genuinely help others.
  2. You may be afraid of being rude to people. Sometimes our upbringing does not allow us to say ‘No’ to people especially our seniors. This may be considered rude in certain cultures.
  3. You may want to fit into a group even though you don’t agree with them. So you end up saying ‘Yes’ even though you should have really said ‘No’.
  4. You don’t want to get into a conflict situation with someone. You may fear that if you say ‘No’ now it may lead to some problem in the future.
  5. You may fear that by saying ‘No’ you are closing your doors to opportunities that may not come your way again in the future.
  6. You may not want to severe a relationship by saying ‘No’.


So how do you learn to say ‘No’? To begin with you must understand that the above mentioned statements are not really reasons but misconceptions in our own minds. These are just some false beliefs that we tend to carry in our minds. Secondly, it depends on how you say it. Listed below are some pointers that may help you in learning how to say ‘No’.


1.       “I have other things that need my attention and so I can’t commit to this.”

When you have other commitments and you know that you will be pressed for time if you commit to something else, you can say this. Also, in order to make the other person comfortable, you can actually share with him / her  what you are doing currently.


2.        “While I cannot commit to this right now as I have other things on hand, how about we connect at a later date and time.”

When you say this, the other person does not feel let down. You also show your interest in helping or doing what this person wants by suggesting to talk about it at a later date.

3.       “It’s a great idea and I really want to be a part of it, but…….”

If you like the idea but are unable to be a part of it for some reason, then you can say this. Make sure you let the person know that it is a great idea and you like it a lot.



“I will have to think about it before I can make a commitment. Give me some time and I will get back to you.”

If you like the idea but you don’t want to say ‘Yes’ immediately, use this. This will come across as a ‘Maybe’ instead of a straight ‘No’ and will give you a chance to think about if you really want to do it.


“This is not what I require right now but will surely let you know if anything comes up.”

If someone is trying to sell you an idea or is proposing an opportunity that you are not interested in, then you can say this to let him / her know that while the idea is interesting, you don’t need it at the moment. This way while you are saying ‘No’ to the current opportunity, you are keeping the door open for any possible future opportunities.


“I am sorry but I am not the right person for this job. Why don’t you try ‘X’ for this?”

If someone is seeking your help in something that you cannot contribute to or do not have the resources to help, then you can say this. By directing him / her to another person who might be able to help, you are actually helping the person steer in the correct direction.


“I cannot do this”

This is the most direct way of saying ‘No’. You will be surprised that the response from the other person will not be half as bad as you think it will be. You will realise that the barriers in our minds about saying ‘No’ have been created by us and are a figment of our own minds.


So, next time you have to say ‘No’, just say it. And say it in as simple a way as possible. And you will see for yourself how easy it actually is to say ‘No’.

3 responses to “How do you say ‘NO’”

  1. Mohammed Azran says:

    How to say “NO”. No is a very difficult thing to say especially to a person whose very close to you. This article needs to be shared on many platforms so that each and every person understands the need to say “NO” for some issues in which he/she is not interested in.

  2. Preetham Delampady says:

    A nice article. I liked it very much. I agree with Mohammed Azran. This article needs to be spread across.

  3. Mithun B says:

    “Saying ‘No’ can be a very difficult thing. It is especially so if the person to whom you have to say it is someone very close to you.” This Factor is the main reason where we can’t say no. We have try to overcome it and be ourselves and take our own decisions.

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