Writings Top Ten Ways to Say No
Becky Pine ©1999
- I’m really honored (flattered, pleased, touched) that you asked me, but I just don’t have the time to take on something else right now.
- I can’t do that, but I could do __________.
- I’d love to, but I already have a commitment then.
- I’m focusing all my energy on my (kids, job, family, new project, church, political work, etc.) right now so I can’t take anything else on.
- I do enjoy doing that (task, kind of work, type of responsibility) but I’m already over my limit for this year. Ask me again next year.
- Sorry, that’s our family time.
- You know I’d love to help you out, but I just can’t this time.
- I’ve promised myself (my family, my spouse, my kids) that I won’t take on any more responsibilities this year.
- I doesn’t work for me this time, but call me next time.
- It sounds like a lot of fun but I have to pass this time.
If you’re unsure about your decision, or if it’s the kind of thing you automatically say yes to and then regret later, force yourself to take time to think about it before answering. “Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you later today / tomorrow / next week.”
Answer right away if you are clear about your intention to say no.
Smile, make eye contact, and be assertive in your delivery. Stop talking after you’ve said it! You don’t need to answer the question “Why not?” Just keep repeating some version of “It’s not possible” until they stop asking.
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