Personal Development

How to Master the Art of Saying NO

At times, we usually find ourselves in certain situations where we want to decline the offer or say ‘no’ to something, yet we end up agreeing or saying ‘yes’ instead probably because you don’t want to offend others, make them unhappy, or simply, you don’t want to feel guilty. Now, I do agree that saying No can be difficult however, it is necessary every so often in your personal and professional life. Therefore, I will be discussing the importance of saying ‘No’ and will provide some tips below (can be applied during both physical and virtual interactions) that will help you say No politely and you won’t even feel bad about it. Let us look at the guide on the importance and How to Master the Art of Saying “NO”.

Importance of Saying “No”

1. Self Care

1. You are able to prioritize your own needs and feelings.

2. By saying a simple word such as ‘No’, you understand the importance of prioritizing yourself and knowing what is important to you.

3. Although it may seem selfish, you need to understand that you are the most important person in your life regardless of whether you’re saying No to a close one; this is the most important form of self-care.

2. Helps Set Boundaries

1. If you say Yes constantly while sacrificing your priorities just to please other relationships, it is likely that those people will take you for granted and will feel insulted when you say No because you haven’t set those boundaries earlier.

2. Saying ‘No’ allows for boundaries to be set which will allow you to continue physically and emotionally caring for others without losing yourself throughout the process (MytherapyNYC, n.d.).

3. “When you don’t draw a line between your needs and others’ needs, people will assume that you should give by default” (Celes, n.d.).

4. Saying No is essential to set healthy boundaries and encourage authenticity within personal and professional relationships.

3. Sign of Respect

1. It is said that “Sometimes No is the kindest word” (Vironika Tugaleva).

2. Saying Yes when you really want to say No can lead to subconscious resentment or frustration build-up, which can negatively impact your relationship in the long-run.

3. Hence, saying no when you feel it is not only a sign of respect towards yourself but towards the other as well (MytherapyNYC, n.d.)

4. As you are being honest, this encourages a healthy relationship without any unsolved miscommunication within your relationships (MytherapyNYC, n.d.)

Tips on Art of Saying NO

1. Just Say It 

1. When Saying No, it’s best to be direct and not beat behind the bush

2. You don’t have to offer an explanation but can offer a brief explanation if you want to, however, don’t line them up with any weak excuses as it will allow the other person to come back 

3. Don’t delay or stall your response either; give it a good thought (Follow the 3-step approach below), make a firm decision and stick to it 

2. Be Genuine

1. Usually, we’re afraid of saying ‘No’ because we think that we’ll offend the person or ruin a relationship. However, it is important to understand that those that feel that way will have unhealthy expectations to begin with (Celes, n.d.).

2. Most people will accept and understand your ‘No’ if you’re genuine and sincere with your reply

3. You don’t have to offer an explanation however, a brief one would be appreciated (Alpert, n.d.)

4. You can also add in a compliment to make it sound even politer

  • For example, instead of saying “No, I won’t be able to make it”, you could perhaps say “That sounds like a great event, and would love to be there, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it.” 
  • If you wanted to add a brief explanation, you could further say, “ That sounds like a great event and would love to be there, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it… I have other commitments at the moment that I have to attend to but thanks for the offer!”

3. If not a definite ‘No’, promote the possibility

1. If your answer isn’t a definite ‘No’, you could add in a mentioning of possibility into your phrase

  • For instance, “ I, unfortunately, won’t be able to make it to ….. the event however, please do let me know if other such events come around during the year! I would highly appreciate that”

2. You can also add in “ I’ll let u know if and when I can” – this also allows you to gain power and changes the dynamic by taking control of the request and situation (Alpert, n.d.)

4. Follow this 3-Step Approach by Garis (Helps you understand why you should/shouldn’t be saying No) (Garis, 2019)

1. Check-in with yourself

2. Remove emotion from the situation and ask yourself: “What do I really know to be true here?”

3. If you still feel torn, imagine a scenario in which you’re delivering your decision

You need to understand that if saying ‘No’ and prioritizing your health, needs, and wants first would deem you to be selfish, so be it. You always need to understand your needs, wants, goals, visions, and reject opportunities or offers that can cause you to burn out, reduce productivity, or slow down your ability to accomplish your goals.

Warren Buffet himself says, “ The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”

Also Read: 8 Ways to Say Thank You and Show Appreciation

Shekhaa Hameed
Latest posts by Shekhaa Hameed (see all)
Sharing is Caring

Shekhaa Hameed

An aspiring lawyer and entrepreneur currently pursuing a double major in International Relations and Economics. She has been a guest speaker for the World Tolerance Summit and aims to bring a positive change to society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *