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How do you say No

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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 true especially when 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 the reasons behind it. Some of the common reasons are –

How do you say No

  1. You may be a kind person 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 don’t want to say it.
  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.


So how do you learn to say it?

To begin with, you must understand that the above mentioned statements are not actual reasons but misconceptions in your own mind. 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 mastering the art:


  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.


  1. 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.

  1. 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 the task 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.


  1. 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 May be instead of a straight No and will give you a chance to think about if you really want to do it.


  1. 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.


  1. I am sorry but I am not the right person for this job. Why don’t you check with “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.


  1. I cannot do this

Though, it is the most direct, 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 realize that the barriers in our minds have been created by us and are a figment of our own minds.


So, next time you have to say “No”, just say it .or use any of the above sentences. And say it in as simple a way as possible. And you will see for yourself how easy it actually is to say “No”.


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By Rohit Manglik

Rohit Manglik, the Founder-cum-CEO of EduGorilla Community and an Edupreneur by h...more

Rohit Manglik, the Founder-cum-CEO of EduGorilla Community and an Edupreneur by his nature, crafts articles for the spheres of technology and education. Rohit nurtures a longing to metamorphose India's conventional backdrop of education to be at par with the one availing Machine Learning, AI & VR. less

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Mohammed Azran

Feb 27, 2013

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.

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Preetham Delampady

Feb 27, 2013

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

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Mithun B

Mar 01, 2013

"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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