How To Say No Politely Without Feeling Guilty: 10 Smart Strategies

This article has everything you need to know about how to say no politely.

You have the right to say no. There are many reasons why we should sometimes say no and so many reasons why we do not and do not. Here are some steps to understand why it is difficult to say no and how to learn to say no without a problem.

How To Say No Politely:

1. Know when to say no.

Two-year-olds are known to say not without stopping because they have just realized that this is possible and that the opportunities for independence that follow are fun and exciting. Two-year-olds are also known to be selfish and stunned. However, they tell us something: we can say no. What makes adult use of the no different is that we can learn when it is appropriate to use it.

Saying no because you simply do not want to do something is not very serious, as long as what you are asked will not affect your results at work or school. You may very well want to have more free time instead. You can also say no because you do not have the time to commit yourself to doing something. The others often do not realize that making such a commitment would be very difficult for you because of your overworked schedule, other people know this and only ask you if, although they know that you will surely refuse.

You may say no to avoid a situation that makes you uncomfortable. You do not have to get out of your comfort zone to accommodate someone else’s wishes (except perhaps as a soldier who obeys orders).

2. Learn why it’s hard to say no.

There are many reasons why a person might have a hard time saying no to others, but the common thread of these reasons is concern. Anxious about what will happen if you say no. It is normal to worry about the decisions you make, but you have to understand two things: first, worrying will not change anything that will happen after you have made your choice; Secondly, the concern should not prevent you from acting in your best interest.

Whatever the reason you are afraid to say no, it emerges from your worry about what will happen afterwards. Will people still appreciate you? Are you going to miss an important opportunity? Are you lazy, insensitive or incompetent? Realize that you cannot say no by worry, then accept that worry never leads to anything, no matter what the outcome of your actions.

3. Accept your power and importance.

As a puzzle piece, you are a vital part of your entourage, it would be incomplete without you. This is valid as you go out constantly with your friends or stay hidden at home all day. The fact is that, whoever you are, your presence in the social landscape is valid. In addition, the decisions you make affect your surroundings. This means that you and others must make honest decisions, for the good of all, that people realize that your decision is beneficial or not.

Worrying about what happens when you say no is the symptom of a deeper problem: worrying about the power you exert over the people around you. Realize that you hold that power no matter what you do or say.

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4. Accept that it is the same for the others.

Although people vary in their personalities, opinions and attitudes, one thing we have in common is our presence in our social environment. It is an intrinsic fact to life in human society. From there, controlling and channeling your own presence in a way that makes you happy is then the only sensible choice existing. It is not as if you had a great and terrific reserve of influence that nobody else has: by saying no, you are exercising only a power that everyone has. The way people react to your decision is their problem, not yours.

You are absolutely right to set limits. After all, your friends do it and people still appreciate it. In fact, letting know and even imposing, what you want will not make you someone hated or despised. The only thing that could have this effect is to openly treat others as if you were inferior. To say no is not an expression of superiority, it is an expression of mutual respect.

5. Understand that no is not cruel.

In itself, saying no is not badly high, wicked or insensitive. We attach these qualifications to the “no” when it is said in a nasty or rude way. There is no reason why you cannot decline firmly while remaining amiable and polite. Because of this, you do not have to fear being judged badly (1) because you say no, as long as you are vigilant to the way you say it.

In other words, once you understand that you have the right to say no, you simply need to learn to say it politely.

6. Excuse yourself honestly.

The most basic way to say no without spoiling someone’s day is to say no clearly and firmly and briefly explain the reason for your refusal. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to lie or invent an excuse if you think your reason is not sufficient. Know that everyone has felt what you are feeling. If you do not want to accept a query, you do not need any additional reason. You do not have to present a specific, concrete or logical reason.

For example, if someone invites you to go out in love and you are not interested, the best thing to do is simply say “no, I’m sorry, you do not like me that way.” This is all that this person needs to know to understand that she will not have any luck afterwards. No need to invent an excuse that will let this person hope, nor need to be insulting or wicked.

If your honest reason seems stupid or practically non-existent, for example “I really wanted to go home and take a nap”, “I do not feel like it”, the other person will understand it perfectly. As long as you are polite, that’s all you need to explain.

This is the technique you should try to use most often. Your honesty and uprightness will actually improve your reputation, instead of hurting it. If you’ve been struggling in the past to say no to the pressure of your friends, you will be impressed how much people are actually not bothered by the fact that you simply refuse to do anything with them because you ‘Do not feel like it.

SEE ALSO: How To Not Care What Others Think About You: The Ultimate Guide

7. Make a counter-proposal.

Sometimes you have to say no for your own good, but that does not mean you are selfish. For example, let’s say you work all weekend, but a friend asks you to help her move into a new apartment on Saturday. If you would like to participate, but you cannot, suggest an alternative to which you can participate. Offer to spend less time helping or helping for something similar when you have time, for example installing your kitchen or unpacking boxes.

These two counter-proposals are an undertaking in a different form. Use this when you really do not want to refuse, but you have to do it for reasons beyond your control. This is also handy when you want to say no, but do not necessarily want to reject the whole proposal.

8. Suggest to try later.

In situations where one is trying to sell you objects or services, it is important to know how to manage your money and your time without being badly polished with the seller. Be clear and firm by saying no, but also promise to consider the offer. It could be a little lie, but it will not hurt anyone.

For example, to say no to a salesperson, tell him that “the offer is not what you are looking for” or “you do not need it now, but you will remember his brand if you Need in the future ‘. This is not an honest way of saying no when you are in a position of strength and you are being asked to make a decision (for example, an employer who is asked to hire someone or someone to whom a gallant appointment is proposed).

In these situations, it is best to use the basic technique and be completely honest, as described above. It is cruel to give false hopes to someone who places much hope in your decision.

9. Be humble.

If someone wants you to take more responsibility than you want to take, be humble. Strongly refuse the request and explain that you simply do not think you are the right person to accomplish these tasks. You could then honestly present your apologies or continue to support the idea that you are not competent or qualified to accept this request. The method you choose will depend on what you are asked for and your reputation for accomplishing certain tasks.

If you simply do not want to take on more responsibilities, simply explain this honest reason.

If the proposal seems interesting to you, but you do not think you will be able to answer it correctly, concentrate on explaining your lack of qualifications. Do not be too hard on yourself, you should not feel unnecessary simply because you lack skills in a certain area.

10. Confront problematic queries with firmness.

It is better to be civil and polite, but sometimes, no matter what you do, people do not respect your benevolence (2). If someone constantly tries to invalidate your honest apology and asks you to explain when you have nothing more to add, it’s time to kick your foot. The next time this person asks you to do something you do not want to do, say no, I cannot or no, I do not want to. No need to add anything. When the person asks you to explain, ask her what part of the word not she does not understand.

This method will certainly have the consequence of enervating the person, however in the rare cases where you have to resort to it, it is that the person deserves greatly to be put in front of his behavior, for refusing to let you say not politely previously. It is not easy to be as firm, but sometimes it is necessary for your own good.

That the person is angry with you does not mean you will no longer be friends at all. However, use this technique only if the person seems to understand nothing else.


  • Be positive and kind when you say no. It is not very hard to do and this will ensure people that you do not say no because you have a problem with them as a person.
  • If you find yourself in a situation where it would be physically dangerous to say no, move away and seek the help of a competent authority as soon as possible. Use your common sense to be safe from physical attacks but jump on the opportunity as soon as you have a chance to get yourself helped. No matter who you are, there will always be someone who can protect you and help you be safe: friends, family, police, shelters, the list is long. Know their appeal.
Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here