How To Say ‘No’ Without Really Saying ‘No’


It never is easy to say no. Whether it be with your boss, with your spouse, child or any person asking for a favor big or small, “no” is one of the hardest words to say. However, saying “yes” could mean that you can get pushed around and kowtow into what other people might make of you.

This only means that you have to be firm. Your presence has to be established and your “no” should mean what it exactly is supposed to mean. Here are some ways to say “no” without breaking hearts and sounding rude while still getting your message straight across.

Start with “What If”

An informative article in Forbes reveals that when one is tempted to respond with “no” right away, that could be because the other person is asking for something impractical or just plain impossible. You then realize that if you pause and takes a deep breath and shift to “What if this was possible?” alternative possibilities can pop up.





This can be easily countered by opening one’s options and questioning preconceived assumptions so that new ways to make things happen could reveal themselves.

“I Know You’re Like This, But It Is Not Good”

While some parents might easily dismiss their kids for being spoiled, it is not healthy to tell them “no” right away. Young children have a lot to learn and, with this, parents have to take a warm but firm approach in establishing with children that “no” means “no.”

A report on reveals that David Walsh, author of “No: Why Kids of all Ages Need to Heat It and Ways Parents Can Say It,” says that when children throw food tantrums, parents can deny these requests by offering healthier alternatives, such as fruits or yogurt. By doing this, a parent should also avoid the promise of giving in next time.

“Help Me Prioritize”

There will come a time when your boss will overload you with work. While “no” could be the most straightforward response, this could make your boss question your capabilities and capacity to do the tasks that you are supposed to do.

This is an opportunity to show and not to tell. You can respond to your boss by saying “maybe you can help me prioritize my project list?” This can be followed by laying out what you are currently working on, how long it has been taking you, and the steps that you would have to take to finish your load.

What is great about this is that while demonstrating what you have, your boss will have the opportunity to weigh in on what really matters. The additional load could be passed off or held for another time.


More often than not, the person worth saying “no” to would actually be willing to reduce or modify the request accordingly so you can adjust. For example, if your boss asks you to work on a project that you know would not be possible in a given timeframe, you would be tempted immediately to say “I do not see how I can do that” or something similar. This is not the best approach.

You should try to negotiate first. You can ask if the additional load is a higher priority that the first, or if deadlines could be adjusted to give way to some things.

Be True to Yourself

First, you have to deal with the feeling of guilt that you sometimes get when you say “no.” In reality, a person feels guilty after saying “no” when he or she does not have a firm grasp on their priorities or convictions.

Sometimes, there is no better way than to stick to your convictions but just go ahead and say it. If you are truly committed to spending evenings with your family, then you just have to say “no” when asked to meet at night. You have to keep track of the promises and the goals that you keep to yourself — and not being able to say “no” could get in the way. In saying “no,” you need the fortitude of a Navy Seal and you have to be firm on your decisions.

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