20 ways-to-say-no

We’ve all been there – finding ourselves saying Yes and regret it later wishing we’d just said No!

Do you sometimes find it difficult to say “no”? Do you say Yes just to be nice but really don’t want to? Well, you’re not alone. I used to find it hard too because I wanted to please everyone and just be nice. Well, I’m a “Say No” sistah these days and loving it! 

Why We Find It Hard To Say “No”

It’s only a little two letter word right? Okay, say it with me aloud – No. I didn’t hear you. Say it loud – NO!

Feels good doesn’t it 🙂

But you don’t say it aloud as often as you probably should. Why?

Celestine Chua of The Personal Excellence Blog offers the following reasons as to why people find it hard to say no:

  • You want to help. You are a kind soul at heart. You don’t want to turn the person away and you want to help where possible, even if it may eat into your time.
  • Afraid of being rude. I was brought up under the notion that saying “No”, especially to people who are more senior, is rude. This thinking is common in Asia culture (Editor’s note: this is common in a lot of cultures too), where face-saving is important. Face-saving means not making others look bad (a.k.a losing face).
  • Wanting to be agreeable. You don’t want to alienate yourself from the group because you’re not in agreement. So you conform to others’ requests.
  • Fear of conflict. You are afraid the person might be angry if you reject him/her. This might lead to an ugly confrontation. Even if there isn’t, there might be dissent created which might lead to negative consequences in the future.
  • Fear of lost opportunities. Perhaps you are worried saying no means closing doors. For example, a wife of one of my clients was asked to transfer to another department in her company. Since she liked her team, she didn’t want to shift. However, she didn’t want to say no as she felt it would affect her promotion opportunities in the future.
  • Not burning bridges. Some people take “no” as a sign of rejection. It might lead to bridges being burned and relationships severed.

Say No Cheat Sheet

To combat the above resistance issues we have with saying no, here’s a cheat sheet of 20 ways to say no, which will help you understand not just why to say no, but how. Enjoy!


Tip Sheet provided by OnlineOrganizing.com — offering “a world of organizing solutions!” Visit www.onlineorganizing.com for organizing products, free tips, a speakers bureau, get a referral for a Professional Organizer near you, or get some help starting and running your own organizing business.

Your turn…

How do you say no? Let me know in the comments below!

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Wassuper, it’s yo girl, Kesha and I believe we should Be the Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios because life is more interesting when you dare to be different and challenge what’s “normal!” I am wildly passionate about helping highly driven women pursue fantabulous relationships, juicytastic careers/bizzes, and authentically inspired lives. Let’s rethink, redo, and reinvent YOU so you can live life YOUR way!
20 Ways to Say No Once and For All
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  • I call this “The Joy of Saying No” and I’m good at it. Whenever I find myself slipping I regroup and find my JOSN again. LOL!

    • I like that – JOSN…I’m gonna have to use that!

      I used to feel guilty especially when it came to some of the elders in my family, like my mom. But now I say no with the quickness to the point where I think I have people trained on what NOT to ask me 🙂


  • I’m a bit of a sucker and struggle to say not, but I am interested in your post and I love the cheat sheet which I will devour with pleasure. TFS First time visitor.

    • Hey Chris!!! Glad you stopped through!

      We all have been “suckers” at some point, but you know what, this cheat sheet is yours to pocket so you can start saying no more often!

      Let me know how it works out for you going forward. I’m gonna put you on a “Just Say NO” diet where you have to say no at least 3 times a week. That should help get you in the habit 😉 LOL


  • I guess being 58 comes with perks. I am no longer afraid I will offend, I don’t need to be agreeable and I don’t fear conflict. But, I do always want to help. I’ve just realized these past few years that there is only so much of me to go around, and more importantly, I need to keep some for myself. So..’no’ is an often used word and very much part of my vocab. You know that a ‘no’ is coming if I begin to say “I’d love to be there for you but ….”. And that’s all she wrote! Thanks Kesha, great post!

  • Guuuuurl, This was the jump off right here!! Fortunately, I’ve managed to put the word NO on speed dial! Whenever the need arises it rolls off my tongue like a second language. Sometimes Kesha, it scares me how fast I can say it! 😀 Loved the post though Chica! 🙂

    • *smiles* Thanks Deeone! That’s was a good one (put the word NO on speed dial). I’m telling you man, it has to be that way sometimes – if not for anything but our own sanity! So glad you loved this one and hope to see you back soon!


  • I’m a people pleaser by nature so it does suck when saying no to people. To be 100% honest I simply just say “no thank you” if I feel that something is going to:

    A) harm my family
    B) harm myself; or
    C) if it just doesn’t feel right.

    Sometimes no’s are a necessary evil. I don’t say no in a rude way, but if I’m not interested I try to be as respectful as possible and just say “no”.

    If the person receiving the no can’t handle it (especially saying no respectfully), that’s there problem.

    Good post Kesha

    • You hit the nail on the head with “that’s their problem” Jeremy. Because guess what, when they say no, it’s all good. But let someone say not to them and they have a problem.

      I understand that sometimes you do just want to help others but at what cost? Honestly, this post was spawned because I used to have a problem saying no to certain family members. Now I say no to them with the quickness so much so that now they barely ask me for anything (which is how I want it! ha ha, Jedi mind tricks worked!) 🙂

      I appreciate your comment and hope to see you back on the blog soon!


  • Whoa… now that is a cheat sheet Kesha! Lots of great points too. I think too many of us take the ‘word’ NO as a negative. If more folks could really see that no is not necessarily the final word, then we wouldn’t beat ourselves up, and take more initiative to be open with each other.

    After all, Colonel Sanders heard 1000 no’s before someone finally said yes. If he took the first ‘no’ in a negative way, he would have never been successful with his yummy friend chicken. Maybe not the best example, but hopefuly there is a point.

    • Definitely a point well taken (though now I’m hungry!) LOL

      You are absolutely correct – if we all understood AND respected the word No, we’d all be in a better place – no guilt, no hard feelings, etc. It starts with us though right? 🙂

      I’m glad you had a chance to visit my new blog Lynn! Hope to see you back soon 🙂


  • Kris Henderson

    We all have a tendency to want everyone to like us, and I think being agreeable or saying yes to things makes us feel “included” “noticed” or “liked.” However….as I have “matured” through the years (ha) I’ve noticed my attitude has shifted and I’m okay with being up front and just saying NO if – whatever is being requested of me – doesn’t fit for me.

    • Kris, it’s always maturity and age that helps us come into who we really are right?! I’m just hoping that more people learn this while they’re young to avoid stress and pain early on! 🙂

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