Just say no!
Personal Development

How To Say No Without Breaking A Sweat

Are there times when you really want to say no but you just cannot? Or your friend has invited you somewhere but you really wanted to rest on that day, instead of declining the offer, you said yes? Yeah, I too have had such times. Why is it that we find it hard to say no? Is it really that hard? Let’s find out.

As most of us grew up, we did not have the opportunity to have an opinion. Our parents would decide everything for us and it was compulsory that it be done. This denied us the chance to learn to make decisions for ourselves and by default, we lost the power to say no.

Saying no has also been associated with negativity but believe it or not, it is necessary to sometimes say no. It does not mean you don’t have time for somebody or you don’t appreciate them or you don’t love. Remember that you also have a life and some things are not necessary in your life and that is why you have to say no.

Before we learn how to say no, we first need to identify why. More often than not, how we perceive saying no is what prevents us from saying it. On the contrary, there are more benefits when you say no than when you are always saying yes.

Our visions are the world we imagine, the tangible results of what the world would look like if we spent every day in pursuit of our WHY.

Simon Sinek

Why is it a necessity to say no?

Saying no

This is what you gain by being able to say no. It somehow happens in this order: you gain confidence, you start to appreciate yourself, people respect you and you attach value to yourself.


When you continually practice saying no, you begin to believe in yourself and what you stand for. This is because you trust your decisions and you will be proud of the outcome. An example is if you say no to buying fast food, you will become healthier. In the end result, you could lose a few pounds and therefore, you will attach the good feeling to that decision. 

This is the beginning of trusting your opinions and your decisions. You begin to believe in yourself and that is where confidence is born.

Appreciating Yourself

The ability to say no to things that are not of value to your life helps you to appreciate yourself. You know what you stand for. It gives you the skill to accept what is of most value and reject what you don’t value without feeling bad. This is appreciating yourself.

Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.

Maxwell Maltz


When you appreciate yourself, others will also appreciate you. People naturally respect those who have an opinion. If you are always saying yes then you are not adding value to yourself or any other person. In fact, it is considered you are ‘cheap’. By saying no, you are telling others that you have an opinion which should be respected.

Giving Yourself Value

It is easy to decline offers when you have given yourself value. By saying no,  you indicate that you have values and you are worth more. For example, when you refuse to go out with friends (for the simple reason that you have an early day the next day), you’re simply giving yourself value because going out can be done another day but the commitments set for the next day are more important.

With time, your friends will be able to clearly draw a line between the things you value and what you don’t. If they are good friends, they will not reject you, they will understand you and appreciate you. You can always reschedule going out or opt for lunch.

I find it easier to start a habit after I have identified why I need to start the habit. Let me know in the comments if you share the same opinion.

Just say it. Learn to say no.
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The How

Saying no has never been hard. If it is hard, it is because you have made it hard. Now that you know the benefits of saying no, it will be easier to say no. In life, we are faced with millions of choices. By making a decision, we are saying no to another choice. This is how to say no without breaking a sweat.

1. Honesty is key

To be able to say no, you need to be honest with yourself and the person you are saying no to. Why exactly are you declining an offer or saying no. We do not just say no because we want or feel like. There is a real reason. Evaluate that reason and make sure it is the best decision you can make.

No legacy is so rich as honesty. 

William Shakespeare

To decline attending an event, lunch or dinner, is not bad if you have other more important plans. Ensure you address that with whoever invited you. Do not just say no. Try and explain why. Something like this: “I will not make it to come because I have an urgent and important meeting. Thank you for the invitation. I will make an effort to meet you soon.”

Please make the effort to appreciate whoever invited you and pay him/her a visit. Catch up with what happened and share in their joy. This is the beauty of honesty. 

Nevertheless, there are some situations where it would be better to just say, “No, thank you!”. Just make sure not to lie. 

2. Choose your words

Being told no is painful. Just imagine inviting people to your event and all they say is ‘No, thanks!’. It makes you so sad. That is why it is important to choose your words right. 

If you are talking to somebody close to you (family, colleague etc.), you don’t want to ruin your relationship. Before you reject an offer, you could ask whether it can be rescheduled. If nothing can be done about it, then you can politely inform the person that you cannot make it and provide a brief explanation as to why. 

To note, tell the person as early as possible. Don’t wait till the last minute to bail out. This means that you should have scheduled important events early enough so as to avoid disappointing your friends.

3. Have your priorities set right

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Priorities are very important especially when making a choice. This is because you have to say yes to something and no to the other option. You cannot have it all. If your priorities are set right, you value time with your self, you make time for family and friends, then it is not hard to say no.

Ensuring that you have set appropriate time allocations for the people that matter gives you the power to say no. Imagine that you spend time with your friends and out of the blues you are called for a random event. You are sure you cannot make it and there is nothing you can do. You will not feel guilty saying no because you know that either way you do your best to spend time with them.

You could also be given a job offer but upon looking at it, it goes against what you believe in. What do you do? Accept because they are paying you well? Or you realize that the job is consuming your family time yet family means a lot to you. Priorities!

4. Your mindset matters

What do you really think about saying no? Would you rather somebody tells you early enough that they won’t make it than lie to you and bail out? What do you feel when somebody tells you no?

First of all, it is normal to feel sad and rejected when told no. But you have to remember that people have other commitments too. Saying yes or no has nothing to do with the love that a person has for you. Do not take it as rejection instead learn to accept and express your feelings.  Something like: “It would have meant a lot if you came. I understand you cannot make it. Tell me when you are available so that we catch up. If anything changes let me know because I would be glad to have you here.”.

All the same, you cannot always say no. If that is the case, there is a problem that you need to identify.

5. You are not being forced

You are not being compelled to accept anything. Nothing is a must. That is why you are being asked. If you are being commanded, you have the choice to obey or disobey. Both choices have consequences that you should evaluate.

Saying yes or no is highly dependent on the situation you are in. Sometimes we are desperate other times we are too proud and full of ourselves. Whenever you say no, always remember this and make sure your ‘no’ is justified.


To say no does not equal rejection. Likewise, you should not feel rejected when people say no to your requests. Saying no opens you up to many risks. You might lose friends especially if you were used to saying yes always. That should not worry you because it means they were not true friends. 

As you gain more confidence, genuine friends will join you. The only constant in life is change.

Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how you use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.

Anna Taylor


I hope with that you can now confidently say no to anybody. It does not have to be hard. Remember, always be honest, be mindful of the other’s feeling and take initiative to show the other party you are willing to make it happen but at a later time. 

Let me know what you think in the comments. Was it successful? Are you more confident? Do you ever have to worry about saying no? I will be glad to hear from you.


Reina Janet is a young talented writer and the founder of El Mieles. She believes in making the world the best place for you by inspiring you with her creative writing and personal stories that help you to love life and also solve day to day challenges. Get to know her more.

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