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Mindset StrategiesSelf Care

How to say no (the pain-free way)

By August 30, 20188 Comments

Hey champ,

If you’re following my letters pretty closely, you’ll know that last week I talked about saying no – and why we need to say it more!

I also shared a strategy that can help you figure out what commitments and events to say no to.

So, now we know what we should be saying ‘no’ to #notevenatonguetwister ?

And today’s letter is going to cover how to say no. Because it can be a really uncomfortable thing to do. No one wants to let other people down.

But saying no is a positive thing! I mean, think about it. It’s no good saying yes to projects, commitments or events that will overstretch you, limit the time you have to work on your own important goals, or stop you from doing the things you enjoy and are important to you.

‘No’ is not a dirty word. Tweet it!

And saying no doesn’t have to be a painful experience! It can be done in a kind and quick way. Here are my tips for getting it done:

  1. Don’t dally.
    Don’t put off the inevitable. If you know you can’t commit to something, say it straight away. Don’t confuse things by saying “I’ll check”, “Maybe I could make it work” or “I’ll think about it” etc etc. That only delays your eventual no, and makes things harder for the person asking in the long run. Be brief, respond promptly and don’t delay the inevitable.

  2. Don’t lie.
    I know, it’s so tempting to soften your “No” with a little white lie, isn’t it? But lying can get you in some tricky situations in future. If there’s a reason why you have to say no that you’re not comfortable sharing – don’t make up a reason, just don’t give one!

  3. Don’t apologise.
    This one’s simple. You don’t need to apologise.
  4. If suitable, offer an alternative.
    If there’s a time in the future you could commit to, or someone or something else to offer instead – tell them!

To help you out even more, below are some word-for-word examples* you can use next time you need to say “No”.
*Some of these are based on examples in Marie Forleo’s excellent guide to saying no, which has really helped me! Marie’s got lots of other scripts to follow if you’re interested in seeing more.

To people who want to just catch up for a quick coffee to ‘pick your brain’ or ‘chat’:
Hi there! I’m under the pump at the moment so I can’t catch up for a coffee. Are you interested in becoming a client, or did you just have a quick question?

When you get asked to do things that are outside your strength zones:
Sounds like you’ve got something awesome planned, however it’s not my area of expertise. I’ve listed some referrals for you below though. I hope they can be of help:

If it’s just a no…
Thanks for thinking of me, I’ll have to pass on this though!

Can you see the common trends in those examples? No apologies, no lies and some offered alternatives when suitable.

Now I want to hear from you:

  1. Is there a time that saying no has led you to a better opportunity?

  2. What are some ways you have said no, kindly and quickly, in the past?

?Let me know your answers, in the comments below?

We can create a whole bank of our own “No” tips!

Until next week,
Turia xx


  • Saying no to someone is difficult for me and I tend to explain why I am unable to commit.

    There was a particular incident where a friend asked me to go to a theater talk and I just found on previous occasions I found them so boring in which the last one I went to I was falling asleep. I then decided that I would go again.

    My friend then asked me another time and I said I was not able to attend, although would you like to catch up for lunch next week. She declined though as she was busy. I felt good about saying ‘no’ at that time.

    I do find it difficult with my family though and tend to over extend myself and try and do what they ask. It’s an area I am working on.

  • jo says:

    I am currently on a 7month contract at work, it’s a really demanding job and I wanted a change once the contract finished. My boss asked if I wanted to become permanent, and as hard and uncomfortable as it was to say no, I gave her a direct honest answer. She was really understanding and it feels great knowing I did what I needed to do to feel happy as opposed to what is easy!

  • Sarah Wallace says:

    I find it really hard to say no as I have had no said to me so much in my past. Therefore I always try to help where I can. however your statements are really useful, esp thanks for thinking of me but I will have to pass on this though! I am having coaching at the moment and it is helping a lot

  • Linda says:

    I always find it easier to say no with a smile on my face!! (Along with all the other good strategies you mentioned..)

  • Olivia says:

    There are many a times, I finds myself in a better position when saying NO. It really helps me being stress free by responding to planty things one at a time.
    I usually say NO In a polite way that cannot hurt whoever ask me.

  • Zelma says:

    No! Saying no to people is as easy as abc to me. I’ve always been a straight forward person. It might hurt a client if you decide to postpone a meeting or your hubby if you couldn’t keep up with his demands, but the most important thing here was been able to rescue yourself from the awkward situation by being true to yourself and others. there’s a feeling that comes with honesty. i’d rather be honest than lie.