One of the hardest things in life is to say “No.” People don’t like to reject others because they are afraid of not being liked by their colleagues, spouses, customers, partners. But in most cases, you should say “No” if you want to defend your time, goals, and interests. So one of the most crucial skills is to be able to reject others.
In this post, you will find 20 reality-proof ways to say “No.”
1. “I am in the middle of several projects.”
- let people know when you have accepted other responsibilities
- no need to make excuses if you don’t have any free time
- no one will fault you for having already filled your plate
2. “I am not comfortable with that.”
- You might be uncomfortable with any of several issues.
- The people involved, the type of work, the moral implications, etc.
3. “I am not taking on any new responsibilities.”
- You aren’t saying that you will never help out again.
- Just that you feel your schedule is as full as you would like now.
- Understanding your limits is a skill to be mastered.
4. “I am not the most qualified person for the job.”
- If you don’t feel that you have adequate skills, that’s okay.
- It’s better to admit your limitations upfront.
- The best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed down the road.
5. “I do not enjoy that kind of work.”
- Life isn’t about drudgery — if you don’t enjoy it, why do it?
- Don’t be afraid to let someone know you don’t want to do the work.
- Someone else is bound to enjoy the work you don’t want to do.
6. “I do not have any more room in my calendar.”
- Be honest if your schedule is full.
- “Full” doesn’t have to mean “really full.”
- Know when you are “fully booked” and stop taking new responsibilities.
7. “I hate to split my attention among projects.”
- Let people know that you want to do an excellent job for them.
- But you can’t when your focus is too divided or splintered.
- You will be more effective if you focus on one project at a time.
8. “I have another commitment.”
- It doesn’t matter what the commitment is.
- It can even only be time for yourself or with friends or family.
- You don’t have to justify — you are not available.
9. “I have no experience with that.”
- Volunteering shouldn’t mean learning an entirely new set of skills.
- Suggest that they find someone who has experience in that area.
- Offer to help out with something that you already know how to do.
10. “I know you will do a wonderful job yourself.”
- People often ask for help because they doubt their abilities.
- Let them know that you have confidence they will succeed.
- You are doing them a favor in the long run.
11. “I need to focus more on my personal life.”
- Don’t be ashamed of wanting to spend time with your family.
- Having a healthy family relationship is an essential priority.
- Be ready to put your personal needs first.
12. “I need to focus on my career right now.”
- Often, you have to focus your energies on a work-related task.
- You may have to give up some civic or community duties.
- If you don’t do it, someone else will take on the task.
13. “I need to leave some free time for myself.”
- It’s okay to be selfish — in a good way.
- Treat your personal time like any other appointment.
- Block off time in your calendar and guard it carefully.
14. “I would rather decline than do a mediocre job.”
- Know when you aren’t going to be able to deliver a quality product.
- The reason doesn’t matter — not enough time, wrong skills, etc.
- Whatever the reason is, it should be enough for turning a request down.
15. “I would rather help out with another task.”
- Saying no doesn’t mean that you can’t help at all.
- If someone asks you to do something you despise, refuse it.
- Then offer to help with something you find more enjoyable.
16. “Let me hook up with someone who can do it.”
- If you are not available to help out, offer another qualified resource.
- Helping to connect people is a valuable service to offer.
- Make sure the person you refer will represent you well.
- Sometimes it’s okay just to say no.
- Say it in a way that expresses respect and courtesy.
- Leave the door open for good relations.
18. “Not right now, but I can do it later.”
- If you want to help but don’t have time, say so.
- Offer to help at a later time or date.
- If they can’t wait for you, they’ll find someone else.
19. “Some things have come up that need my attention.”
- Unexpected things happen that throw your schedule off.
- Accept that you may need to make a few adjustments.
- It is temporary, and you will have more time when life stabilizes
20. “This is not one of my strengths.”
- It’s okay to admit your limitations.
- Knowing what you can handle and what you can’t is a skill.
- Your time will be more efficiently spent on something you do well.
All of us know that saying “No” is an important thing. Well, now we have at least 20 ways to do it. Hello, dream-life.