25 Ways to Say No
You can find a lot of power when you can say an honest no. Because an honest no to someone else is a yes to you. Have you ever looked at it that way?
Saying NO is hard for people. You can get so caught up worrying about hurting someone’s feelings or anticipating their reactions, that you compromise yourself over and over again.
Does this sound familiar to you?
When you have a good relationship with someone, you’re allowed to say no, yes, or whatever you want to say. If you aren’t in an honest relationship you may find yourself hesitating to say no.
When that happens, it’s a clear indication that you’re actually in their business… as Byron Katie says there are three types of business… mine, yours, and Gods and if you’re in anyone else’s business but your own, there’s going to be pain and suffering.
How can you tell if you’re in someone else’s business? Well, you find yourself worrying about how to answer their questions, and maybe you’re afraid to say how you feel because you’re worried about hurting their feelings and having them be angry or disappointed in you.
We’ve all been there, I think, and my question to you is… does that feel good to do that? I know for me, it doesn’t and relationships like this are not healthy. (If this sounds familiar to you, consider getting some help or doing a session or two of The Work of byron Katie with me so you can find peace and clarity, which is what you deserve).
How many times have you gone along with something that was not a YES for you just to keep the peace or keep a friend or family member happy?
You’re not really keeping the peace! And the peace I’m referring to is your own. I’d also say you’re being a dishonest friend or family member.
Saying an honest no (or yes) ultimately means being TRUE TO YOU without worrying about what the other person may think or how they might respond. It’s about saying what’s true for you in any given moment. And, it’s about knowing that it’s okay to change your mind. It might be a no for you right now, but tomorrow it could be a yes and that’s okay. Humans change their minds.
What’s important to know is that saying NO doesn’t mean you don’t care about or love someone, it’s that you care about putting your own feelings first and respecting yourself and your feelings.
When you say an honest NO, it is an honest YES to you and also the person you are saying no to is being given the gift of hearing from the authentic you, and that’s powerful and ensures that you’re building a true and trusting relationship with the other person.
As you can hear, being able to honestly say no or yes serves everyone. And, if you’re around someone who doesn’t accept your honest answer or makes you overly justify your answers, you might want to consider whether or not you want to continue hanging out with someone who doesn’t respect your true answers and true self.
To help you learn how to say no easier, here’s a list of 25 ways to honestly and easily say a true and solid no.
This list was inspired by my training with Byron Katie who is very clear on her how to say no or yes. I hope it helps you and if this is something you’re struggling with, please let me know, I’m more than happy to help you find your honest no by facilitating you through a session of The Work of Byron Katie, which can blow your mind.
- No. (Guess what? No is a complete sentence! You can just say no and nothing more and that is completely okay! You don’t have to justify, explain or god forbid, apologize for this answer! Or any of the following answers!)
- Thank you for asking, and my answer is no.
- I hear what you’re saying, and my answer is no.
- I understand, and no.
- I appreciate what I’m hearing, and my answer is no.
- I hear you; you could be right, and no.
- You’re right, and this is no for me.
- I hear you. I care about you, and my answer is no.
- I understand and no. What else do you suggest?
- Thank you for sharing that with me, and my answer is no.
- I want to please you, and I’m saying no.
- Saying no to you is scary for me so please honor and support me on this, and the answer is no for now.
Notice how all of these statements include the word AND, not but…why is that?
Because AND is a word of connection (literally) and BUT is a word of disconnection… the energy of AND is inclusive and nonthreatening, the energy of BUT is like putting your hand in someone’s face and saying stop.
They are very different words energetically and it’s very important to use AND when saying no, it’s much less in your face and calmer than the word, BUT… and I’m sure you can hear the difference in these two statements: thank you for asking AND no or thank you for asking BUT no.
Can you hear and feel the energetic difference?
I suggest you work hard on making AND your default in your speech over the word BUT and see what happens when you do that.
Now on to the rest of the list.
13. I’m confused right now, and until I get clear, my answer is no.
14. I don’t know yet. Please ask me later.
15. No, and I need your help and support on this.
16. I wish I could say yes and this is a no.
17. I love you, and no.
18. I love you and support your choices and my answer is no.
19. I know you want me to say yes and I have to be honest with you, this is a no for me.
20. I don’t feel this is a yes, and so my answer is no.
21. I must trust myself on this, and no.
22. I understand it’s important to you, and no.
23. What you’re saying makes sense, and my answer is no.
24. It doesn’t work for me, so no.
25. I can hear how passionate you are about this and, my answer is no.
Notice how none of these options makes excuses or apologizes. “I’m sorry, and no.” is NOT one of the recommendations. There is no need to ever be sorry about saying your honest NO… an honest NO is a celebration of you and what you stand for and believe. No apologies or explanations are required.
I suggest getting together with a friend to practice saying no if it’s something you have a hard time doing without feeling guilty or overexplaining your decision. Ask each other hard questions and practice saying no firmly, honestly, and with confidence and conviction. I know you do this.
How easy is it for you to say no and what other ways can you think of to say No? Feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram or Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions, comments, or questions.
And, if you need help learning how to say no, let me know, I can help you with that. Download a PDF of this article here.