Learning by Numbers: 20 Ways to Say NO


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Hello Friends,
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[LEFT]Tell me if this sounds familiar – someone asks you to do something that you really don’t want to do or you honestly don’t have time for. It might be a request or an unreasonable request from a friend, a neighbour, a close relative, a familty member, your office colleague or your boss for just working late. But you feel like you will let the other person down if you say “no”. You feel GUILTY already, and you haven’t even responded yet! So you say, “Sure,” even though doing so is going to put you under tremendous stress and PRESSURE. You know that you will probably end up resenting this activity, and maybe even ducking some of your responsibilities because your heart’s just not in it, but you go ahead and agree anyway.

Why are we so afraid to tell people “NO”? For some reason, we have been taught that “no” is DISRESPECTFUL – and even insulting. We seem to value other people’s time more than our own – feeling that we need to bend over backward to accommodate others, even if it inconveniences us. I know we reatoning for the “me”, but let’s be reasonable! “No” is actually one of the healthiest words that can come out of your mouth. When you tell someone “no,” you are really saying that you understand and accept your own LIMITS, and don’t want to do a shoddy job by overwhelming yourself.

That you value your time and priorities and aren’t willing to take away from the truly important things in your life. A little selfishness is necessary, if you want to maintain a balanced and sane life!

“If you do not stand for something - you will fall for anythings or everything.”

So how do you say “NO” without insulting the other person, feeling consumed with guilt, or hurting your own credibility? We need to find a way to say “no” without dragging up all of those HIDDEN FEARS – they’ll think I’m lazy or selfish, that I have no career drive, that I’m not ambitious, that I have no concern for other people. And it’s time to give up all of those roles you’re so proud of – supermom, martyr, hero – but are keeping you from finding true peace. Once you’ve accepted that you have the right (and often responsibility) to turn someone down, you can do it in a way that doesn’t seem like a REJECTION. Let me show you how:

Here are 20 ways to say “NO” without hurting others

1. I CAN’T RIGHT NOW, BUT I CAN DO IT LATER
2. I’M REALLY NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB
3. I JUST DON’T HAVE ANY ROOM IN MY CALENDAR RIGHT NOW
4. I CAN’T, BUT LET ME GIVE YOU THE NAME OF SOMEONE WHO CAN
5. I HAVE ANOTHER COMMITMENT
6. I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF SEVERAL PROJECTS AND CAN’T SPARE THE TIME
7. I’VE HAD A FEW THINGS COME UP AND I NEED TO DEAL WITH THOSE FIRST
8. I WOULD RATHER DECLINE THAN END UP DOING A MEDIOCRE JOB
9. I’M REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON MY PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE RIGHT NOW
10. I’M REALLY FOCUSING MORE ON MY CAREER RIGHT NOW
11. I REALLY DON’T ENJOY THAT KIND OF WORK
12. I CAN’T, BUT I’M HAPPY TO HELP OUT WITH ANOTHER TASK
13. I’VE LEARNED IN THE PAST THAT THIS REALLY ISN’T MY STRONG SUIT
14. I’M SURE YOU WILL DO A WONDERFUL JOB ON YOUR OWN
15. I DON’T HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THAT, SO I CAN’T HELP YOU
16. I’M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THAT
17. I HATE TO SPLIT MY ATTENTION AMONG TOO MANY PROJECTS
18. I’M COMMITTED TO LEAVING SOME TIME FOR MYSELF IN MY SCHEDULE
19. I’M NOT TAKING ON ANY NEW PROJECTS RIGHT NOW
20. Or a simple, straight, direct “NO”

Please share your feedback regarding the same.

Shabbar Suterwala
Corporate Softskills Trainer
B/303, Mandsaur CHS,
Kokani Pada, Kurar Village,
Malad (East), Mumbai 400 097
Ph: +91-22-28423326

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