Saying No Politely and Getting Away With Refusing People

Each one of us wants to say no to certain things that come our way during the day. It could be a request from a friend, a colleague, your boss, your children, your parents, your siblings or even your spouse. Sometimes, you just have to say ‘No’.

The problem is, saying no is one of the toughest things, especially when your relationship with the other person is delicate (personal, family or professional). Such situations need to be handled more tactfully, which is why we have written this guide.

If you are concerned about saying no politely, just follow the tips and instructions given below and no one will hate you for saying ‘no’ (hopefully).


  • 1

    Is ‘no’ the only option?

    The first thing you should consider is whether saying ‘no’ is your only option. You might not feel like doing something at the moment, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't want it later on. If you think what you are being asked for is reasonable but you aren't in the mood for it, just say, “Alright, I will think about it”, or “how about I get back to you about this tomorrow?”

    This will give you time to consider the proposal and make up your mind about it. Just remember, saying no to everything isn't wise.

  • 2

    Try honesty first

    Sometimes you don’t have to lie to say no. Before you say anything, consider whether honesty will get the job done. For instance, if you aren’t feeling too well, you can simply say, “Sorry, I am not feeling well and don’t think I can make it today”.

    Likewise, if you are swamped with work, you can say, “I have a lot of work this week and I don’t think I can manage this. Maybe we can plan up something next week.”

    If you have a genuine issue, being honest isn't a bad idea.

  • 3

    Make up an excuse

    If you must say no, the easiest and politest way is to shift the blame from yourself to an external factor. For instance, if you are being asked out for a date, a gathering or to attend an event, you can excuse yourself citing uncontrollable circumstances.

    For instance, you can say, “Oh, I’d love to, but unfortunately I need to stay home because my wife is really ill”. Alternatively, you can say something like, “I would love to come but I have already confirmed a dinner with my parents on this day, maybe another time then.”

  • 4

    Smile and say no

    If you are between friends or family members, you don’t have to use excuses (they don’t work very well either), just smile and say no. Don’t be rude, don’t say it defensively, just say no and smile.

  • 5

    Put it on your parents or your spouse

    This is another effective way to say no without taking any blame. For instance, if your school friends are asking you to come along for a movie you don’t want to see, just say “Sorry guys, my parents are not in a good mood and I don’t think I can make it this time”.

    Likewise, if your colleagues are asking you to go out for dinner, you can say “Sorry guys, my wife/husband has special plans for dinner, I can’t really ruin them”.

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