It’s Not Them, It’s You: 5 Effective Ways to Say No

It’s Not Them, It’s You: 5 Effective Ways to Say No



Raise your hand if you can’t say no without feeling guilty. Well here’s the thing, if you want to be successful, you have to realize this: nearly every time you say yes to someone’s request, you’re saying no to yourself.

From not reaching your goals to wasting precious time that you can’t get back, there’s a high price to pay for taking the business of you off of your to-do list.

Whether you’re struggling to say “no” to your friends and family or your boss who’s adding more work on your plate, here are a few ways to soften the ‘No.’

Boss and Co-Workers


  • Talk to your manager about your schedule and tasks and ask their opinion about prioritizing. You’d be surprised; sometimes managers don’t have a full picture of your workload. 
    • For instance, if your boss is piling more work on your plate, you may say: “I’m happy to do A, B, and C; however, I have X, Y, and Z, on my plate, which would jeopardize the work being completed on schedule and put me into overtime. How would you like me to prioritize these things? I’m not complaining but I really want to make sure we stay on budget and schedule.
  • Suggest someone else or offer an alternative solution. 
    • “I won’t be able to complete this work for another two weeks. Can I suggest someone else? Or would you like to wait for me to handle it?”

Family and Friends


  • Postpone an answer or request details before you commit. 
    • “I’m in the middle of a big project right now. Can I get back to you in a few days…?”
    • I really want to dedicate more time to help you, let me call you back at 4:45 pm.
  • Say thanks and give a brief explanation.
    • “Sounds exciting and thanks for thinking of me, but I already have an event this weekend.”