How to Say No and Stick to It

noNo. It’s a simple word that has a lot of meaning, both to the person who says it and the person it’s being said to. Many people have a difficult time saying no when they should, and because of this often overcommit themselves to people and things they don’t need to. If you are one of the people who has trouble uttering this simple syllable, here are a few strategies you can use to help you say no without feeling bad about it.

Why All the Trouble?

Some people think that saying no makes them a bad person, probably because some people want to make everybody happy. They are the people pleasers of the world, and while there’s no shame in making others happy it shouldn’t come at the cost of your own happiness. Two-year-olds have no trouble saying no, so maybe it’s time to channel your inner 2-year-old in a few common scenarios.


It can be a very awkward thing to be asked for cash by a friend, but it’s usually not the best idea in the world. If you’ve found yourself in this position and find it hard to say no, you can say no without actually using the word. A good response to a friend asking for a loan is to say that as much as you’d like to, you don’t lend money to friends. This should help to alleviate the guilt you might feel because you’re not singling this person out – it’s simply a rule you live your life by without exception. After all, money can cause problems in relationships, so not lending money simply shows how much you value the person who is asking you.


Many people are often asked to do things for which they have no time, but it can be tough to turn down – especially if it’s related to your family. For example, if your child’s school asks you to coordinate their annual bake sale just as they have for the last few years but you don’t have the time, you may feel bad about saying no. But you shouldn’t. Instead, acknowledge to them that you know you may be disappointing them, but you simply don’t have the time. Don’t let anyone manipulate you into doing something you can’t.

Remember, you’ve probably done more than enough for people, which is why you get asked to volunteer for things in the first place, so don’t feel guilty about giving yourself a break.

There are many situations in life that require a big fat no. The trick is to learn how to do it effectively, but you’re never going to get there unless you practice!

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Chilenos by Simon Blackley is licensed under CC BY 4.0

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.