How To Say No

How to say no without feeling guilty


Just Say No!

It is something every individual needs to be able to say to anything that threatens their safety, dignity, integrity, boundaries and energy.


No is the key word for order and discipline. Where would the world be without NO’s ?  “No” sets rules and laws for society so it’s really important to embrace the concept of saying no. It’s not so easy for people to say no.  It’s a communication skill worth learning. It will strengthen your relationships and friendships. It will build your self esteem and confidence too.


People are scared to say no because they fear being judged. The truth is you’re judged all the time. People judge each other. It’s not nice but it happens.  The good thing is, most of the time you’re unaware of it. So, you know being judged doesn’t kill you!


If you overdo the NO’s, you can be perceived as being aggressive or unfriendly. If you don’t say no enough you can be considered as weak. So, no matter which way you go there’s still some judgment so the best thing to do is – let it go. It comes down to your intention when you say no.


When you say No it defines your:

  • Identity
  • Moral Standards
  • Values
  • Boundaries


This is what makes you unique.  There is a difference in saying no and saying a Positive No.  The difference is intention and integrity. If your intention is to take care of you that’s good. If you’re intention is to say no because you can and you don’t care, you still have a right to say no but you can’t expect to feel good after it.


Before Saying Yes Or No Ask Yourself These Questions:


1. Do I want to do this?
2. How does it impact me?
3. What does it cost me financially, mentally, emotionally, physically
4. How does it sit with me to say yes ?
5. How does it sit with me to say no ?


How Other People Say No: 


The Aggressive Personality

The Aggressive person will say “No way, it’s not going to happen.” They’re thinking about themselves first and foremost. They will not hesitate to make the person who’s asking feel bad.  To be honest most people won’t ask anything from an Aggressive person because they will feel intimated from the start.


The Passive – Aggressive Personality

The Passive Aggressive person will say yes and then chuck the shits over it. They’ll will deliberately be a few minutes late for the event and will complain they don’t feel well or they’ll have something to whinge about. They need to whinge so you know they are not happy but they won’t directly come out and say, “I didn’t want to say yes.” They want you to figure it out so you won’t ask them again. But it’s a useless mind-game and no one else gets the silent message.


The Passive Personality

The Passive person will say yes every time. Even if saying yes means it’s inconvenient or it will cost them money or time that they don’t have. The Passive personality just wants to please people, also known as the People Pleaser. They want to belong and be liked by others. They wouldn’t dream of saying no and they really don’t want to say no. It’s almost as if it’s a an honour to help someone even if they don’t want to do something, the fear of not being liked will ignite their people pleasing attributes.


The Assertive Personality

The Assertive person will think about it and decide if it’s possible and if it’s a win/win for both parties. The Assertive person is happy to help other people out and say yes as long as it doesn’t effect their plans.  They are very fair but are happy to say no in a positive, friendly way so they can keep the friendship but honour their  decision.


Saying A Positive No Is A Win/Win


What does saying No mean to you?  You could be making it out to be much harder than it is.  When someone is asking something of you all you’re doing is making a decision. How do you make a decision?  You make a decision based on what’s best for you in the short term or long. You look at the pro’s and cons. You listen to your intuition or gut feeling. You ask other peoples advice. You ask questions to gather more information.


Saying no involves the same criteria.  You need to consider the pro’s and cons, think about your values, ask questions and listen to your intuition.  Basically you will know then and there if you want to say yes or no, it’s just a matter of delivery a Positive No.  You don’t want to say no because you feel bad, you feel guilty, you don’t want to upset someone or let them down. Let me tell you why it’s a win/win to say No.


Why It’s Good To Say No More Often


For you, the outcome to saying no means you’re empowering your personal boundaries.  You’re How to say nostanding up for yourself. If you keep saying yes when you really want to say no, your living a life of someone else’s choosing.  This causes built up resentment and you don’t need to feel that way.  Saying no gives you personal freedom.



For the other person, saying no them means, your empowering them to find new solutions. You’re being supportive but you’re not stepping in and doing it for them.  Saying no can create closeness it doesn’t create distance.  It’s all in the way you deliver your Positive No.


How To Say No 


Firstly, you can do this!  

Be respectful and polite.  Slow things down and take your time before you answer. You don’t have to answer on the spot.  If you’re too nervous all you need to do is say, “thanks for asking, I’ll check to see if I’m available and I’ll get back to you.”  I always say thanks for asking, because I want the person to know it’s ok to ask me, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to say yes.


You can state your boundaries if necessary. It depends on what the request is for. You can create a statement in advance that just has a good opening to it like, “I have a policy about…..”  It sounds determined and powerful.  It doesn’t sound like there’s room for negotiation.


Remember, it takes skill to do this when you’re not used to saying no.  But, the rewards are huge. You will free yourself of time and obligation.  The best thing is they won’t have you on top of the list next time they need something because they know it won’t be an automatic yes.


Saying no is a reply to a question. It isn’t a confrontation, it isn’t even a conversation. It’s just a reply.


This is how I like to say a positive no. Let me use an example.


I had my third baby by C-Section and a friend asked me if I could look after her daughter. My usual reaction and answer was always, “Yeah, sure, of course”. This time was different. I was in pain. I was tired and I had 3 children demanding every last part of energy I had. I simply didn’t have the energy to look after another child on that day. That’s when I delivered my very first positive NO.


Here’s how I said it: “I would love to have your daughter. I just can’t do it right now. I’m going to have to say no for this time but thanks for asking”.


It was a big thing for me however, that was the only answer I could give that felt right for me. I probably saved our friendship because I didn’t say yes when internally I was screaming NO. I listened to my own needs. I was in integrity to say no.


What About The Guilt?

Here’s something I’ve learnt in life. Everyone has their own life lessons to learn and everyone has their own choices. You don’t have to do what everyone wants you to do and you don’t have to give people everything they need.  It’s ok to say to no if the situation doesn’t work for you. You don’t want to live life with regrets. Live your life with freedom and choices. People can ask for whatever they want, but it doesn’t mean they can expect a yes every time.


By saying no you’re empowering people to help themselves and seek out other solutions. Where’s the guilt in that? You’re helping them in another way.


Guilt is the most useless emotion of all because it just keeps you stuck feeling like crap. It causes people to fall in a trap and repeat the same patterns in their life. You can STOP doing that now. You don’t have to turn your back on anyone. I’m asking you to exercise your right to choose.


If you want to do something for someone and if it feels good for you – great, awesome. Do it! You can say yes every time if that’s what YOU want. But if it doesn’t feel right for you, if it feels disempowering, or if it feels like an energy leak in your system, then it may be time you start to say No. 


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How to Say No



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Mirella DeBoni

Relationship Counselling Specialist, Clinical Hypnotherapist, #1 International Best Selling Author

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