How To Tell Someone No

How To Tell Someone NoThink about a time where you found yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place, not very fun right? A good friend of yours asks you for a favor that may seem simple to them, but it’s something you don’t really want to do. Everyday we are given the opportunity to say no, but to our surprise we become a yes person.

We say yes to in order to maintain the relationship with that person. We are also fearful that saying no will create some uncomfortable and awkward conflict. Additionally, we want to be known as someone everybody can count on at anytime, right? Let's try something new. Here's how to tell someone no.

Below I’ve listed a series of tips that were influenced by these wonderful people which may help you on your journey of saying no to things you simply just don’t want to do.

(4 minute read)

1. Acknowledge

Even though we already may feel bad for telling someone no, it’s important to at least pay close attention to what the person is asking in the first place. If we approach their request with open dialogue, it may let this person know that you are actually listening to them and not simply blowing them off.

Sometimes, it’s good to even repeat back what they've said so they can hear exactly what they are asking you. This process can let this person know that you are paying close attention to what they are wanting and it gives the impression that you care.

2. Explain

If you’ve ever been told no before, sometimes this pops in our mind: “Well why not?,” and sometimes this is also said out loud. If we were to give a short explanation of why we are refusing their request, they may see that you have a legitimate reason as to why you can’t say yes. On a side note, even if you didn’t have a legitimate reason to say no, you still have the choice to say anything you want as a response.

During this step you may feel that explaining your reasoning is not their business or that it doesn’t matter. Just remember, you are in control, if you would like to explain or not it's your choice, but for future reference, it may put your friend at ease for the time being if you explain why.

3. Say No

Do just as the step states, and say no. After completing both of the first few steps, it's important that you actually do say no. No does not mean saying words like maybe, perhaps, possibly, or any other words that seem wishy-washy, that doesn't count. You want to be clear and concise. Remember, you’ve just prepared your friend with the first two steps, so saying no shouldn’t be a shocker to them.

Keep the following in mind while saying no: stand your ground, have good eye contact, don’t back up, face this person head on, be confident, and please make sure your voice is firm enough for the listener to understand you. I’ve always enjoyed the K.I.S.S. method too, Keep It Simple Silly.

4. Resist the “S” Word

How often do we say we're sorry for saying no, because I can definitely raise my hand first. Saying sorry may sound like we are guilty of something we didn't even do. Others may feel as if you now owe them something because you were apologizing, and for what? We may have become desensitized to this word because of how often we use it, and for reasons we’re not even sure why. Don’t get me wrong, apologizing is fine when you have your reasons, just try not to OVER apologize.

So Now What?

With all of this new information, how in the heck are you supposed to put it into action? Just follow the KISS method and you’ll be fine. Practice with a friend, family member or significant other who may also struggle with saying no. Then after some time, give it a try in the real world, if it works that’s great! If it doesn’t, maybe next time, but eventually it'l stick.

You will never know unless you give it a shot, because if you don’t, you may find yourself continuing saying yes to things that are daunting. Unless you enjoy saying yes, then you just read this post for curiosity and that’s okay too! The point is to not give up so easily, and with practice comes improvement of this skill, because saying no is a great skill to have.

You got this!

CommunicationJacob Kountz