Saying “no” is uncomfortable. It’s so uncomfortable that we often say “yes” to things we don’t even want to do in order to avoid the uncomfortable and inconvenient feelings that we have in the moment. So rather than put someone out, we put ourselves out by saying “yes” and committing our time and energy to things stop us from being the woman we want to be. This is not setting us up to shine. This is taking away from time we could spend with our children and time we can spend on our hobbies or things we are truly interested in.
We need to learn to say “no” in a polite and firm way.
Saying “no” does not make you a bad person.
Saying “no” does not make you a bad friend.
Saying “no” makes you true to your own personal needs.
Saying “no” frees you up to do the things that are most important in your life.
And your life does need to come first so that you can be the best you for everyone around you.
Following are various ways to say “no” to someone. You can also print out the sheet below which has all of these ways to say no listed and space for you to come up with a few of your own.
Remember, the most important thing about saying “no” is understanding that in order for you to say “yes” to what matters in your life you’re going to have to say “no” to other things. Be polite but firm and then keep it moving.
No. is s full sentence. If you can, simply say “no” and leave it at that. It’s not rude it’s just the truth.
No, thank you
If you want to sweeten up your no then you can add thank you to the end of the sentence. No thank you is polite and firm.
I’m not able to make it
This is saying no in a way that clearly communicate you are unavailable. “I’m not able to make it,” showcases that you would like to, but it is just not possible at this time. That is something that any one should be able to understand.
I’m booked at that time
This statement makes it clear that you already have another commitment. It also puts upon the person who’s asking you that if you were to do what they need, you would have to break your other commitments and that is just a lot for them to ask of you and whoever you’re else you’re committed to.
Let me check my calendar
This statement is not as firm but if you are the type of person who is easing into the world of saying no, it is very convenient. Let me check my calendar gives you time and space to breathe. While,I like to advocate directly speaking to someone when you have to decline something that they’ve asked of you, it also gives you the space to email or text them back that you are now committed at the time they want you to do whatever it is they’re asking.
As it turns out, I can’t
This is one of my favorite phrases. “As it turns out” eases the burn of no. “As it turns out I can’t” implies that there are other circumstances and things going on in your life and in the world that are leading to your inability to participate. It is firm and polite and a little less harsh than a direct no.
I can’t have you asked…
I like this phrase because it helps to point the person who is asking something of you in another direction. You’re clear and direct by saying that you cannot do whatever it is that they’re asking but you are also offering to help them in the moment by pointing in the direction of someone who might be able to.
It’s not possible, have you tried…
Similar to the above, with this phrase, you are firm and polite in declining your availability and yet you are offering up another alternative to the person who needs help.
Thanks for thinking of me but I can’t
Here is another way to be firm but polite. If a straight no, is too much for you then you can simply say “thanks for thinking of me but I can’t.” It shows gratitude which is always positive, yet it gives a clear message that you are not available.
I’m honored but I can’t
This is another way to show gratitude when someone asks you to do something but also clearly states that you are not available to help. Being honored says that you appreciate how they think of you and that they believe that you could help them. You recognize that they believe you’re capable and you appreciate it, yet you are also cognizant of your time and what’s going on in your life and firmly state you’re not available to help.
Saying no can be difficult in the moment but it is well worth the reward of having more time on your calendar to do what matters most to your life. Download the sheet below and practiced saying the different ways of saying no, out loud. It might sound silly but it will make it that much easier to decline when the moment comes.
If you are looking for more time management tips for moms, check out these 3 time management hacks for busy moms.
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