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Learn to Say No Without Apologizing

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.


It is not uncommon for some people to find it hard to say no to family members, friends, co-workers and especially to leaders and members of their church. They are in the habit of saying yes even though they want to say no to some of the requests and favors they are asked to do.

There are reasons people fear saying no. However, there are some things you can do to get over that fear.

Three Options

When people ask you to do something you feel leery about doing, you have three choices you could make without giving the person an instant yes.

  1. You could say yes because you fear to tell the person no.
  2. You could say no and maybe feel bad about saying it.
  3. You could say no and not feel bad about saying it at all.

When you give in and say yes to things you want to say no about, you will probably end up feeling miserable for saying yes.


Reasons to Say No

When some people are asked to do something, they might say yes because they are afraid to let others down. Individuals might say yes because they are people pleasers. They fear they will no longer be liked if they say no.

Some people feel guilty when they do not say yes when people ask them to do something, especially when they are available and able to do it. They feel obligated to say yes.

If we say yes when we want to say no, we are not being true to ourselves. The other person will feel good about our response, but we will regret it and might even hate ourselves later.

Yes or No

Yes or No

There are ways to say no even if you are afraid to do so. Know that you are not obligated to say yes every time someone makes a request. If you have always said yes in the past, people will expect you to continue doing so. Therefore, you need to break the cycle by beginning to say no.

At first, it will be uncomfortable. Once you begin saying no to situations you used to say yes to, it will get easier.

Sometimes people put off what they want to do for themselves. Instead, they use that time, energy, and finances to do favors for others. Stop neglecting yourselves, especially when people can do those things for themselves. Don't think you are being selfish. You just don't want to be used. It is time to stop compromising and learn to say no.

Ten Ways to Say No With Confidence

  1. Just say no. Don't say you want to think about it and get back with the person later. If you know you want to say no, you probably won't change your mind after you sleep on it.
  2. Be brief. You don't have to give a report about why you can't do something. Be brief and assertive.
  3. Don't be manipulated. Don't allow people to manipulate you into doing something for them. Telemarketers do it all the time when they tell you what others have done. For example, "Most people donate $50. Would you like to donate $50?"
  4. Understand the relationship. Evaluate your relationship with the person who wants you to do something. Question why someone you barely know is asking you to do something for him instead of his own friends.
  5. Be firm. After you have said no, do not allow others to make you feel so guilty that you are forced to change your mind.
  6. Be selfish. Give priority to your own needs by putting them first. Don't put other people's needs over your own. If so, you will resent it later.
  7. Don't apologize. You really don't owe anyone an explanation why you are saying no. If you give them a reason, they might not accept it and ask you for another reason. This will wear you out, and you might end up saying yes even though you don't want to.
  8. Don't lie. Don't make up a lie as a reason not to do something for someone. It's not worth it to sin just to give a reason for saying no.
  9. Don't recommend. Don't put a friend or relative in the same predicament that you are in by volunteering someone else to do what you said no to doing.
  10. Don't follow up right away. If you check on the request you turned down, you are putting yourself back into the situation you just got out of. If the person still needs a favor, you might be asked to say yes again. Once you have said no, let it be.
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"The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything."

-- Warren Buffett


There are exceptions to every rule. There are times to help others, especially in emergency situations.

The aim of this article is to let people know they are not obligated to say yes to everything. They are also not obligated to give an explanation when they say no.


Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on August 23, 2020:

Thank you for this article. I am working on saying no without feeling guilty.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 02, 2019:

The Sampsons, what you said is so true. I appreciate your comments!

The Sampsons from The Ozarks, Missouri on February 02, 2019:

Ahhhh... a tiny word, so hard to say. Especially to family members.

I once read "When you say 'Yes' to one thing you've said 'No' to everything else."

So, conversely, when you're saying Yes to this unwanted request, you are saying No anyway, just to other things!! Oooo.. I just now thought that part up!

Good article! - Loretta

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 01, 2019:

Ellison, I was wondering how this article would be received. Thanks for reading and sharing your comments.

Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on February 01, 2019:

This is a really good and helpful article. I think a lot of people say yes to things they don't want to just because they don't know how to say no. I think it is great that you wrote this to draw attention to the fact that it is okay to say no to people!

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