7 Tips To Help You Learn to Politely Say, “No”

By Dominica


Last Updated: January 4, 2022

Have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you wanted to say “no”, but you blurted out “yes” instead?

If so, you’re not alone. Many people have a tough time saying “no”.

However, if you’re tired of having to feel bad about declining something or someone, then it’s time that you learned how to politely say no and keep your head up.  

It’s difficult to please everyone. In fact, it’s almost impossible.

But here’s the thing. You don’t have to please everyone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you saying “no” when you don’t feel inclined to do something. 

In fact, those that say “yes” when they want to say “no” are more apt to struggle with anger and resentments throughout life. Surely, you don’t want that.

Chances are, you’ll run into various situations where someone will ask something of you, and you want to say “no”. The following tips will help you out. 


7 Tips to Help You Say "No."

1. How to say “no” when someone asks to borrow money from you.  

Have you ever been hit up for money and felt obliged to give, even though you didn’t really want to? 

It happens more often than you think. Here’s something that I’ve used before:

“Oh, I’m really sorry, but I made a decision a while ago never to lend money to others.”

That’s it. I don’t offer any explanation. I simply state this with compassion.

Granted, I don’t use this if this person is truly in need, and I feel led to give. This is for those that tend to be needy or lazy. Whether it’s someone at work, on the internet, an old classmate, or that family member who is always broke due to poor money habits. 

This may be challenging because the person might really be in need. However, if you make the decision to always use that line no matter who it is, stick with it. It’s a great way to get yourself off the hook without hard feelings.  


2. When a coworker asks you to give money toward a gift for the boss or coworker.

You may work at a place where it’s always someone’s birthday, wedding, baby shower, etc.

Every time you turn around, you’re being asked to donate some money toward something. Don’t be afraid to politely decline when they pass around the offering plate for gifts. You can say something like:

“I’d love to, but I haven’t gotten the chance to get to know them very well. I will wish them well the next time I see them.”  

“I’m not currently spending any extra money on anything. I’m on a strict budget.”


3. A friend, spouse, or boss asks you to do something for them, but you are already swamped to the max.

Life can get quite busy. 

Most of us can relate to burning the candle at both ends. If this sounds like you, taking on more than you can handle will only stress you out more than you already are. Politely decline and don’t feel badly about it at all. You can say something like:

“I just can’t. My plate is incredibly full and ready to flow over.  If it’s a dire need, let me see if I can rearrange my schedule, but I think someone else may be able to help you out faster.”

4. Someone asks you to go out to dinner, to a party, or another function and you simply don’t want to go.

Sooner or later, someone will ask you to do something, and you just don’t want to go. You may not jive with the person, or the event may sound ultra-boring. Or you may just not want to go for a number of reasons. Don’t feel badly about declining.

Say something like:

“Oh, I’m sorry but I’ve already got a commitment during that time.”

“Thank you so much for the invite, but I’m going to have to decline.”


5. Someone asks you to be on their committee or team and you don’t want to.

Whether you’re currently serving somewhere and want to step down or you’re being asked to serve, you can give yourself permission to take a break from volunteer work and politely decline an invitation. Try this out:

“I’m not in a position where I can freely volunteer right now, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone who is willing.”


6. Someone asks you out on a date and you’re not interested in dating anyone.

Taking some time to fly solo is always a good idea for self-discovery and lavishing love on yourself.

You can always make some good friends during that time and who knows – maybe one of those friends will catch your eye when you are ready to date. If someone asks you out and you’re not interested, say something like this:

“That’s very nice of you to ask, but I’m not in a place in life where I want to date anyone. I’m taking some “me” time, but thank you anyway.”


7. You’re asked to perform a job that you have no desire to do.

Whether it’s work or pleasure, you don’t have to take on anymore commitments. Give yourself permission to politely decline. 

“I wish I could, but I can’t take on one more commitment right now.”

“I really don’t think I’m the right person for that.”

Read this next: Do You Say "Yes" When You Want to Say "No"? 5 Tips For Better Boundaries


It’s Ok To Say “No”

Memorize some of these ways to say “no”, so the next time you’re in a position where you want to decline, you’ll know exactly what to say. 

Try to keep your declines short and sweet. If you ramble, it can become quite awkward. Remember, your desires are important, so if there’s something you don’t want to do, simply say “no” and don’t feel badly about it!

Photo by Quentin Lagache on Unsplash



6 comments on “7 Tips To Help You Learn to Politely Say, “No””

  1. Loved your 7 Tips on how to say "no" politely!! I will definitely put a few of these into ACTION to get rid of the guilt. I deserve to make decisions that are right for me. Thank you so much!!

  2. I appreciate the recognition that saying no is difficult and better than saying yes when we don't want to say no - that is something a lot of people struggle with.
    That being said, lying and offering an answer that isn't actually true is swapping one poor habit for another. You CAN actually just say "no" and not offer an explanation. That would actually be more polite than saying something that is false, especially if you get caught in the lie.

  3. Thank you very much. At almost 78 it is much easier to say no and people do not ask you for favours so much.Thank goodness old age serves in something.
    Bless you all.

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