How to say ‘no’ gracefully

When you say ‘yes’ to something, you are essentially saying ‘no’ to something else. You offer to help a friend, you are saying no to alone or family time.

Sometimes you really ought to decline the request. Some ways to say ‘no’:

– “That’s a responsibility that is too much for me to take on right now.”
– “You can do it as well as I can.”
– “I can show/tell you how to do it.”
– “The timing is terrible. I wish I could, it just is not possible.”
– “I don’t lend that out. It’s my policy.”
– “I would like to help, but I am on overload myself.”
– “I’m maxed out”
– “I am flattered that you asked me, but I am going to have to decline this time.”
– “Thank you for asking, but that isn’t going to work out for me.”
– “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
– “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.”
– “I have other things that need my attention.”
– “It wouldn’t be right for me.”
– “With my schedule, I’d be unreliable, and I won’t let myself be that.”
– “My family would be disappointed in me if I took on another obligation.”
– “I can’t do that, but I can offer to do …”
– “Let me tell you what I can do…”
– “This doesn’t fit with my schedule at this time.”
– “Thanks for coming to me but I’m afraid it’s not convenient right now.”

You may want to use the four-part formula for saying no:
1. Start with a compliment if one fits the situation.
2. Give your answer.
3. Say thank you.
4. Encourage the person.
“That sounds like a worthwhile project. I am so glad that someone is addressing that need. I’m flattered that you thought of me for this project. At this time, I can’t take on any more commitments. I know you’ll pull together a great group.”

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