The not-so subtle art of Saying No

We’ve all been there. Somebody asks you to do something for them, or go somewhere, and you’re put on the spot. There’s nothing you’d like to do less, but what words come out of your mouth? ”Of course.. I’d love to!!” Now you have to come up with a really great scheme to get yourself out of said plan. How often do you agree to something only to think, literally one second later, ”why did I agree to that????” .. Yeh, me too!

Look, we all do it. However, some of us are better are saying no than others. It’s a skill really, and some people are just born with it. But the good news is it can be learned. All it takes is practise practise practise. And a few handy points.

  1. Don’t answer straight away.

If you’re invited somewhere, or asked to do something for somebody, instead of succumbing and saying YES straight away (even though you wanted to say no) say ”Can I get back to you on that?”. It’s not a no, but it’s certainly not a yes. It gives you some time to think about your answer, and whether or not it’s something you’d actually like to do. It also shows that you may have other things going on in your life that you may have to rearrange. So busy and important 😉 At the same time, you can always get back to them and say that you actually do want to join them. But you’ve given yourself time to make the right decision for you.


  1. Value your own time

So many times we agree to do things for/with others because we didn’t reeeally have any other plans. Except that we did. They just happened to be by ourselves. Don’t undervalue your time spent alone or your commitments to yourself. You are definitely the most important person in your own life so stick to your own plans, and if people really want to see you they will work around that.

  1. Don’t apologise

The worst thing you can do for yourself is apologise for not being available to someone else (unless they really, really need you (like an emergency) in which case, drop everything!). Don’t apologise for having your own plans and sticking with them. Any good friend should understand if you are unavailable for a certain coffee chat / brunch / to babysit their kids / walk their dog.. etc.. Next time they may give you more notice!

  1. If you don’t want to do it, just say so.

This can be really scary, depending on who you’re dealing with. And definitely one I struggle with myself. If you are invited to an event that you really don’t want to go to, instead of saying you can’t or that you’ll ‘try’ just say ‘it doesn’t really sound like something that would interest me’ or ‘I don’t feel like it this time, but you have fun’. You will save yourself endless questions about why you ‘can’t’ go and at least then you’re being honest.

  1. Just say no

If none of these points above work, a good hard NO should do the trick. Be firm, stand your ground, and remember you have every right to not want to do something, just because somebody else wants you to. I can’t tell you the amount of night’s out I’ve been dragged out on only to feel as though I should have just stood my ground and been more firm. Then I could have been tucked up in cosy pj’s in bed, instead of in a dingy club getting told to ‘smile’ by random men.

So, next time you get asked to do something, try and remember these tips, and let me know if any of he work for you. xx

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