Do you find it hard to say no? If so you are probably someone who wants to help others and likes to be needed but you are also probably a bit over stretched and maybe end up resenting all of the time you give away to others. The problem many people have with saying no is that they don’t want to offend or upset people, or they are afraid it will damage the relationship in some way. Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) explores how to use language in a way that sets clear boundaries and respects other people. Here are my top tips for saying no and staying friends:



Make it clear you understand their position or the invitation

Rather than just saying no, which can feel a bit harsh, begin by acknowledging the request. If the person is asking for help make it clear that you understand their circumstances, here are some examples:


‘What a lovely thing to organise…’

‘That’s a tough situation, I get that you are probably feeling a bit overstretched with all that going on..’

‘That’s a tight deadline, I can see that..’

Say no without over explaining

There is no need to justify yourself or over explain, except in some work situations maybe. If the persons wants to know more they can ask. If we overexplain we give people permission to pry and dig into our personal affairs that we may not want. Also don’t blame other people, your partner, work or children because that gives people wriggle room and is unfair on your partner or children. Here are some examples of good ways to do it:


‘I’m going to say no on this occasion with everything else I have on right now’

‘I don’t have any spare capacity to help you with that at the moment’

‘I wouldn’t be able to start looking at it until…’

Close it off

Don’t just leave it hanging with an opportunity for the person to come back with another angle or feeling bad about asking. It’s important to close it off in a respectful way that makes it clear what you would like to do in future or that you still value the relationship. Here are some examples:


‘If you do anything like this again, please do ask me as it’s something I am interested in doing’

‘I hope you can find some way of getting round this, I appreciate it’s not easy.’

‘If it’s still ongoing in a few weeks time, please ask me again as I think I’ll be a bit freer by then.’

Facebook Comments