The Art of Saying NO


In the myriads of events of our everyday lives, we get caught up in a million things, whether we like it or not. Places we are not very eager on exploring, people we are not interested in knowing, acts we are reluctant to perform. Despite the pleas of the little of the person inside us trying to get away from all that, we push ourselves to accommodate all these places, people, and acts. So much just because we are not appropriately familiar with the art of saying no.

How long should we let the multitude of NO situations take us over? Is there a savior somewhere who is soon going to rescue us? Daydreaming aside, is there a way to deal with it? Is it possible for us to overcome this situation? The answer is yes.


The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.

– Ayn Rand

No one has explained the importance of fighting for oneself better than Ayn Rand. I admire that woman for being so vicious in thoughts, in her words. Do go through some of her work. It will help you get some perspective on the necessity of saying no. if you are a first timer, please don’t be shocked with titles like The Virtue of Selfishness.

Here are some basic tips that will help you say no:

Don’t be sorry. It’s imperative to be completely unapologetic for not being available. Never be sorry for not committing your time and space for something you do not wish to get invested in saying “I am sorry” is just going to go across as a weak excuse. Avoid it at any cost.

Plan it. In that case, where you are already apprehensive about certain commitments which you know will be expected from you, there is no better time than present to prepare for them. And you prepare to say NO. You intend to say NO. You are prepared to say NO. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made.

Why don’t we discuss this later? It’s always a good idea to take your time. It gives to time to focus on the methods you may choose to tackle it. It gives time to the other person to absorb that you are considering it, not saying yes but of course thinking about it. It’s the most optimistic WIN-WIN situation when you are saying no.

Make time your money. Stick to commitments, assign them a priority. Don’t be a pushover when it comes to honoring your commitments, even if they are for you.

Decide what comes first. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments mean less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

Don’t be nice. Always remember, being nice may not always be nice for you. Not everyone deserves nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it.

No is a no, boss. You work to make money. You work to satisfy your needs. You work to travel. You do not work to please your boss. Say no to your boss whenever necessary.

 It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not now. Simply say so — you can complement the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for now. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Have you already perfected the art of saying no???? Please share and comment.