Published: 27th May 2019
The art of saying ‘No’: Here are some useful and polite ways to say no effectively
We should learn to say ‘no’ in a gentle way without hurting the person who approached us for help. Saying ‘no’ is an art
As I never say ‘no’ to anyone’s request, everyone asks me to do them a favour. As a result, I don’t have time for my personal work and that is why a lot of it is left pending for weeks at a stretch.
We must have heard our friends and colleagues make such statements. When someone asks us to do something, we may be pleased to help the person. That’s a good quality. But, at times, it may not be possible for us to say ‘yes’ to everyone. Saying ‘yes’ is not always a virtue. Many people are reluctant to say ‘no’ to their bosses, relatives and others. We should learn to say ‘no’ in a gentle way without hurting the person who approached us for help. Saying ‘no’ is an art. How to say ‘no’ in an effective way? Here are some useful phrases:
A: We’re planning to go out for dinner this evening. Would you like to join?
B: No thanks. I have an important meeting to attend this evening.
A: Can you please edit this report and give it to me by 10 o’clock today?
B: I’d love to but I’ve got too much on my plate now.
A: Thomas, I want you to accompany us to the cinema.
B: Apologies, maybe another time.
A: Can you submit your report by June 1?
B: I wish I were able to.
A: I would like you to train our students.
B: No thanks, I have another commitment.
A: I would like to know your availability for the training program next week.
B: Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not taking on anything else right now.
A: I would like to invite you to be the chief guest for our school day function.
B: I’m honoured, but I can’t.
A: I heard you are a good translator. Can you please translate the article into Tamil?
B: It sounds great, but I can’t commit.
Here are a few other useful phrases that we can give as our response to express our ‘no’ to someone’s requests:
Not this time.
Sorry, I’m booked into something else.
If only I could!
Sorry, I’m not able to make it this week/month.
Another time might work.
For the time being, I’m not taking on new commitments.
I wish I had a clone.
I’m head-down right now on some project, so I won’t be able to commit myself to this project.
When we say ‘no’ to someone’s requests, we should do it politely and assertively. We should be able to convince people to whom we say ‘no’ that we have our priorities and value our time.