What makes it so hard to say no?


  • We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings (rejection).
  • We don’t want to disappoint someone because they will think less of us. (approval)
  • We don’t want to cause conflict.

Disappointment is a result of expectations. When we have said yes all the time in order to please others and avoid conflict, we have set them up to always expect a yes from us.


Practicing Saying ‘No’


1. Give yourself permission to say no.


2. To begin to practice saying no, it’s important to get clear in yourself about what you want and what you don’t want. Be proactive in considering different scenarios. Ask yourself, “What would I choose in this situation?


3. Next, let others know that you are going to be practicing saying no sometimes and that you are asking for their support. This communicates to others that they might need to reset their expectations.


4. Practice saying the word no aloud at different levels - whisper, conversational, loudly, in a singing voice. Make a game out of it . Get a little silly. This takes some of the charge out of the word.


4. Practice saying, “No, I don’t want to do that right now” aloud to yourself or with a friend.


6. Another way to approach a no is to buy some time. Tell the requestor that you will need to think about your answer and get back with them. Be sure to give them a definite day/time they can expect to hear from you. Then follow through!


7. If your answer to a request is no, consider whether or not you would like to participate in some other way and communicate that to the requestor. “That isn’t going to work for me, but I would like to ____________________________. Would that be helpful?


Final word—discovering that we have options is empowering. Knowing that we have options frees us to be in more honest, authentic relationship with others and, most importantly, with ourselves. When we feel free to be who we are, we are more likely to make room for others to be who they are too.



Copyright ©️2016 by Gina Manskar