top of page
  • Carla Collis Gesite

8 Ways to Say "No" Gracefully

It’s so important to say No these days. Because, until we learn to do it, we’ll continue to be stressed and overwhelmed with too much to do.

And isn't it usually our true priorities (like our health, quality time with those we love, causes we're passionate about), that suffer? Not to mention, we feel bad about ourselves but not standing up for what we need.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to saying No is struggling with how to say it.

Well, starting now, you no longer have the excuse that you don't want to disappoint/offend the person asking!

Here are 8 options for saying No.

1. SAY A SIMPLE “NO”: No, but thanks for asking/thinking of me.

2. EXPLAIN YOU HAVE A COMMITMENT: I’m already __________. (e.g., I have a dental appointment.)

3. BUY YOURSELF TIME: (when you’re unsure)

I’m away from my desk right now. Can I let you know once I have my calendar in front of me? or I’m just in the middle of something. Can I get back to you tomorrow (or next week?)

4. DEFER: (especially good for other people’s problems and issues) I’m crazy busy this week/month. How about we wait until next week/month?

5. SUGGEST AN ALTERNATIVE: (to maintain the relationship & still be helpful)

Suggest someone else who might do it: I know John loves that kind of thing or

I don’t feel comfortable/have enough experience to help you with that, but Sarah might.

6. REDIRECT: (particularly for people who take advantage of your good nature)

I can’t do it right now - but I could show you how you can do it yourself.

7. REQUEST PRIORITY: (good for dealing with your boss/work)

Ask for the priority: Which one do you want me to focus on first? or If I take this on, what would you like me to set aside/postpone?

8. PRIORITIZE YOURSELF: (to stay in control of your life & feel good about you)

I’d love to help but I’m focusing on this report right now. or At the moment, I don’t have time for anything except this proposal.

Next time you need to say "No", try one of these approaches! (And drop me a note to let me know how it went.)


bottom of page