Literally, Learning How to Say No


It’s hard to say no. We feel like we’re letting others down. We don’t want to risk that they (GASP) may judge us/not like us/get mad at us if we say no. How old are we? Four years old? Yet, I struggle with this nearly every day.

It’s ironic how much easier it is to say yes up front and then flake out. It feels nicer for the moment, but we all know how it feels to have someone commit and not follow through. It takes more guts, more security in who we are to say no when we mean no. How sad is it that often we’d rather be liked and flakey than disappoint others and have good character.

When we say yes to things we cannot do, really everyone gets gypped. I’ve disappointed others, I’ve grown resentful… but that is WAY easier than being honest, right?

Let’s make our YES’s powerful and trustworthy. 

Tim Elmore has EXCELLENT insight on the way to say no…

1. Say no to the idea not to the person

2. Respond in terms of the interests of the person asking.

3. Defer graciously. Come up with an alternative for them.

Need some help putting this into practice? I love these five practical examples Ann Marie Klotz found on saying No. Try saying these aloud, and then make them your own.

1. My first reaction is to say yes, but I’d like to discuss this because I am over extended right now.

2. I need to say no to this, but let’s talk because I want to be supportive of you.

3. Let me think about what you are asking. I want to say yes, but I’m worried about my ability to deliver right now.

4. If there is no other way to get this done, I will do it. But I’d like to talk about it first because it’s not a good fit with my interests and abilities.

5. My first reaction is to say no, but let’s talk about it and see where we end up.

“So, say yes whenever you can. Deliver each and every time you say yes. Say no when it is the best response. Say no in a way that works for others.”


4 thoughts on “Literally, Learning How to Say No

  1. Thanks for posting this excellent info! I can relate to having difficulty saying no. The tips provided here are priceless and extremely helpful : )

  2. This was good for me because I struggle with saying “No”. I want to make everyone happy. I want to go the extra mile for everyone that I come in contact with and can help. However, I was always saying “Yes” and that led to me being burned out and not doing a very good job at anything. God really got my attention this year and started showing me that saying “No” was okay. 🙂

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