Instead of feeling resentful for saying yes when you really wanted to say no, try these phrases:

  1. Someone in my time class uses the phrase, "That doesn’t work for me."
  2. I am feeling overwhelmed and can’t put anything else on my plate.
  3. I have a policy to never ….
  4. I really can’t…. right now, but I can….
  5. I’m sorry, I have another commitment.
  6. Thanks for thinking of me, but I am not able to.
  7. I appreciate the request, but I am not taking on anything else right now.
  8. I am honored you thought of me, but I don’t have the time to do a proper job.
  9. My heart wouldn’t be in it.
  10. Thanks for the invitation, but an early night is a better option for me.

What are your favorite ways to say no?


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  • Sandra

    Drop the ” buts”. They are a rebuttal. Use other words like YET. Look at number 8 above. I’m honoured you thought of me but I don’t have the time. Rephrase that. I’m honoured you thought of me, Now put the word But in there, it takes away , it negates the whole first part of the sentence. **I’m honoured you thought of me, will you consider my assistance another time? **

  • Donna

    My English teacher told us to use “however”. Thank you for considering me for this however I have a prior engagement/plates too full at this time/contact me for the xx event to help.

  • Shelley Cox

    “No, that’s not something I can help you with”

    “No” is not a word we should be afraid to use – owning our power and our priorities will open the way for others to do the same and when we are ALL in flow with our highest purpose it is best for ourselves, each other and the whole world.

    Also, your post encouraged me to search a bit further and I found these posts with some more ideas:

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