Tips for saying no, featured in the Book of No

“Yes.” “Sure.” “No problem.” You’re asked and you agree. That’s a guaranteed formula for making yourself miserable. Here are a few more reminders from The Book of NO:

  • Think “no” before you think “yes”, I will do that for you.
  • The word “no” is enough. Lengthy explanations leave wiggle room for debate, misinterpretation, or permission to ask again.
  • Tell yourself daily that saying “no” is liberating.
  • Agreeing to do what others ask doesn’t make you a better person.

How Readers Say NO

From Paula B.:
This is the best way to say NO: I have found that certain people (the users, the manipulators, the freeloaders and control freaks) are always the ones “asking” me to do things for them. Carry a copy of The Book of NO with you, and the next time one of them makes a request pull it out and say, “I am reading this book. It is great. You should get a copy and read it yourself.” Believe me the conversation ends there…forever.


From Joy R.:
I was always the one people asked to “run the auction-organize the car pool-can you pick up my kids?-will you buy the gift?-I’ll pay you back-you’re the best one for the committee, they can’t do it without you”, etc, etc, etc. I gradually came to the realization that I was not always the “best one for the job”, I was just the closest warm body with a pulse, and the one who was usually flattered enough to say “yes”. My saying “no” came in baby steps. I started saying, “Let me think about it” when faced with a request I’d rather not do. It gave me time to mull-over whether or not I could commit and more importantly, did I want to commit. If the person asked again, I was more prepared to say “No” and stick with it.


From Wendy P.:
I used to say yes to nearly all social invitations I was extended, fearing I’d miss out on something or look bad for declining. This lead me to feeling exhausted most of the time and not able to enjoy the things I did want to participate in. About a year ago I came up with the following phrase: “Thank you for the invitation, but my day or weekend is as full as I will let it get. I hope you have a great time!” No excuses, no more spending times in ways that don’t serve me or worse yet drain me, and best of all – when I do say yes to something, I have the energy to fully enjoy it!


From Janice L.:
My friend Jan is about as chic as a woman can be and I’m awed by her fashion sense. When we shop she insists I buy this jacket, that skirt, this pin, that pair of shoes—all great for her. I bought so much that sits in my closest with the tags still on because I couldn’t say NO to Jan. Now I say, “Jan, that’s just not me” when she tells me something is a must-have.


From Gina S.:
One of my sisters offers to help me out all the time—pick up a quart of milk, stop for chips for a party, baby sit my children, follow me to drop off my car at the repair shop. She’s happy to oblige, says she’ll be there or do it, but then I end up panicking or waiting. She’s so unreliable and I have been disappointed every time. I was reluctant to offend her or hurt her feelings, but I finally got smart. It’s far less stressful to say, “No thank you” when she offers and do the things myself. That way I’m not angry with her and don’t feel she let me down.