Women, How to Say NO!

Learn how to SAY NO without feeling guilty of giving offence. Gain some assertive techniques. Communicate effectively. If you sometimes hear your voice saying ‘yes but your head is saying ‘no’, read on. This article will help you be more assertive and put yourself first. Do you find yourself often saying yes when actually you want to say no? Read on for some effective assertiveness techniques.

We can’t actually do everything that is asked of us yet sometimes we behave as if we should. We stop valuing our own time and put other people first. Sometimes that is appropriate – we all have to say yes when we’d rather say no occasionally. But if that is getting out of balance you need to learn to say no.

Here are some tips to help you be more ASSERTIVE:
Say YES.

It sounds mad, doesn’t it? You want to say no so think yes. This only works if you genuinely want to do something but can’t to do it at this point in time. Try saying, ‘I’d love to but can’t right now. Can you ask me again in a few weeks when I’m less busy?Or, ‘I really want to do it and I want to do it properly, which I can’t at the moment. If it can wait for a month I’ll gladly oblige’.

Get in First

If you can see a demand coming your way try to get in first. Tell them how busy you are before they make an actual request. You might say something like ‘I’m glad we’ve had this opportunity to talk now as my diary is full for the next month – I can’t fit in another thing’.

Keep Your Diary Up To Date

To be able to say no and be genuine you need to know why you can’t say yes. Sometimes we end up saying yes because we can’t think of a reason. We just have a nagging doubt that we shouldn’t. Then we check our diaries and realise that we have over committed ourselves! Always try and know what commitments you have, social or work, then you’ll be ready with a genuine response.

Don’t Keep Apologising

I think it’s fine to start with ‘I’m sorry but… as you are really saying ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you on this occasion’. However, if you pepper your conversation with apologies you’ll begin to sound like you really could do it and don’t have a right to say no. You will be putting yourself in an inferior position. The tone of your voice is important too, as well as eye contact and body language. Speak clearly and firmly – you don’t have to be aggressive but neither you should be passive. Assert yourself!

Value Yourself and Your Time

Sometimes at a subconscious level we may feel that our time is not as valuable as anyone else’s. If you find yourself agreeing to do things that could easily be done by the person asking you might fall into this category. This may require a bit of work on your part but try repeating to yourself ‘my time is valuable and I am valuable’. It will remind you not to put yourself down.


Like any new skill it takes practice. Don’t leap in with someone you find most difficult to turn down. That’s like jumping in the deep end of a pool when you’re only at the paddling stage! You’ll be very fed up afterwards as you’ll probably sink… Instead try saying no when the stakes aren’t high. And maybe you need to get yourself on a confidence boosting course. Check out what is available through your employer, or locally, or on line.

Take a deep breath and say no, confidently and assertively. Surprise yourself!

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Posted on January 27th, 2009 by

One Response to “Women, How to Say NO!”

  1. Jane, I found this article extremely useful especially the ‘Don’t keep apologising’ bit…Thanks.

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