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35 Ways to Say “No”

Freedom is the ability to say No.

When we say "No" we may feel judged or it may feel like we're letting someone down. It's important to remember that saying "No" is setting a boundary. Setting and enforcing boundaries is directly connected to one's self-esteem.

When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel positive about yourself and see yourself as deserving of the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. Feeling comfortable with saying "No" is a product of self-awareness.

Learning to say “No”

Knowing what you want and what you don’t want is the first step in self-awareness. Promoting your wellbeing through communication is the second step and this step is a key component of healthy self-esteem. Stating your choice, is a way to establish boundaries. Having the conviction of sticking with that choice is how you maintain your boundaries.

Things to consider when you are deciding if you should say no:


Does this feel in alignment with me?

Does this match my values?

Will I feel drained?

Time Management:

Do I have the time?

Do I want to make the time?

Would I like to schedule this for another day?


Is this my responsibility?

Will this be a good use of my time?

Does this match my skillset?

Would someone else excel in this area?


Is there a deadline?

Can this be put on hold?

Would putting a team together make sense?

Will I feel rushed?


Is there a chance for me to learn something new?

Do I want to give this a try?


Is this something that I want to do?

Does this bring me joy?

Different ways to say “No”

35 Examples

  1. I'd like to - but unfortunately now is not a great time.

  2. I don't want additional responsibilities, and what you are asking me to do will not be an efficient use of my time.

  3. My schedule is booked, but thanks for asking.

  4. Thank you, but I'm not the best person to help.

  5. You seem to have a specific vision for this, and I don't feel that I am the right fit.

  6. I am at capacity and managing the commitments that I have is important to me.

  7. I know that you’d like my help, but I don’t feel right about doing this.

  8. That doesn't fit my schedule, it won’t work for me.

  9. I’m not able to dedicate the time necessary to make it a success.

  10. I don't want to.

  11. Thanks for reaching out, I am choosing to decline your offer/invitation, etc.

  12. This not a priority for me.

  13. I’m at my limit for extra commitments right now, when my schedule changes we can connect again in the future.

  14. This will not be a good use of my time.

  15. I am unavailable to do that/ be there.

  16. I don’t think I’m the best fit for this - thanks for thinking of me.

  17. Unfortunately, that’s not something I’m able to do.

  18. I’m really sorry, but I’m not able to do this right now.

  19. At this time I’ll have to pass, best of luck on your search.

  20. I have already outlined my priorities for this month, and I don't want to commit to anything else.

  21. I don't think that this is a good use of my skill set.

  22. This doesn't align with my current goals.

  23. I'm not interested in doing that.

  24. There seems to be a lack of planning, and I cannot allocate the time necessary, you will need to find someone else.

  25. I am currently working on more pressing items.

  26. I’m not passionate about this, and will defer to your judgement.

  27. I am confident that you can figure this out on your own.

  28. That date and time will be challenging for me, I am choosing not to participate.

  29. I'm not the correct person to help you with this.

  30. Until more details become available, I will not be able to assist you.

  31. Being respectful of my time, I cannot accommodate you.

  32. I do not want to see my personal time suffer.

  33. I’m fully committed at this time, but thanks for thinking of me.

  34. This wasn't communicated to me in a timely manner so I will need to decline.

  35. Respectively, this is outside of my role and responsibility.

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