How to learn to say no: learning to refuse people correctly

Useful tips

Saying no to another person is always difficult, and many of us take on obligations that we would like to avoid.

Sometimes we agree out of politeness, and sometimes we simply don’t know how to refuse a person.


Human nature is such that we want to please other people, we want to be kind and pleasant.

In many cases, the inability to say no can become a problem because we forget about ourselves and our needs while trying not to hurt someone else's feelings.

Reasons for the inability to refuse

  • Fear of offending the person asking for a favor by refusing. It is worth accepting the fact that there is absolutely nothing to be offended by in this situation. Who said that your personal plans are less important than the affairs of a friend or acquaintance? If you explain the reason for disagreement, there can be no question of dissatisfaction. You don't owe anyone anything.
  • Fear of losing a good attitude towards oneself. In fact, if a person sincerely expresses his sympathy for you, your reluctance to fulfill the request cannot radically affect his opinion. On the contrary, when a demonstration of resentment occurs, you can judge that this is a manipulator.
  • Fear of looking impolite. Such thoughts in most cases are the costs of education. Adults teach children that disobedience is bad. It is extremely important to learn to distinguish whether a person really needs your help or whether he is quite capable of coping with the problem on his own. If the former, then the decision rests solely with your conscience. If the latter, we are again talking about manipulation.
  • Fear of getting rejected. If your friend is ready to help only in return, and not disinterestedly, you should think about whether communication with him is really so valuable.
  • Low self-esteem. It happens that personal affairs seem less significant than the plans of others. Then you need to work on realizing your own worth.

Concept and means of expression

A refusal to enter into an agreement is a document that is sent by one organization to another when the first company has made a corresponding decision.
The basis for it is an offer sent by this other company to the first one. Thus, composing such a message is common courtesy, since it can be left unanswered.

At the same time, such a letter will provide an opportunity to improve relations between potential counterparties, so its preparation will certainly be a rational step if there is a prospect of cooperation in the future.

Consequences of trouble-free behavior

Wasting energy and time (which is always in short supply) on useless, unnecessary activities will definitely bring nothing but constant fatigue and missed opportunities. In addition, if you take on a task that you end up not being able to complete, you will feel a strong sense of guilt.

By putting aside your interests in favor of other people, you can ultimately make others understand that they can afford to be “consumers” in relation to you. In this case, help will be perceived as the norm, and refusal as an insult.

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Why you need to be able to say “no”

Trouble-free individuals are considered weak-willed. Without the courage to defend your interests, it is impossible to gain respect in society. Eventually, your soft-heartedness will simply be exploited. To feel your integrity, you must find a balance between concession and your own desires. Of course, by constantly refusing, you risk spending your life completely alone. But when you have to step on the throat of your principles, you need to learn to defend them.

Often, a situation where we cannot refuse arises if, before giving an answer, we do not analyze the pros and cons, but act impulsively. In the end, such a decision will only benefit those who receive help.

Tips: how to say “no” correctly and beautifully, defend your opinion and not offend a person

First of all, it is necessary to accept that everyone has the right to refuse any offer or fulfillment of a request.

Algorithm for polite refusal

  1. Demonstrate your attitude to the situation. This could be irritation, wariness, regret, or lack of interest. It is important to express the emotion that has arisen in order to prepare the interlocutor for the subsequent response.
  2. Clearly, but without aggression, say the word “No.”
  3. State the reasons why you are refusing. Don't make up excuses. If you simply don't want to do it, say so. Your opponent should also respect your interests.
  4. Suggest another solution to the problem.
  5. If the person asking begins to insist and persuade you, listen to him and repeat why you will not perform the service. At the same time, there should be no uncertainty in your voice.

What you need to consider in order to learn to say “no”, and how to refuse people without offending them - psychology

Understand that anyone can put themselves in your position just as you would. If you hear any signs of resentment or aggression in response to a refusal, think about whether you want to contact a person who absolutely does not respect your interests.

Psychologist Daria Milai

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Don't let others stop you from achieving your goals. When a request interferes with the execution of your important plans, you do not need to sacrifice yourself for the needs of another. After weighing the significance of your affairs and the tasks of the person asking for the favor, make a decision that will not harm you.

To learn to refuse, you need to clearly define your life priorities. For example, consciously put comfort in the sphere of relationships in first place, self-realization in second place, and relaxation and entertainment in third place. Then you will be able to focus on these values ​​when a controversial situation arises.

Find your determination and work on improving your self-esteem. Always understand the motives of the person asking, evaluate how important his request is for you too. Confidently express your point of view to your opponent. At the same time, speak from “I”, briefly but succinctly justifying your position. Showing signs of uncertainty is extremely undesirable, because the interlocutor will easily seize on your doubts and lead you to another “yes”. Be firm and concise, leaving no room for escape or persuasion.

If you are once again scared, not remembering how to say “no”, record this moment and analyze it. Why did it happen? What thoughts were in your head? What emotions did you experience? How do you look at the situation now? What should have been done? Can you still refuse the responsibility you have taken on now?

In writing

This method is preferable for many applicants, since it does not imply a response. In addition, it becomes the only possible one when a job offer is received in the form of an official document - a job offer (job offer - English, job offer). When thinking about how to decline a vacancy in writing after an interview, consider the following points:

  1. Appeal. Address the recruiter by name. It would be nice to thank you for your time.
  2. Reasons for refusal. State them truthfully but correctly. You should not focus on the personal characteristics of the director or other employees, the interior of the office, etc.
  3. Wishing you success in your future work will allow you to end the conversation on a positive note and leave a good impression.


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Benefits of giving up

  • You don't waste energy. Stop wasting your internal resources, which are not so easy to replenish, on activities that have no value for you. Having learned to cut off unnecessary things in a timely manner, you will be able to organize your day more productively and effectively and devote the freed up time to your development.
  • You achieve a balanced life. There are days when you feel like you could have done more. And this applies not only to work: each of the areas of life needs to be given enough attention, without focusing on any one. By saying “no” to additional work or other items that are outside your plan, you can establish this balance.
  • You do not lose power over your own existence. By staying in control of every situation, you don't let other people control your life. As a result, self-confidence and level of self-esteem increases.
  • You can build relationships based on the reaction to your refusal. Needing constant approval from others is not doing you any good. Think about how you would react if your request was denied? Will you be disappointed? Long-term relationships are possible only with mutual respect for the interests of each party.

We must learn to say “no”: 7 best ways

  1. Show the person asking for the favor that you are currently completely focused on another task that you need to complete by a specific deadline. If in general you don't mind helping him, designate another time when you can return to this issue.
  2. Explain that you are currently overwhelmed with work and simply physically cannot find a “window” to fulfill the request efficiently. It is unlikely that he will be satisfied with the “fuck off” option of help.
  3. Express your refusal with the phrase: “I would like to help you out, but, unfortunately, I can’t do it right now.” It is not always necessary to explain your intentions. This way you will show that you are not ready to share all the circumstances of your personal life; set the boundaries of your private space.
  4. Ask for time to think about the offer. Let your interlocutor know that you will think about it and make a decision later. This way you can analyze what is happening, weigh everything and respond not impulsively, but rationally.
  5. Be upfront about how consent doesn't align with your priorities.
  6. The phrase “I’m sorry, but you turned to the wrong person for this” is also effective. You don't have to have an inexhaustible supply of experience, skills and knowledge to do any job. Sometimes it really is worth finding a more competent specialist.
  7. Share with the person asking that you are currently working on your ability to say “no” to things that make you uncomfortable. You can only be praised for such a desire.

Types of failure

In psychology, there are several other options for politely and convincingly refusing a request.

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If you don’t have any justified reason for disagreement, there is no need to come up with excuses and justifications. You can briefly and clearly say: “I’m not interested in this,” “I won’t be able to find time for this.” If your opponent begins to persuade you, be persistent, defend your position until the person asking realizes that he should turn to someone else.


This method is suitable when communicating with people who are accustomed to putting pressure on compassion. If you do not want to spoil a warm relationship with such a person, show your concern about the problem: “I’m really sorry, but I can’t help.”


This approach involves explaining the real reason that prevents you from agreeing to the service. Keep it short and to the point.


If you know you're prone to making impulsive decisions, ask for a delay to think about your response. Tell them you'll respond later when you've reviewed your plans.


You may not refuse at all, but offer your own conditions under which the request will be fulfilled. If they suit your interlocutor, agree. This method will allow both of you to remain in an advantageous position.


Try to find a different solution to the problem together. For example: “Today I have a lot of other plans, perhaps tomorrow you will need my help?”

We consolidate the acquired knowledge

Friends, if you want to continue to develop and take your communication skills with people to a new level, I recommend that you take the online course “Effective Communication” from the famous training platform “Vikium”. The course lasts 30 days, it includes 33 video lectures, 26 exercises, 6 tests.

This course will teach you:

  • Manage your emotions
  • Communicate more effectively with your surroundings
  • Overcome difficult emotional situations
  • Manage conflicts
  • Understand the other person's feelings and thoughts on a deeper level
  • Build harmonious relationships

The author of the course is Oleg Kalinichev. Expert in nonverbal behavior, emotional intelligence and lie detection. Accredited trainer PaulEkman International. Managing Director of PaulEkman International in Russia (PEI Russia).

Now let’s return to the topic of the article and discuss another important point.

How to learn to politely say “no” to someone: 6 steps

By doing something that you don’t want to pay attention to, you are serving others while depriving yourself. Right today, from this moment, start mastering the skill of refusal so that everyone remains with their own area of ​​​​responsibility. To do this, use the action diagram described below.

Train your brain

If you are used to constantly pleasing others and rarely think about your own interests, first let your mind adapt to the skill of refusal. Let your mind get used to the word “no”: repeat it out loud more often, use it in extended phrases. Rehearse various options for declining requests to get rid of unnecessary fears and anxiety.

Ask a question

To switch to a new worldview, practice and habit are needed. Having expressed an illusory refusal 80 times, you can easily voice it in a real situation, since for the brain it will no longer cause resistance.

Little denial

Practice on small things and with those people who are not difficult to refuse. These should be situations after which you will definitely not be tormented by a feeling of guilt, because they practically do not entail damage to others. But, having gained experience in small refusals and understood how not to offend a person, you can prepare for more serious decisions.

Track the moment

Whenever you need to decide something, allow yourself to pause and analyze what is happening. Remember your goal of learning to say “no” and understand what answer will be favorable based on your aspirations.

If it suddenly seems to you that your judgments are somewhat selfish, think about whether the behavior of others towards you is selfishness. Listen to your desires: agree when you want it, refuse otherwise. You only have one life and it's up to you to decide what to do with it.

Stop pleasing others

Realize that you have personal boundaries and principles that people you know should not cross. Be prepared that if you stop being good to everyone, you will lose some people from your environment who will not agree to adapt to your metamorphoses. And this is great: you will see for whom you really represent value as a person, and who just liked to take advantage of you.

The ability to say “no” makes you extremely inconvenient to others. They will probably point out to you that you have become completely different, it has become more difficult to communicate, and so on. Just ignore these attempts to make you soft, flexible and obsequious again. There is no point in living for people if you do not want to lose your own individuality and integrity. Let society know who you really are, what your values, principles, desires and interests are. Show us what you can do.

Be strong, unwavering and decisive.

How to learn how to properly refuse people’s requests and say “no”: start respecting yourself

Remember: every time you refuse someone, you come to an agreement with yourself. You definitely deserve to act based on your needs, and not the demands of society.

Self-love is the basis of any stage of development. Unfortunately, it is beneficial for society to make it easier for a person to be pushed around, controlled and used for its own purposes, so the desire to love one’s own “I” has been mixed with the concept of “selfishness.” In fact, selfish people do not just act within their own interests, but manipulate others for their own good. And to love yourself means to feel valuable, significant and worthy of more.

Become an independent person

Refuse to play the victim. Learn to interact with the surrounding space, feeling like a full and important part of it. To do this, sign up for my consultation and take a big step towards a new stage in your development.

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