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How to Master the Art of Saying ‘No’ In Three Easy Steps

3 min read

Jam-packed calendars that sync with our favorite, digital devices constantly remind us how busy we are. From family commitments and work happy hours, to joyful to-dos like celebrations with friends, it can feel impossible to stop plans from piling up, even when they’re fun ones. To avoid burning out or making poor decisions, it’s important to master the art of saying no. Have a hard time declining invites and opportunities for the sake of your sanity? Here’s how to do it gracefully.

Know Your North Star

Your north star, or a single, master goal, is an easy way to stick with your journey. Once you know where you’re hoping to go, it’s easier to focus on the right things while passing up anything that won’t take you along your path. This can apply to almost anything, such as setting a health goal, completing a workout challenge or growing a business. If any offer will tempt you or make you veer off course, feel confident saying no while standing your ground.

Learn How to Compromise

Saying ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily need to mean ‘no’ in every sense of the word. Sometimes, it can mean ‘not right now’ or even ‘not like this.’ If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pass something up (even when you really don’t want to), challenge yourself to find another solution that’ll work for everyone.

Think about the following two examples:

  1. A friend invites you to an expensive dinner across the city (near her house) but you’ve been working hard to save money.

Instead of telling your pal you can’t make it or overspending for the sake of going with the flow, ask your friend if you can meet somewhere closer at a less pricey place. She’ll still be free to visit the other restaurant whenever she likes, but you’ll also get to enjoy a delicious meal together (which is fun for both of you).

  1. An amazing potential client agrees to work with you on a project—for 75% of the price you proposed.

Though it might be tempting to work for less or decline the work altogether, have a healthy convo with your potential client instead. Ask about adjusting the scope of the work to fit the budget, or offer to put together a payment plan that makes completing the entire job as you quoted it possible for them.

Note that in both cases, the worst thing the other person can say is “no,” which is completely okay. Neither party should ever have to stray from their own north star or push past limits to make something work. Accept that sometimes, a situation is simply a no-go (and that’s okay too).

Offer a Polite (And Reasonable) Explanation

Though you shouldn’t ever feel like you need to offer an explanation for saying no, it might make you feel better (and less guilty) to tell the other person why you’re unable to accept their invite, offer or opportunity. Whether you’re saying no because you’re not interested, unavailable or feel that what’s been extended to you just isn’t a good fit, politely and honestly explaining why you can’t partake is key. People are sure to respect your transparency and gratitude, even if you have to turn them down.

Want more tips on living W.E.L.L.? Check out 3 Easy Ways to Love Yourself More.

About The Author

Krista Gray

Krista Gray

Krista Gray is a web producer and freelance writer who lives in San Francisco. When she's not working with clients through her company GoldSquare, she loves reading, traveling and learning new things.

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