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Power of saying no - When and How to say no

Updated on December 27, 2011
Someone who knows how to say no, may be a bit too well
Someone who knows how to say no, may be a bit too well

Saying no at the right time and the right place can change your life. It can make you happy, rich, healthy, safe and strong. But saying no can be difficult and you may need nerves of steel to put your foot down and say no. Whether it is with friends, family, colleagues, relatives, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or husband, learning how to say no can be the turning point in your relationship, job or business. Learn how to say no and start reaping the priceless rewards of this powerful word today.

Saying no in your relationship

Whether you are dating, are in a committed relationship or in a marriage, saying no to your partner can be the most difficult and heart breaking thing you have to do. But sometimes it may be the best thing to do for the both of you. It's ok if you have to be the party spoiler and say no to your loving partner. Because you know that saying no right now will only mean good for your relationship in the long run.

Situations where you may have to say no to your partner

  • Your partner wants to move in with you but you know that your relationship still needs to mature further before you can start living-in
  • Your partner wants you to meet his/her family but you know that it is too soon
  • Your partner wants to gift you an expensive present, but you know that he/she can't afford it
  • Your partner makes unrealistic and unfair demands from you

Saying no at your workplace

The skill and art of saying no is highly regarded in any company or organization. How else do you think companies are going to survive if managers and executives don't have the ability to say no when something is out of line or something that may cause a loss to the business? If you learn how to say no at your workplace, you will stand out immediately. Managers and bosses are constantly in the lookout for employees who can put their foot down and say no when they think an act or an event may not be beneficial for the company. Your colleague, manager, boss or employee may put you down or even feel rejected if you say no to them, but will definitely change their stand when they realize that your No saved the business from monetary or other forms of loss.

Situations when you may have to say no to your colleague, manager or boss

  • Your work colleague wants you to manipulate something in the system for his/her benefit but you know that it is not in the company's benefit
  • Your colleague wants your approval for his idea for a project but you know that it may not be profitable
  • Your client makes unreasonable demands
  • Your manager or boss asks you to do something that is beyond your moral and ethics
  • Your colleague offers you incentive to break the rules at your workplace for his/her benefit

Saying no in everyday life

The power of no extends much beyond helping you in your professional and personal life. Learning how to say no can reap many benefits even in your day to day life. Whether it is that pesky sales person you are dealing with at the mall or the annoying contractor who is trying to fix a broken pipe at your home, learning how to say no to the right people at the right time will make you street smart.

Situations when you may have to say no to people in your everyday life

  • A pesky telemarketing salesperson tries to land you a dodgy deal
  • A salesperson at the mall tries to up sale you a product
  • A contractor giving you substandard service
  • You get less than what you pay for in a shop

How to say no

Unfortunately, knowing the advantages of saying no is just not enough. If you are not in the habit of saying no, be warned that learning how to say no is going to be like climbing a steep mountain slope in bad weather. It will demand a personality change, it will demand a change in your attitude and it will be a tough battle with your own psyche.

  • When you refuse or say no to someone, look into their eyes with a sharp gaze
  • Sound convincing and have a firm tone when you say no
  • Understand that you don't always need to back your refusal with an explanation
  • When you say no to your loved ones, tell them that you disagree with them because you care
  • You are not obliged to agree or simply say yes to anyone's idea or demand – drill this into your everyday ideology
  • Stop thinking "Will he feel bad if I say no" or "Will she be annoyed if I say no" because when you righteously say no, you are right even though you disagree
  • Cultivate a habit of thinking "Will my agreement have any repercussions?" because by doing so, you will think twice before saying yes or giving your nod of approval
  • Remember that if your refusal damages your relationship with someone, that relationship was probably not worth keeping because people who care for you will always think from your point of view before creating a ruckus
  • Don't afraid of being the party spoiler by saying no because you have just emerged the bigger and wiser person when you've averted trouble by refusing to do wrong
  • If you are being forced or coerced into saying yes or agreeing with someone, try to visualize the negative effects of you giving into someone's demand because that should give you an instant boost of will to say no
  • Don't convert your no into a yes because if someone sees that they can convince you to change your opinion, they will try every time and might even succeed
  • Sometimes you may need a plan before you say no because your job or business may be on the line when you refuse so it is best to have an answer to the question "Why are you saying no?" ready before you disagree
  • Before trying to convince others, you must understand yourself that the effect of your saying no may ruffle a few feathers today, but it will benefit your organization or company in the long run
  • If there is any benefit in your refusal and disagreement at the workplace, explain it to those with who you agree to disagree
  • You have the right to disagree, is the most important thing to remember while learning how to say no


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    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago


      Being a push over, rather than being weak, means that you care for the happiness of your family and friends and you don't have the heart to say no to them. However people do sometimes tend to take advantage of the fact that you are a nice person. That's why saying no at the right moment is important. Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • JeniferRW profile image

      Jen 6 years ago from Couch

      This is a wonderful hub and great advice! I am sometimes a pushover with my family/friends especially. This made so much sense and will definitely start trying to say 'no' more often when it's needed. Thanks! I voted up/useful/awesome/interesting

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Eiddwen, I'm glad you found this useful!


    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I loved it,it was realy interesting plus useful.

      Thank you so much for sharing.

      Take care


    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago


      It is unfortunate that the children will miss out on the company of a talented individual like you. But like you said, if the parents are poisonous to your mental health and you have to put your foot down and say no, you don't have a choice, do you? It is tough to make a decision like this but I'm glad that you did what you had to do.


    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      am bookmarking this hub. In the last year I have finally been able to say No firmly to a relative that I've had to see since the person became a parent, all along being told that if I refuse to see this person, the children will suffer and it's not their fault.Well, sorry, but the parents are poisonous to my mental health.

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      Husky you're right. This talk about learning to say no comes from experience. I'm sure your example on the occasional 'reluctant yes' is a real eye opener for those who read you comment. You should have been a management coach! I am of the strong opinion that coaches of sports teams can be great management coaches too. It's really no surprise to me that the big multinationals pay top dollar to sports coaching personalities to come and give a fiery pep talk or a lecture to their employees.


    • profile image

      Husky1970 6 years ago

      Words of wisdom from princesswithapen. Clearly written by someone who has learned from experience that there are significant benefits from being able to say "no!" Saying "no" can be even more powerful when combined with the occasional reluctant "yes." For example, when a subordinate in the workplace has an idea that you are hesitant about but that won't have any significant negative effect in the big scheme of things, a "yes" might provide benefits in the long run. It might prove to be a good idea, because we are not always correct. And, even if it doesn't, it might show the subordinate that we are willing to listen and try his or her ideas.

      Great hub, princesswithapen. I hope some readers can benefit from your excellent advice. Voted up and useful!!!!

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 6 years ago

      I'm glad you found this read useful, LorenAyBe. It is indeed, very interesting that one of the most simple things in life like saying no can sometimes be the most difficult thing to do. Thanks for stopping by!


    • LorenAyBe profile image

      LorenAyBe 6 years ago from Belgium

      Really interesting and useful.