Be Brave and Courageous – 100 Fun Ways to Say No
Let’s face it. Saying no isn’t always easy. And honestly, it’s not always fun either. But if you can remember to be brave and courageous, you, too, can learn how to say no politely. I’m going to give you one hundred fun ways to say no! But first, let’s talk about why it can be so hard to say no.
Be Brave and Courageous
When I am having a hard time saying no, it could be because I fear that the opportunity will never come again or that I will upset the person who requested something of me. I have learned a few things about myself in therapy, and one of those things is that I fear upsetting other people. I am learning that bravery doesn’t only count when I’m in life-threatening situations but also in small, everyday moments. The Merriam Webster dictionary gives this definition for brave: “having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage.” It can take real courage to say no, but girlfriend, I’m here to tell you that you can do big and scary things!
Take Care of Yourself by Knowing When to Say No
As a woman, it’s not uncommon to get so busy taking care of your family, coworkers, and friends that it’s all too easy to forget to take care of your own needs. Sometimes the best way to take care of our needs is to recognize them and practice healthy self-care. A great way to practice self-care is to learn to say no to activities and requests that drain our cup instead of filling it.
In both work and home relationships, you must know when to draw the line and take care of your needs before you can take care of the needs of those around you. When you can say no politely, you are one step closer to fostering a positive work and home environment and feeling great about yourself.
Let Your No be No
When you begin to be brave and courageous and choose when to say no or yes, remember to let your no be no with confidence, and your yes be yes with whole-hearted happiness and willingness to serve. Matthew 5:37 says, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” (NLT). God gives us pretty basic instructions here, don’tcha think? Even Yoda agrees with this passage by saying, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Thanks, Yoda, for confirming a biblical truth!
How to Say No When You’re in Danger
This is a great place to recognize the difference between saying no as a means of self-care and saying no for safety.
Always know that saying no in a dangerous situation is the best choice. You don’t need funny ways or different ways to say no if you’re in danger. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to hurt someone’s feelings in the moment if you are keeping them from endangering their life or yours. A brave person will say NO when a friend wants to drive after those few drinks. A courageous person will say NO when feeling pressured to do something dangerously out of her comfort zone. Doing the right thing for yourself and others involves knowing the difference between polite nos and action nos. Because No just means No.
Let’s Talk Strategy for How to Say No
Because saying no often feels icky and brown, here are some simple strategies you can use in any way you choose to say no politely. Remember, there is no guilt in saying no. You are making the best choice for yourself by turning down some requests. And you are making the best choice for the person doing the asking if you would rather not participate.
Be Kind and Complimentary
Just because you tell someone no does not mean you don’t care for them or wish them success in what they’re doing. It simply means that you can’t participate in the way in which they would like. Frame your “no” with kindness, and you’re off to a great start. Try one of these example sentences on for size:
• Thank you for thinking of me. I’m gonna have to pass this time.
• Thank you for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a great fit for me.
• I’m intrigued by your proposal, but I won’t be able to make it work this time.
• I’m very intrigued by the proposal, but it’s just not the right fit for me.
KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you are saying no. But remember that a vague answer with unclear language can lead to miscommunication, so it’s a good idea to be direct when you’re answering. I, for one, would rather someone be courteous, direct, and honest than to leave me wondering what the answer really is.
You don’t want to be known for being the one who never gives a straight answer. So, a straight answer is sometimes the best choice. Short, sweet, and to the point without being rude is the way to go. Check out these great examples of how to be direct without being rude.
Add a couple of words to soften the blow. For example, instead of saying this: I can’t help with that. Try saying this: Unfortunately, I’m afraid I can’t help with that. This softer response will show that you know it’s probably not the answer the asker is looking for but that you are still firm in your decline.
You can also give a direct no while leaving the door open for another opportunity later. I like to call this “declining with hope for the future.” Instead of saying this: Nope. I don’t have time for that. Try saying this: Thank you for thinking of me. My schedule is packed, and I can’t add anything right now, but I would love it if you would ask me again. Or this: I would love to speak at your event. Darn! I am already booked for that weekend. I hope you’ll invite me again for next year’s event or if something comes up before.
Be sure to use caution when you decline with hope for the future. If you use this answer too many times in a row, you may find yourself with a reputation as the one who is never available. Most people are willing to be put off once or twice, but they are likely to give up asking after that.
Another great read: The Complete Guide to Podcasts for Women Over 50: Who, What, and Why
When a Reason is Necessary
I will repeat it. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for when you say no. It’s your choice to decline as you see fit. However, there are times when you may want to give insight into why you’re declining the offer. Here are some great examples for saying no with a bit of an explanation.
• I’m sorry I can’t attend the party. I have a friend in town for a short time, and I’d like to spend some time with her.
• Gosh, I’d love to attend the concert, but unfortunately, the price of those tickets just doesn’t fit into my budget right now.
• I sure would love to take a weekend trip with you to Chicago this summer. I just don’t have any 3-day weekends available.
Redirect the offer
Sometimes you may be in the position to help the asker out while still declining. Maybe the situation doesn’t work for you, but you know someone else who would be a good fit. You can always redirect the asker to a better solution that serves you both. Here are some examples that might work in that scenario:
• I can not drive you to the grocery store on Tuesday, but I am available on Wednesday if that would work for you.
• I cannot bring snacks for the team this time, but perhaps Suzy would be able to help out. Would you like her contact information?
• I cannot fit time into my schedule for a coffee and brainstorming session with you this week. Can I put you in touch with my friend, Mary? She is in the same field and would love to grow her business through collaboration with you.
Another great read: Make Grandma’s Apple Crisp Recipe with 5 Easy Ingredients
Life Can be Hard!
Learning to say no is so vital to our good mental health. In today’s cancel culture, it can be even more difficult than ever to say no, for fear of upsetting someone for whom you care. But saying no is a skill that every amazing woman must have in her toolbelt.
We’ve talked about some great techniques for how to say no politely. Now let’s cut out the chit-chat and get to the list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post. Without further ado, I give you 100 fun ways to say no when you want to be brave and courageous.
The Great Big List of Fun Ways to Say No for Every Occasion
Ways to Say No to an Invitation
At the risk of being repetitious, let me say once again, you don’t owe anyone an explanation when you need to decline an offer. You may always use “other plans” as one of your ways to say no. Your plans may include sitting on the couch and watching your favorite TV show, but that’s still a plan! You don’t need to explain your plans to anyone, and you don’t need to feel guilty about whether your plans are important enough to justify saying no. Your plans are yours, and this is a great generic way to opt out of a situation to which you can’t commit.
- I’m honored, but I can’t.
- Thank you for the offer, but I’m not able to.
- I appreciate the offer, but I won’t be able to.
- I sure would love to, but I can’t this time.
- Thanks, but maybe another time.
- Thanks, but no thanks.
- No thank you, but it sounds lovely.
- Sounds great, but I can’t commit.
- Unfortunately, I’m afraid I can’t help with that
- Regrettably, I’m not able to.
- You’re so kind to think of me, but I can’t.
- How kind of you to think of me. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it.
- Your invitation flatters me, but I have to pass this time.
- I would love to, but I’m booked that day.
- Thanks for the offer, but I can’t.
- I appreciate the invitation, but I can’t.
- Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t.
- Unfortunately, I already have plans for that day. I wish there were two of me,
- Unfortunately, now is not a good time
- Sorry, I’m booked into something else right now
Ways to Say No When You Just Don’t Have the Time
- I have already said yes to too many things that week, so I need to limit my commitments.
- Sadly, I already have something else on my books for that day.
- I’m not taking on any new commitments right now.
- Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I can’t make that work.
- I’m just swamped right now, so I can’t.
- I’m maxed out right now, so my answer has to be no.
- It’s not feasible for me to take this on.
- I’m really spread thin these days. I just can’t take it on right now.
- I’ve got too much on my plate right now, so I need to say no.
- I’m not taking on anything else right now.
- Bandwidth is low, so I won’t be able to make it work.
- I’m slammed and can’t squeeze in another thing.
- If only it worked.
- I’m booked into something else.
- I’m not taking on new things.
- Another time might work.
- I’m not able to make it this week/month/year.
- I don’t have any openings in my schedule.
- I’m head-down right now on a project, so I won’t be able to.
- No thanks, I have another commitment.
- Sadly I have something else.
- I’m buckling down on my priorities right now, so I can’t.
Ways to Say No With a Redirect
- I won’t be able to (do this chore) on (fill in the day), but I am available on (alternate day) if that would work for you.
- I cannot (do this chore) this time, but perhaps (alternate person) would be able to help you out. Would you like her contact information?
- I cannot fit time into my schedule for (activity) with you this week. Can I put you in touch with my friend/coworker (alternate person)? (Why she’s a good fit) and would love to (benefit to the alternate person) with you.
Ways to Say No When the Invite Just Doesn’t Fit
- I’m not sure I’m the best for that.
- I believe I wouldn’t fit the bill, sorry.
- That just doesn’t sound like the right fit for me
- It’s not a good idea for me.
- I don’t think I’m the right person for that.
- I’m very intrigued by the proposal, but it’s just not the right fit for me.
- Thank you for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a great fit for me.
Saying No With Hope for the Future
- Perhaps next season when things clear up.
- I would love to (perform this service). But darn! I am already booked for that weekend. I hope you’ll invite me again for next year’s event or if something comes up before.
- It’s a no for now. Please ask me again in a month.
- Thank you for thinking of me. My schedule is packed, and I can’t add anything right now, but I would love to be asked again.
- Thank you for thinking of me for this assignment. I can’t take more work right now, but please keep in touch.
- I’m intrigued by your proposal, but I won’t be able to make it work this time. Maybe next time?
- Circle back to me in a few weeks.
- Thank you for thinking of me. I’m gonna have to pass this time.
- No, thank you. It sounds great. Please invite me again.
- I’m at the end of my rope right now, so I have to take a raincheck for next time.
Ways to Say No With No Excuses
- I wish I could make it work.
- I wish I were able to.
- I’m afraid I can’t.
- If only I could!
- No thanks, I won’t be able to make it.
- I’d rather not.
- Unfortunately, I just can’t.
- Not this time.
- Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.
- I’d rather not.
- I wish there were two of me, but I can’t.
- I have something else. Sorry.
- Apologies, but I can’t make it.
- Maybe another time.
- I would if I could, but I can’t.
- I’d love to — but can’t.
- Darn! Not able to fit it in.
- Rats! I would’ve loved to do that.
- I’ll need to bow out.
- I won’t be able to
- I really shouldn’t.
- Sorry, I can’t
Abrupt and Fun Ways to Say No
These are truly brave and courageous! They are also abrupt and funny ways to say no. Every now and then a girl just needs to put it right on out there!
- I’m all set.
- Not right now.
- No way, Jose.
- No can do
- Yeah – No (with sarcasm)
- No sir.
- No ma’am.
- Not gonna happen.
- Not possible.
- Heavens no!
- No Damnit!
Of course, you can earn great points for creativity if you stack a few of these together. It sounds something like this: Nope. Can’t. Not Possible. Nuh-uh.
Wrapping it Up
Now you have a toolbelt packed with a variety of fun ways to say no. Now pick a few of your favorite ways to say no and practice them (practicing in a mirror is a great way to boost your confidence). Next time you need to say no, you’ll be ready with your brave and courageous response.
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