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How to say NO to people

How to say NO to people

Jane was 15 years old when she started caring for her brother and sister. She sacrificed her life for them by leaving school and working as a maid in various houses since they lost their parents. She needed the money, so she can feed herself and her siblings.

Years have past and Jane’s siblings grew and got married, while Jane stayed single. After a few years when her siblings had children, they started to call Jane to baby sit, so they can go outside on trips, restaurants, among other places to have fun. After a few years of baby sitting, Jane met a man that she likes, but wasn’t sure that she can be serious with him because she was never able to say NO to her siblings. She was more like a mother to them and dedicated her life for the care of her siblings, then their children.

Jane’s siblings also wanted everything they inherited from their parents to be in their names and wanted to give Jane nothing. At this point, Jane couldn’t keep her anger and frustration inside of her and told her siblings that they can take everything they want. She also realized that she has to make a solid decision and say NO her siblings when they ask her to baby sit for their children. At the end, she was able to go after her dreams of having a family of her own with the man she loves.

Are you like Jane? Are you afraid to say NO and do what you really want?

How to say NO

To learn how to say NO to people, follow the below steps:

1. Start slowly

Like any skill in life, learning to say NO can be acquired, developed and with time, you can learn to say NO and know how to reject what you don’t want to do politely. People who usually say YES to everybody get stress and pressures more than anyone else.

2. Be sure of your position

You have got to be sure of your position. If you are not sure, this would be evident in your body language and voice and some can exploit your weakness.

3. Overcome your feelings of regret

You might be afraid that the other individual will become mad at you because you refused to do what he asked you. Saying NO doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person will get upset as many people will understand the responsibilities you have in your life. Remember, you have to take care of yourself first. After all, how can you care for someone else while you are not taking care of yourself and your needs?

4. Think of your happiness

Don’t try to make people happy at the expense of your happiness. There are times when you do some work that you don’t like, just so to please others. If you always try to please people instead of making yourself happy, then you are hurting yourself.

5. Don’t be afraid of confrontation

Many people who have a problem with saying NO are not able to accept the idea of confrontation and want to avoid the stress that is associated with the rejection. Be brave and say NO when it is necessary.

6. Change the subject

If the person keeps insisting that you do what he wants, simply remain silent for a while until he feels that you got tired of his insistence, then change the subject. Afterwards, you can end the conversation quietly before you lose your temper and accept what he wants you to do.

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For more information, read:

How to overcome fear of failure

How to deal with stress

How to be more productive in life

Win your lover's heart The ultimate guide to achieve your goals How to have peace of mind


  1. Dia: This is a great post and an important topic. It really can be hard to say “No” to people and we can always be trying to please everyone. It really is important though to do those things that feel right to you and to pass on those that don’t. I thought your list was very helpful because saying “no” can often be easier said than done. We really do need an approach that we can continually rely on and put to use. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Sibyl,

      I agree with you my friend, saying NO can be hard, especially if we are not used to doing it, but with constant practice it will become easier. It is a step by step process.

  2. Tristan says:

    Awesome post, Dia. I have a couple friends who are just too nice to say no to people, and they end up getting taken advantage of. I think I might send them a link to this post.

    Great job!

  3. Jk says:

    I had to master the “NO” very early in life. My environment basically denoted: “either you do it or you don’t – but in order to not do it, then you must say no”. Saying no to peers during teenage years took a lot of courage, but with my focus on years to come, I know it was something I had to become familiar with.

    Today, many years later I find that giving the hard NO’s can be a challenge. There’s more on the line these days. I’m not downplaying the importance, I’m highlighting it. This was a very important topic.

    This post, coupled with the story was well presented and helped create imagery, which increases my comprehension.

    Thanks for the valuable tips Dia!

    • Dia says:

      Hi JK,

      Good for you my friend that you didn’t have a hard time saying NO. This is a great accomplishment. I’m sure it took a lot of courage as many teens or young people find it hard to not say No to their peers.

  4. It often depends on the “quality” of the people to whom you are saying no. It is always much easier to say no to a well educated guy than to a d…b one :)

  5. Bryan says:

    LOVE it, Dia! And I must confess, this has been a very difficult one for me throughout my life. I can tend to be a people-pleaser, and it’s very difficult to say NO to people. My dreams were put on hold because of it, my wife suffered for it, and even my kids. When I was a pastor, this was very difficult because you feel like your whole mission is to help people. I’ve learned there is a difference in helping those who need it, and being a doormat for those who are just lazy. Good post!

    • Dia says:

      Hi Bryan,

      Yea it can my hard my friend to say NO to people. Unfortunately, sometimes in life, we do need that decision for our benefits.

  6. Saying “NO” does have to be learned for some people. I think women are real bad at doing this. I have had to learn to say no to my children. I do have one daughter that can tell by my voice over the phone that I don’t want to help at a given time. she in return will allow me to say no. I like your tips for learning to say no. This one “3. Overcome your feelings of regret” is very important. Regret can eat you up all day long. You have to learn to let go of regret.
    Thanks Dia

    • Dia says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I agree my friend, many people find it hard to say no to people. It is a step by step process. It is all about doing what is important for the given situation.

  7. Evelyn says:

    Hi Dia,

    This is a very good post! I enjoyed reading the story about Jane. Oftentimes not being able to say no, does more harm than good.

    I use to be like that, but as I have gotten older, I will say no and not feel bad about it.

    Take care,


    • Dia says:

      Hi Eveyln,

      I agree with you my friend, not being able to say No, can be harmful for us and for others as well.

  8. Dandy says:

    Hi Dia,
    I like this post and your tips are great. I’ve struggled with this myself. It took me a long time that no really doesn mean no. I don’t have to debate my position, or explain myself, or even take the time to listen to coersion. Once I learned this it was really empowering. Everyone has the right to make decisions for themselves & everyone has the right to say no if it is right for them. I just know this post will help people Dia. Great job!


    • Dia says:

      Hi Dandy,

      Good for you my friend that you learned to say NO. I agree it does take courage and time to master it. Once we master saying NO when necessary, we are taking care of ourselves first. And when we take care of ourselves, we can take care of others.

  9. Fernando says:

    I think point 5 is what always happens to me.
    I hate confrontation because I hate to fight although it can just a good conversation it always makes me think the other person won’t like my “no” and start a fight. I have to work on that.
    Thanks for this awesome share!
    Hope to see you around :)

    • Dia says:

      Hi Fernando,

      When you say NO and mean it, people will become used to it and many will respect you for that. Be sure of your position and you will not get stressed if you face confrontation. Welcome here :)

  10. Dang good topic Dia. We ALL need to learn to say no I think at times. Sometimes it’s to others….and sometimes it’s to ourselves.

    But for me, I think the key, similar to your #4, is relating the eventual pain of carrying through with ‘yes’ to the quick pain, but ultimate reward, of saying ‘no’.

    Good stuff man. :-)

    • Dia says:

      Hi Marcus,

      Exactly my friend, at times, we really do to say NO to people and to ourselves especially when we have a goal that we are working on.

  11. Lisa H. says:

    #3 and #4 really hit home for me. The good thing is that I am having less and less regret about saying “no” as I get older. Sometimes I quietly remind myself that saying no to someone else is saying yes to me. Sure it feels bad for a moment, but that dissipates quickly.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Lisa,

      For sure Lisa, when you say No to people (when it is neccessary) you are saying yes to “you.” This is the whole purpose of saying No to people, so we look after ourselves. When we look after ourselves, then we can look and help others.

  12. lexi girl says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to say no when you know someone really wants it, but it’s important to have a clear mind to see when someone is taking advantage of you and makes your life harder.

  13. Frank says:


    I like screaming it at people. It normally gets their attention. I do thank you for some valid tips on doing something that is not always easy depending on the situation.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Frank,

      Yea, for sure it is not easy my friend, but with taking slow steps, then it becomes a habit.