Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

SOURCE:  Leslie Vernick

One of the hardest words for many people to say to someone else is the word No.  The thought of actually telling someone “No I can’t help you today.”  Or “No I don’t want to attend your wedding or graduation party.” Or “No I don’t like that or think the way you do,” sends them into sheer panic.

Do you fear disappointing someone with your No?  Or get sick with worry that someone will become angry or reject you if you are truly honest with how you feel and say No?

Popular author Ann Lamont writes, “No, is the shortest sentence.”  But for some people saying no, feels cruel, harsh, or unloving.  Therefore, I want to give you ten softer ways to say no without using the actual word.  Here they are:

1. I’m so sorry but my schedule just won’t allow it.

2. Thank you so much for inviting me but I won’t be able to attend.

3. Thank you so much for asking me but that won’t work for me.

4. I can’t, I’m sorry.


5. I won’t be able to do that, I’m sorry, perhaps another time.

6. I have to cut down on some things in order to keep my life more balanced so I’m going to have to decline.

7. If I say yes to this, I have to say no to some other things that are very important. I’m sorry but I can’t.

8. Let me think about it. (This buys you time where you work up your courage to say one of the other forms of soft no.)

9. I’d love to, …but I can’t. (other variations – my schedule won’t allow it, or I have other plans, or I’ll have to take a rain check.

10.  I’m not sure I think the same way you do on that.  Or I have some different thoughts about that, would you like to hear them.

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