25 Powerful Ways to Say No (and Gain More Confidence) http://www.freegifts.tandyelisala.com

25 Powerful Ways to Say No (and Gain More Confidence)

25 Powerful Ways to Say No (and Gain More Confidence)

25 Powerful Ways to Say No (and Gain More Confidence) http://www.freegifts.tandyelisala.com

Are you a recovering people pleaser? Do you often say yes to things you really don’t want to do because you’ll feel bad or for fear of what someone will think if you say no? Do you have trouble saying NO? Are you ready for some powerful ways to say no? In this article, I’m sharing 25 powerful ways to say no and 4 standard response templates you can have on hand.

I’m also sharing the 4 unhealthy personality types to watch out for, so you don’t get caught up in their stories. When you say NO to the wrong things, you make room for the right YES’s that are in alignment with your purpose, passion, and interests.

When you say NO to the wrong things, you make room for the right YES’s that are in alignment with your purpose, passion, and interests. Click To Tweet

Here are my 25 Powerful Ways to Say NO Graciously and Gain More Confidence:


  • I’m unable to commit to that right now.
  • I really appreciate you asking me, however, I’m unable to do xxx.
  • I’m going to say no for now. I’ll let you know if that changes.
  • I’m honored that you would ask me, however, my answer is no.
  • I understand you really need my help but I’m just not able to say yes to that.
  • I appreciate you thinking of me but I’m not the right person for this.
  • This isn’t in line with my goals or priorities right now.
  • I appreciate your time, but no thank you.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I have too much on my plate right now.
  • No thanks!
  • Not today, thanks.
  • Not for me, thanks.
  • I’m afraid I can’t.
  • I’m not really into [subject/topic], but thanks for asking!
  • I’d rather not, thanks.
  • I think I’ll pass.
  • Say no followed by BECAUSE…
  • I’m afraid that I won’t have time to contribute to____ , but I know (insert name and task) perhaps you could ask her? Only use this if the other person really is a good fit. Don’t use it to throw someone else under the bus.
  • It’s a shame – I’d love to help but I’m already committed to [X thing]. Best of luck!
  • I know that sucks – but I can’t, I’m sorry.
  • I wish I could help with your project, but I’m swamped this week.
  • I’m flattered but no thank you.
  • Ummmm, no.
  • I know this isn’t the answer you are looking for but…
  • Sorry, I can’t come—it’s our policy to have dinner together as a family every Sunday night.

Four Standard ‘NO’ responses:

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As you practice saying no, here are four ways you can have standard responses ready:


  1. I have a policy… Some examples of this in action include: I have a policy of never lending money or I have a policy of never missing family commitments.
  2. Because… When you preface your response with a reason, you are actually helping the other person agree with you and understand.
  3. Offer alternatives If the general topic is something you are passionate about or want to contribute to, just not in the way you were asked, you can offer an alternative way to help.
  4. Have a go-to phrase that will handle most things. An example of this is: Thank you for thinking of me. I’m sorry.  I have other commitments then, so I’m not available.

Things You Are Saying YES to When You Say NO to the Wrong Things:

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  • You’re saying “yes” to spending more quality time with your friends, loved ones, and family instead of doing something you don’t want to do.
  • You’re saying “yes” to maintaining your sanity and sacred “me time,” and for making time for the interests and passions that matter most to you.
  • You’re saying “yes” to living a more relaxed, authentic life that is centered around the things that matter most.
  • You’re saying “yes” to the right things that are in alignment with your life. Saying no without guilt requires you to really think about what you stand for. Why are you saying no? As you learn to eliminate unwanted obligations from your life, what are you making room for? When you can identify and embrace your priorities and focus on what you want more of, you feel more comfortable saying no.

I wrote an article you can check out here about my lessons learned about Shonda Rhimes’ book, “The Year of Yes,” as it has some valuable nuggets about when it’s good to say yes! Here’s another great article about saying yes the sexy, crazy way.

One thing that helps me stay focused on the right things is my non-negotiable list. Here’s my list to help inspire you to create your own list.


Four Personality Types to Watch Out For

If you are a people pleaser, trust me when I say that these personality types know it and they will capitalize on this weakness to get what they want. Here’s what to watch out for and how to respond:


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  • Bully: The bully keeps insisting that you do the thing he/she wants you to do and is even mean or aggressive. Keep your cool and don’t react to his/her aggressive tone.
  • Complimenter: The complimenter may start by telling you how amazing you are at something, or how smart you are, and then will ask you for help with a certain task. Don’t let flattery get to you and agree to do something just because you’re being told how amazing you are at something.
  • Guilter: The guilter will try to make you feel guilty by telling you that you never Calmly remind the person of the times that you have helped and deny the request.
  • Whiner: The whiner can (and will) keep complaining about how hard something is until you break down and agree to help without even being asked. Instead, either change the subject, avoid contact with that person, or simply say you’re sorry that the person is having such a hard time without agreeing to help.



Ditch overwhelm and stress www.freegifts.tandyelisala.com

Find something you said YES to that you really wanted to say NO to and SAY NO!  If that’s a stretch, you can practice saying no to strangers. There’s almost always an opportunity to say yes or no when shopping (everyone’s got their savings cards, a % off if you get their credit card, etc.).


If you have trouble procrastinating, here’s a good article with 4 tips to help overcome this habit! 

Comment below on what you will or did say no to. What’s your favorite way to say no? Let us know in the comments below. If this article served you, we appreciate your sharing this out on your favorite social media platforms.




Click here for your free guide: bit.ly/byeoverwhelm

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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12 replies
  1. Rachel Lavern
    Rachel Lavern says:

    I am among the minority of people who have never had a problem saying “no”. Since a child, I have freely said “no” when I needed to for the exact reasons you mentioned in this post–not in alignment with my interests, purpose, goals, vision, etc. I love some of your ways to say it.

    What I may work on is saying “no” more graciously because (to most people) I am not going to explain myself. As Phoebe from Friends said “Oh, I wish I could–but I don’t want to”.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      I think your approach from Phoebe from friends is AWESOME! Saying no that you don’t want to is a GREAT way to honor yourself, Rachel. I’ll add this to future revisions.

  2. Claudette Chenevert
    Claudette Chenevert says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your list of NOs. So many stepmoms struggle with this when it comes to saying no to her stepkids, the ex, her partner all because she doesn’t want to be seen as the Evil Stepmom. Whenever I need to say No, I stand up straight, pull my shoulders back, might even put my hands on my hips and declare my no with a firm and confidence voice. I also need to feel that this is the right thing to do as it’s prevents me from changing my mind in order to make the other happy.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Claudette, you raise two great points about this conversation… 1. Being SURE it’s a NO before saying no. The last thing you want to do is say no and then turn around and change your mind. 2. Your physical body language is powerful. I love that you stand up straight, pull your shoulders back and declare your powerful no! Love this. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Jackie Harder
    Jackie Harder says:

    I am a HUGE believer in the power of “no.” I love all your comebacks and reasons with the exception of “because.” It’s been my experience that adding a “because” is opening the door to additional attempts at persuasion. This is particularly noticeable with manipulators, who will come up with a half-dozen reasons why your “because” is not valid. I generally just go with, “Thanks for thinking of me, but no.”

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      I think this is great, Jackie. Being able to say NO in a concise way is best. My experience is that most people aren’t comfortable just saying no. You go girl!!

  4. Beverley Golden
    Beverley Golden says:

    Amazing information in this post, Tandy! Wow, there are so many ways to say “No” in a kind and caring way and yet so many of us (me included) seem to have a hard time actually saying no when we mean no. It is interesting to observe how many people are saying yes, because of either the personality type who is ‘encouraging’ them to say yes, or because somewhere along the way we all have learned that to be liked or to fit in, or for whatever reason, we need to say yes, even when we don’t really want to. I have people in my family who are wonderful complimenters and I am learning to be committed to my ‘no’, even though I know I could do whatever they are asking, and it would be helpful to them. As someone who really loves to help others, I often put myself second and others first. You offered so many valuable insights and tips, that if I practice and am conscious, it will be easier to say no and not to buckle.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Saying no is such a difficult thing for people to and I’m glad this article was so helpful for you, Beverley. Whether we are caregivers or leading our family, it’s important to know what our big YESes are so we can say NO to things that put ourselves last.

  5. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    GREAT idea here. I’ve never had trouble saying no. Ha! I say that and it’s not true. I can say it to most things, but I have a hard time drawing the line on team members who aren’t living up to their end of the bargain. BIG HARD NO. I’m going to do it now. Thanks.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Excellent, Cathy! I’m SO glad to hear that you will now tow the line with a big hard NO for team members who aren’t pulling their weight. Great job.


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