Reason #5 Why I Can’t Say No

Reason #5 Why I Can’t Say No:  I hate the sound of that word.


Ugh.  It’s like nails on a chalkboard.  Saying “no” is SO unattractive.  I’m not just talking about a toddler’s “no!” during a tantrum, though that’s irritating.  I’m mostly speaking of adult conversation, really, where sentences begin with the word “no”.  I once learned in a sales course NEVER to begin a sentence with that word, and for the record, they were RIGHT.

Negativity is exhausting.  It weighs down the corners of a smile, puts a sag in the shoulders and a shuffle in the once-springy step.

“No, I can’t,” or WORSE “No, YOU can’t.” Just completely unnecessary ways of putting it.  To me, the word “no” is somewhat like a curse word, in that it’s a default word for some, but there are MUCH more creative and pleasant ways of putting things when one puts forth the effort to do so.

So how does a person say “no” when she hates the sound of the word?  I’m glad you asked!  For your use, (and mine) I’ll provide below a list of suggested alternatives to the word “no.”

  • I wish I could.
  • Right now, it just won’t fit on my plate.
  • I have another idea!
  • I’ll have to pass on this. (My favorite, and by far the most effective.  Got it from one of my heroes.)
  • This is special, and deserves more than I’m able to give right now.
  • Ask me again next month. (or year, or century!)
  • Let’s try this instead…
  • I have all I can handle right now.
  • My cup is already overflowing!
  • I can’t fit it in.
  • I don’t want to disappoint you, but I just can’t.
  • It wouldn’t be wise for me to commit to another thing at this time.
  • May I recommend ………..?
  • Thank you for asking me!  Unfortunately I have to say no at this time.
  • I’m so honored you thought of me!  I’m sad that I have to say no. (See how much more palatable it is at the END of the sentence?)
  • ………….   just isn’t my specialty.
  • I’m keeping my resolution not to take on more than I can handle.
  • Awww, man!  I can’t!
  • Keep me in mind for ………., but …………. just isn’t for me.
And there we have it.  More than enough for a complete arsenal of pleasant ways to refuse a request.  Use them, my friends, they are free for the taking.  Anybody got one I didn’t think of?
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