Here are some examples to help you – try them!
1. Perfectly valid No: “I’ve been out three times this week. I’m staying home and reading books with the kids.” Say it like you mean it.
2. No—After-Saying-Yes No: “I’ve made a mistake. I shouldn’t have committed myself. I’m sorry. I’ll have to back out.” Hang up the phone and breathe a huge sigh of relief.
3. Five-Star No: “I’ll have to pass it up.”
4. No Right-Now No: “I’ve done it in the past, and I’ll do it in the future, but I cannot do it right now.”
5. Polite No: “I’m sorry, but my schedule doesn’t permit me to take on anymore obligations this (pick one) week, month/year/decade.”
6. No Way No: This one is for the teenage son/daughter who wants you to call your friends for a ride, so he/she can have the car. Look directly in their eyes, smile, enunciate clearly, say “NO”!
7. Diplomatic No: “It was so kind of you to think of me. I’m flattered you asked. I’m sorry I won’t be able to do it.”
8. Cowardly No Backed into a corner? Feeling low on energy or courage or both? Feeling somewhat desperate? Use this one: “My husband/mother/child/coach doesn’t want me to do that.”
9. Absolute No: I cannot do this. I don’t have the desire, the time, the interest, or the energy. NO; absolutely not. Never. Save this for special occasions.