Veronica Tonay, Ph.D.

Assertiveness: How to Say No (since that's hardest for most of us)

Here are some helpful phrases to use when you want to say no, but don't know what to say! What many of us don't realize is that by letting others know what we want and do not want to do, we show our caring for ourselves...and also, for them. A well-timed 'no' lets friends know what you won't tolerate or don't desire. If you don't say 'no' when you want to, you risk complying with others and later feeling resentful. Resentment can poison relationships. Nourish yours. Say 'no' when you need to.

Thanks for thinking of me, but I won't be able to do it. I have too many other commitments.

I don't care to contribute, but thank you for calling me. (And, if necessary, 'please don't contact me again regarding this.')

No, I won't be able to help you out next week, I have too many prior commitments.

I would love to spend some time with you, but I'd prefer not to discuss Mike or his problems. Let's have some coffee while you tell me what you've been up to.

No, thanks ­ I'm not interested.

No, I don't want to.

No, I won't be able to, but thanks for thinking of me.

No, that's not convenient.

No, I won't.

No, I don't care to discuss it.

No, I can't make it but thanks for the invitation.

No, I disagree. Please make another recommendation.

No, I'm not comfortable doing that.

No, I'll pass.

Regarding unwanted sexual advances (saying all three if necessary, especially if approached more than once):
Nope, not interested. (And if the offender still persists, 'Go away.')
No. Don't do this again and I'll forget this ever happened.
No. There's nothing I'd like less. Never approach me again.

home ~ books ~ psychotherapy ~ classes + workshops ~ contact