Here are two ways to say “no”

You can be nasty or nice in the way you say “no” to people who would intrude on your time.

First, the nasty way. You’ve heard this retort to someone who won’t take your “no” for an answer:

“I use the word “no” as a complete sentence. What part of “no” don’t you understand?”

While the above comeback should be reserved only for those people you’re not worried about insulting, you must learn how to say “no” to certain people. Those are the unctious types who would intrude upon the time you need to do tasks that are important to you.

Besides, saying “no” can prevent you from becoming stressed out. You’ll certainly become stressed by being a “yes” person. So don’t  give yourself away until you’ve built a solid base of what you need or you won’t have the pizzazz to give to others until you give to yourself first.

Annie Carns learned this lesson the hard way. She’s the character in the Broadway musical “Olklahoma,” who described how split apart she felt emotionally in the song, “I Can’t Say No:”

I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no,
I’m in a turrible fix
I always say “come on, le’s go”
Jist when I orta say nix!

Like Annie, you “orta” learn how to say “nix” and “no” and “nada” and “no way José.” You need to protect your special gifts—those talents that need and deserve nourishment. Your gifts won’t blossom without being attended to. How can you carry the burden of responsibility for other people before you take care of you first?

How to learn to say “No” the nice way

Create a setting where you can grow by learning to say “no” to anyone who tries to intrude into your setting. “No” is a powerful word. Many of you feel uncomfortable saying it. So give yourself a practice session right now by repeating “no” to yourself over and over again for a minute. Now, didn’t that feel good?

It’ll feel even better when you learn how to say “no” to someone who tries to take advantage of your time. If that person persists, you can use the nasty version quoted above by saying,  “I use the word “no” as a complete sentence. What part of  “no” don’t you understand?” Or create kinder versions like three examples that follow:

“I appreciate your thinking of me but I’m not able to do such and such at this time.”

“I wish I could but it doesn’t fit my schedule at this time.”

” Thanks for asking, but I already have plans for that week.”

Don’t feel guilty after saying “no.” You’ve prevented yourself from becoming a doormat while saving time needed to perform tasks important to your job, career, or family life. However you say it, learning how to say “no” is a powerful tool.

To read more posts on Your Career Service blog,  CLICK HERE.

Copyright © 2016 by Ransom Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.