When someone makes a request, it is always ok to ask for more time to think it over. Remember that "No" is an honorable response. If you say, "Yes," when you want to say, "No," you will feel resentful throughout whatever you agreed to do. If you are saying, "No" to someone whom you would help under different circumstances, use an empathic response to ease the rejection. For example, to your friend who needs you to drive them to the store, you might say, "No Susie, I’m swamped with homework, but I will let you know when I go later this week”
Start your sentence with the word, "No." It's easier to keep the commitment to say, "No" if it's the first word out of your mouth.
Why say no? – Focus on Quality not Quantity of Obligations
Saying No is not Selfish
When you say no to a new commitment, you are honoring your existing obligations and ensuring that you will be able to devote quality time to them.
Always Saying Yes is not Healthy
When you are overcommitted and under too much stress, you are more likely to feel run-down and possibly get sick.
Saying Yes Can Cut Others Out
On the other hand, when you say no you open the door for others to step up.
When to say no?
Weigh the Yes-to-Stress Ratio
Is the new activity you are considering a short- or long-term commitment? For example, making a batch of cookies for the school bake sale will take far less time than heading up the school fundraising committee. Do not say yes if it will mean months of added stress. Instead, look for other ways to pitch in.
Take Guilt Out of the Equation
Do not agree to a request you would rather decline because of feelings of guilt or obligation. Doing so will likely lead to additional stress and resentment.
Sleep On It
Before you respond, take a day to think about the request and how it fits in with your current commitments – and if you really want to be a part of the task at hand
How to say no - Focus on what matters
The word "no" has power. Be careful about using substitute phrases, such as "I'm not sure" or "I don't think I can." These can be interpreted to mean that you might say yes later.
State your reason for refusing the request, but do not go on about it. Avoid elaborate justifications or explanations.
Do not fabricate reasons to get out of an obligation. The truth is always the best way to turn down a friend, family member or co-worker.
Many good causes land at your door and it can be tough to turn them down. Complimenting the group's effort ensures that you truly would help if you were available.
Be Ready to Repeat
You may find it necessary to refuse a request several times before the other person accepts your response. Calmly repeat your no, with or without your original rationale.