Why is it so hard to say no sometimes? Or why do we feel compelled to do something or go somewhere when we don’t want to?

Many people struggle with setting appropriate boundaries with others, which often leads us to commit to things even when we’d rather not.

Often, we fear that the other person, will feel rejected or take it as a personal affront. Or we don’t want to disappoint or hurt someone. Maybe we are afraid of FOMO (that’s fear of missing out).

Psychology Today noted that women often have difficulty saying “no” more often than men because we want to get along, want to be nice and don’t want to hurt another person’s feelings.

My mom used to say all the time that it is okay to say no – that it was a perfectly acceptable response. I’ve learned the hard way on this and have overextended myself at times or gotten myself in situations that made me uncomfortable because of my inability to say those two little words. I have also failed to recognize the extent of a commitment and wound up piling on extra work onto myself several times.

I remember one situation in which an acquaintance wanted to borrow a new outfit of mine for a formal event, and I did not want to lend it to her. I made up an excuse about having gotten a stain on it after ignoring her text for days. I wish I had the guts to just say that I was not comfortable with it instead of procrastinating and making up a white lie.

Here are seven ways to say no – and remember it’s okay to say no!

  1. I’m flattered you asked me, but I unfortunately have to pass on this.
  2. You’re very kind to think of me, but I can’t.
  3. That sounds great, but I can’t commit at this time.
  4. Unfortunately now just isn’t a good time for me.
  5. I’m spread really thin right now, and I just can’t take on anything else.
  6. This isn’t not right for me or this is not something in which I am interested.
  7. I have to take a pass on this, but please let me know about other opportunities.


Remember that you can change your mind in most cases. Don’t get trapped by the belief that you only have one opportunity. There will be many more.

Now, that wasn’t so bad right?