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Ten Ways to Say No

No means no. A challenge I have seen in friends and in myself is the ability to say “no.” Regardless of where that difficulty stems from, here are a few ways I exercise my “No” muscle, whether I literally say “No” or I find a way to buy time to assess or reassess my circumstances:

  1. “Thank you for asking me, but I can’t commit to that right now.”

  2. “Although that sounds interesting, now isn’t a good time for me to take on something else in my life.”

  3. “I’m glad you asked. Can I get back to you on that in a few days?”

  4. “Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m already doing something at that time.”

  5. “It’s great that you thought of me, but I’m not interested.”

  6. “I appreciate the offer, but however…”

  7. “That sounds great, but I have other plans.”

  8. “I can’t take anything else on right now.”

  9. “I can’t at this time, but keep me posted in the future.”

  10. “No thank you, I’ll pass.”


Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.

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