How to Respectfully Say “No”
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
We're often inclined to help others in need and that's great. However, sometimes you must say “No”.
While it's tempting to not respond, if someone respectfully and reasonably asks for your help, here are other options:
* If you genuinely want to help but cannot right now, offer a date when they can reach out again to ask.
* If you lack the time required, suggest a way to assist that require fewer hours or less effort on your part.
* Another option is to offer a substitute. First ask the person in mind if they're available.
* If you simply cannot help now, write a concise response. Be firm and respectful and wish them well.
You are not obliged to present an explanation. In fact, that may elicit a negotiation you don’t want.
When stressed, it's tempting to cut off many areas of our lives. Ultimately, that may not be consistent with our values.
It's reasonable to say "no" but remember how hard it can be to ask for help and consider taking a minute to respond thoughtfully and firmly.
If you have better ways to respond in this situation, I'd like to hear them.