The Power of Words: 5 Ways To Say No Assertively

No other word carries as much power and significance in our daily lives as the word ‘’no’’. Indeed, one may claim that all uprisings, revolutions and wars started when someone said no. ‘’No’’ is a great word. If uttered at the right time and place it becomes the embodiment of choosing to follow an independent path to the one other people carved for you or envisioned you taking.  However, this two-letter behemoth is not a word to abuse or misuse. The way you deliver your ‘’no’’ may be more important than the word itself. In this article, I will endeavor to demonstrate 5 ways in which you can say no in an educated and assertive manner:

The Direct No 

The first way is to simply say no. It’s pretty straightforward and you don’t need to offer any apologies or make further promises to go with it.

“Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“No, thank you.” 

The Empathetic No 

There is pure art in this technique. It involves acknowledgement of the other person’s feelings, then an assertive but very brief refusal at the end.

“I know you want me to have lunch with you and the children, Jill, but I can’t do it today”.

 “It must have been really hard for you to organise that party, but I can’t come.”


The Reasoned No 

This one is all about being brief and honest. You simply refuse the request and offer a genuine reason why you are refusing it.

“I can’t go out with you because I have to wake up really early tomorrow.”

“Thank you, but I am not really a big fan of 50 shades of Grey.”

The Raincheck No 

This technique allows people to say no to a specific request, without excluding the possibility that it might happen in the future. It’s considered good form to use this technique only if you actually want to meet the request in the future, and only when you have a specific date and time in mind.

“I can’t go out with you tonight, how about tomorrow night?”

“I can’t have lunch with you today, but I could make it sometime next week.”

The Enquiring No 

This is very similar to the raincheck technique. The only difference is that instead of suggesting a different date yourself, you ask the other person if they can provide you with an alternative themselves.

“I can’t help you with that today, is there another time you have in mind we could do that?”

“Is there any other time you’d like to go?”

Psychiatrists recommend that you say no to something at least nine times a day. The old saying goes ‘One no a day keeps the doctor away’. Make sure to comment below and share your most triumphant ‘NO’ moments.



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