Three Healthy Ways To Say No

We’ve all been there. Someone invites us to an event. Or worse, an employer asks us to either stay late or do something above and beyond the job description because we made the mistake of showing our employer one of our hidden talents.

With the former, there’s the creeping in the back of your mind. The fear of hurting the other person’s feelings. Making that other person feel rejected and maybe never get invited to anything again. With the latter, it’s a wave of quiet anger that stems from feeling overworked, underappreciated or both. There’s the fear that the employer may retaliate: play favorites, or withhold a raise or promotion when the time comes.

Luckily, there are multiple ways you can politely, professionally reject such requests while minimizing the damage. Here are three ways to politely say “No”.

1). “I appreciate the offer, but I can’t right now.”

This surefire trick opens with gratitude, something most people are appreciative of, and finishes with the rejection that leaves you open to other possibilities. You may have to extrapolate on this open-ended rejection, but it begins and ends on the right foot.

2). “I’m sorry, but I already have plans/time commitment.”

I’m not a fan of apologizing for a need to look after your mental health, but an apology is an easy way to asoften the blow. It recognizes that you’re regretful about not taking them up on their offer. People usually want the conversation to end quickly after this, and are not likely to follow up when you state you’ve already made plans. The exact wrong sort of employer will be angry at this, but in most cases, human resources should have your back. This is the Swiss army knife of rejections.

3). “No, thank you.

Simple, direct, to the point. Do not attempt this one unless you have a high level of confidence and you’re truly not worried about being countered. This is the most assertive rejection, best applied in employment situations. It may result in repercussions, but your mental health is more important than any job. Also, your friends may ask polite questions but probably won’t care much.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps.

Avery K. Tingle is a scifi/fantasy author currently residing in the Las Vegas area. Owned by two cats, he is passionate about social justice, Star Wars, and mental health. Connect to his award-winning writing and social media here.




Neurodivergent Creative, Authorpreneur, Rogue Christian, and Ally. Abuse survivor, writer and mental health advocate.

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Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

Avery K Tingle, The Gamer Author

Neurodivergent Creative, Authorpreneur, Rogue Christian, and Ally. Abuse survivor, writer and mental health advocate.

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