Can You Say No



One of the words which is hardest to say is No.

Have you ever said yes when you wanted to say no? How did it make you feel? Surely not good!

Now imagine a scenario where you always say yes to people’s requests, even if you have no time to do that task. Scary thought!

Once in a while, almost all of us say yes to a task/activity/person/people/group, even if we want to say no.

If it is your boss, your friends and family member or career opportunities, it becomes all the more difficult.

When you were a child, you always wanted to do the craziest thing. The most hated word which prevented you from doing this was No.


Can I have chocolate?


Can I go and hang out with my friends?


Can I wear my party dress to school?


Never go out of the house without shoes.

Oh! How nice it would be to eat all the chocolates,  go and hang out with my friends, wear my best party dress and be the center of attraction in school and go and play bare feet in the mud with other children.

As I grow up I find that I am saying yes a lot. Maybe my parents and peers have taught me to do that. We try all the time to be people pleasing. We feel that If we say no to someone, we fall down in their eyes. We want to be people pleasing for other’s approval.

Even at times when we say no it leaves a guilt feeling or we tend to lie to be convincing to others like I would have done it but I am attending my close relative's hospitalization etc. etc. We would rather do a thing which we do not like to do or becomes taxing to our already busy schedule.

Isn’t saying No worth it?

But most of the times we need the courage to take a decision of saying no to better career opportunities. Murmurs tugging from within me to say No. When anyone asked me “How is your work life?”

My reply was ‘I am busy and happy.” I was used to this glorified word busy. I was losing connections with my family and friends. I needed the courage to say no and slow down. I had prided on my work success but missing on certain things that made me happy.

The first thing that I got back was doing regular exercise. That really made me happy and boosted my confidence.

Next, I started writing or you can say spent lovely hours to pen down my thoughts and share them. I spent time reading the books which I had left somewhere in between in my busy schedule.

The fear of missing out when things come up reduced to a large extent.

Now I have time to sit for long watching the rising sun, children playing nearby, talk to my friends and family for long or just look at whatever is happening with a cup of coffee in my hand.

One of the toughest things is to say no to your boss at the workplace. Well, we cannot say no directly most of the times but we can say it without being seen rude or without the fear of job in a way that your boss or subordinate will not feel bad.

You are doing a project and boss gives you one more work on this one. How do you say No?


Can I do it after I finish my present assignment which you know is so important?

Can I submit the present work later and do this one now?

You are asked to visit a client to brief them on a forthcoming project. Although you are pleased to be asked, you do not feel you know enough about this project and do not want to visit alone.


Can I take Mr. X along with me? He is involved with this project directly or he is from that area and can handle the local issues etc.

Some work should have been sent out to a client. You know it is still unfinished in the office. Your boss has asked you to tell the client it is in the post. You do not want to be asked to lie on someone else’s behalf.

Response: It is in the process. Will reach you very soon.

You have a desk by a pleasant window in the office. A colleague says he is having headache and eye strain and needs to be close to the natural source of light. He asks if you would swap the place for him.


I am sorry. I understand your problem but this place is equally coveted for me and I would not be able to exchange it with you.

A colleague with whom you work closely has been coming back very late from lunch for the past few days. This means you cannot get on with the project you are both working on. Discuss the situation assertively.


I would appreciate if you are on time. 

I would like to go back home on time and this work is getting delayed if you come late.

You are called to see your Senior Manager. He tells you that they have reviewed your career and they feel that in your best interest you are being appointed to another job at a higher level. You do not want this job for several reasons. You do not like the person under whom you will work. The job is very narrow and specialized and does not interest you etc. Explain this to your boss.


I would like to work on this project for some more time.

My family obligation requires me to be here for some more time.

Can I be allowed to do this in addition to the next assignment?

So dear friends, listen to your heart and lead a life which you wanted all along. 


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