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Monday, January 31, 2011

Saying "no" with grace

NO.  Although there are only two letters in the word - "n" and "o" - when put together, they are apparently very difficult for some women to say.

Saying "yes" too many times, leads to a very cluttered life.  Here are a few tips for saying "no" with grace.

  1. If you know the answer is going to be "no," then offer it quickly.  Delaying an answer only adds an underlying stress to your life. 
  2. Keep your response simple.  A complicated response sounds like you are making excuses.
  3. Keep your response truthful.  There's always a way to speak the truth with love.  If telling the full truth would be painful (For example - I don't like you!), then look at the bigger picture.  Perhaps a simple response that you are trying to focus on existing priorities or simplify your schedule could be appropriate.  
  4. Close the door completely.  Don't say, "I'll trying to make it."  Or, "Maybe we can stop by later."  People see right through these comments.  Just close the door now so you can move forward.

I've found that write myself scripts for saying "no" helps.  I've got a few I use that are simple, honest and complete.  For example, if someone asks me to help with a project that I don't have time or interest for, I might answer:

 I’m trying to be a better steward of my time.  As important as this request is, I hope you understand, but I need to decline.

Most people can understand this type of an answer.  And there's no way to argue with it. 

Over-commitment is a rampant problem for women today.  If we learned to say "no" better, I'm confident we would be on our way to becoming more productive women.

Question:  What are your tips for saying "no" with grace?

Grace & Peace,



  1. Glynis, thank you so much for this. I struggle with this a lot. One thing I have recently done...it doesn't necessarily have to do with saying "no" but it has helped with me overextending myself. I am the Ladies leader at my church. Instead of everything being on me to handle everything I have asked for mothly volunteers. Jeannie signed up for February so in February, Jeannie will be my "go to" person. She will assist me in our fundraiser for the month, our meeting for the month or anything else I might need help with. This was not easy for me but I believe God spoke this right to my heart so that I would not get overwhelmed. Thanks again for all you do!

  2. Glynis, that was such a timely blog. I used to have a hard time saying "no", but anymore it is easier. I don't think one needs to give a reason, just a simple "no". I hope that younger women can learn this earlier than I did, cause it is so freeing to be able to be in charge of ones own life. Thanks again for the reminder. I so enjoy your blog.

  3. Glynnis,

    I'm so glad I found your blog! You speak wisdom and His truth to my heart! I read your devotional today (2-10-11) on Proverbs 31 Ministries and kept going on to your other blogs.

    This particular post is very close to my heart. In previous years, I have totally over-committed myself, especially around the holidays. I would get so stressed out about my "to-do" lists and it was driving my husband nuts!!! He, in his dear sweet way, put his foot down and said NO MORE! I was trying to be everything for everybody and it was wreaking havoc on my home life. So, with prayer and some struggles, I decided that, YES, MY TIME WITH MY FAMILY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO ME . . . AND THEM! So, I cut out just about everything except one local charity that is near and dear to our whole family and we participate in this together. I can now easily tell people NO and know in my heart that I am doing what's best for me and my family. I feel so much peace in my life now. Thank you for your kind words of wisdom on this subject! I also thank the Lord for His direction and guidance in this as well as the sweet admonition from my husband. My husband saw from the outside what was going on and was able to help me "reel" myself in.

    Many blessings to you,