Saying no can be difficult. For me, I’m someone who always sticks to my word. If I tell you I’m going to go somewhere with you, you can bet I’ll be there. Because of that, I’ve always had a difficult time saying no to someone or going back on my word. I’m often stuck with crowded schedules, overlapping plans, and inevitable stress because of my inability to say no. Even if I know I don’t want to do something, I put off saying no for as long as possible because I don’t want to disappoint the person asking. Although I still struggle saying no to people from time to time, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do and that there is a way to decline politely.

My inability to say no probably stems from the fact that I feel like saying no to someone will make them angry at me. If a friend asks me to go to their work party with them, even if I’m exhausted from the day and that’s the last thing I want to do, I don’t want to disappoint them. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with saying no to an invitation. It’s important to be there for your friends, but it’s equally important to be there for yourself.

So, how exactly do you politely tell someone no?

1First, respond politely

Telling someone a flat out “no” to an invitation is probably going to result in disappointment or anger. If your friend is asking you to come with them to their work party, tell them how fun that sounds and thank them for thinking of you. “That sounds so fun, thank you for inviting me!” is a simple way to respond to an invitation politely.

2Second, explain why you can’t come

No one likes a cliffhanger, and no one likes a liar. So, be honest and explain why you can’t go with them or do that task. “That sounds so fun, thank you for inviting me! I would love to come, but I’m honestly exhausted from the day, and I don’t think I can make it out tonight.” They might be disappointed at first, but if you’re honest and explain why you can’t come, they are going to understand.

3Third, move on from saying no

Saying no to an invitation can often result in regret and FOMO (fear of missing out). If you answered no to your friend’s invitation, and then later on in the night see somewhere online how fun it looks, you might regret saying no. However, it’s essential to accept the fact that you said no and move on! Trust your gut.

Saying no to someone can be difficult and scary, but it’s necessary for our mental health to learn how to say no to things we don’t want to do.