How to Say “Yes” to You and “No” to Them

Note: This is a guest post by Brandy Morris. See Brandy’s bio at the end.

Congratulations! You’ve made the commitment to take your life back, create room in your schedule, and say yes to yourself more often. This is a big move!

As exciting as it sounds, it’s probably also a bit frightening. Saying yes to yourself often means saying no to someone else. When you’ve spent a lifetime putting other people’s needs ahead of your own, it can feel really awkward when it’s time to switch things up. Here are some awkward conversation basics to help you speak that powerful two-letter word more often:

Just say no

Whether it comes in the form of “Sorry, I can’t help with that,” or “Thank you so much for the invite but I won’t be able to make it,” or whatever other simple statement suits your fancy, you need to simply say no. Most times, that’s all people really need to hear.


Keep it simple

Seriously, the no is almost always enough. There’s no need to dress it up with a bunch of excuses and explanations. It won’t help you make the person feel better. All it will do is leave room for negotiation. The answer is no, not maybe. Make it clear by making it the feature of your response.


Tone it down

Delivery is everything. Your tone will determine the asker’s emotional response to your no. If you’re overly dramatic and apologetic – you’re telling them your response should hurt their feelings. If you slam a forceful no in their face like it’s a cast iron skillet – they’re going to think you could really care less. The goal is to show your care while also giving the impression that your mind is made up. Use a tone that expresses genuine care for both of you and be direct – it’s the easiest pill for someone to swallow.


Stay firm

If the person does come back at you demanding to know why you’re saying no, maintain your position by continuing to keep your responses simple. “I have a previous engagement,” “I don’t have the space in my schedule,” or, my personal fave, “I just can’t commit to this right now” gives an explanation without getting into the details. If they continue to push, simply repeat your original no with the same kind and firm tone you had originally.


You can do this! Remember that you are important too, that you can really care for someone and still say no to them, and that doing all the things for all the people is not the key to being a good person. These conversations, while awkward, are paving the way for you to show up even more fully in your life.

Now get out there and say no!




I’m Brandy Morris, Possibility Scout and Brilliance Instigator.  You can call me B.  I help service-providing solopreneurs manage their ideas, create fresh and brilliant ways to serve their people, and devise a plan of attack so solid they’re left without an excuse to drag their feet.

7 thoughts on “How to Say “Yes” to You and “No” to Them

  1. Cindy Brown

    It took me a lot of years to learn to say no. I never wanted to hurt someone’s feelings or disappoint them. Then I realized that by saying yes to everything everyone else wanted me to do and never saying yes to ME, I was living my life for someone other than myself. I forced myself to start saying no and it’s been brilliant. You can be nice while saying no and people understand and move on quickly.

  2. Lisa Landtroop Post author

    YES Cindy!! It is quite a ‘freeing’ process when you start to realize that you can do more good for both yourself and others when you say No to things that just don’t fit. It’s definitely an eye-opener!

  3. Burton Haynes

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