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Tips to say “no”

Many of us have a hard time saying no. Several physicians have told me “I just need to get better at saying ‘no.’ “

In that spirit, here is a list of 50 ways to say no compiled by Claire Diaz Ortiz. While they are not meant for patient interactions, hopefully they will help you create some space in other aspects of your life.


50 Ways to Say No



No thanks, I won’t be able to make it.

Not this time.

No thanks, I have another commitment.

Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.

Sadly I have something else.

Unfortunately not.

I have something else. Sorry.

Apologies, but I can’t make it.

Maybe another time.

Sounds great, but I can’t commit.

I’m booked into something else.

I’m not able to make that time.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I’m not able to make it this week/month/year.

I’ve got too much on my plate right now.

I’m not taking on anything else right now.

Bandwidth is low, so I won’t be able to make it work.

I wish I could make it work.

Not possible.

I wish I were able to.

If only I could!

I’d love to — but can’t.

Darn! Not able to fit it in.


Rats! Would’ve loved to.

I’m slammed.

Perhaps next season when things clear up.

I’m at the end of my rope right now so have to take a raincheck.

If only it worked.

I’ll need to bow out.

I’m going to have to exert my NO muscle on this one.

I’m taking some time.

Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t.

I’m in a season of NO.

I’m not the girl for you on this one.

I’m learning to limit my commitments.

I’m not taking on new things.

Another time might work.

It doesn’t sound like the right fit.

My word of the year is REST, so I can’t fit another thing in.

I’m not sure I’m the best for it.

No thank you, but it sounds lovely.

It sounds like you’re looking for something I’m not able to give right now.

I believe I wouldn’t fit the bill, sorry.

It’s not a good idea for me.

Not now.

I’m trying to cut back.

I won’t be able to help.

If only I had a clone!

I’m not able to set aside the time needed.

I won’t be able to dedicate the time I need to it.

I’m head-down right now on a project, so won’t be able to.

I wish there were two of me!

I’m honored, but can’t.



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