Daily Archives: May 20, 2014

4 Steps To Saying No Gracefully


Are you someone who enjoys helping people but can get overwhelmed by too many obligations all at once? You do your best to juggle the calendar and be there for everyone but stress and dread creep in to try and defeat you. One of the simplest words can be the most difficult to say. So how do you say no gracefully without the guilt?

Accept that you can’t be a part of everything. Your heart knows your priorities. Saying yes to one thing, may mean saying no to what matters to you the most. If it’s your faith and family, write your intentions for them on your calendar. Writing it down will help you keep your top priorities. And don’t forget to set aside time for taking care of yourself!

Decline honestly and leave out the details. Simply state, “I’m so sorry I won’t be able to attend your fundraiser.” If declining feels awkward to begin with, offering a reason why may add to your discomfort. It could also invite the other person to twist your arm. Simply saying you are unable to attend will eliminate challenges. Have confidence in your decision, and yourself, and leave it at that.

Decline with kindness. Most people realize not everyone they invite will be able to accept.  Thank the person and offer her encouraging words. Let her know you will be thinking or praying for her on her special day. Follow-up with a notecard telling her how excited you are about her future endeavors. She will feel good despite your decline, and you will too!

Negotiate what you can do.  Offer the time and efforts you are able to give. Find out what help is needed and say yes to a portion of the request.  If you have been asked to volunteer during a program, agree to a specific time to greet guests or serve appetizers, for example. If the invitation is to a special occasion, like a baby shower, let the hostess know you are excited to attend but can only stay until 2 p.m. Setting boundaries in advance will alleviate stress you may feel when it is time to depart.

Staying focused on who is most important to you during those hectic seasons in life will give you the confidence to say no gracefully.  And you will feel good about what it is you can do for others, even if it’s on a smaller scale.


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