Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Say No to Anyone (Even a Good Friend)

By Alexandra Franzen

It was the kind of email that makes your shoulders clench up tight, right by your ears.

A friend—not a super-close one, but one I respected and admired—wanted my help with a writing project.

Her deadline was seven days away. She just needed a few hours of my time. She was even willing to pay me. Would I help?

I took a deep breath, glanced at my calendar, and chewed it over.

Hmmm. I could probably squeeze this little project into my week if I juggled a few things around, woke up earlier, stayed up later, or carved out some time on a Saturday or Sunday.

But even just thinking about it, I was already feeling bitter and resentful.

The truth was, I simply didn’t want to do it.

The project didn’t excite me. The money didn’t make it any more appealing. I would rather have those hours to myself to work on my other projects. Or just cuddle with my sweetheart.

There was no compelling reason why I ought to say “yes!” to her request—other than just to “be nice” and “help out a friend.” And while I do love being a nice, helpful friend, sometimes, the answer is “not this time.”

It was slightly awkward, but I made my decision.

I was ready to craft a response and say “no.”

And let me tell you, it’s a funny thing—even as a professional writer and communications strategist who makes a living advising people on what to say and how to say it—saying “no” to a friend is still a tricky scenario. Especially when you’re nervous about damaging the relationship.

Read the rest here.


  1. Better yet do like me. Just dont have any friends. Its easy to say no to everybody else!!

  2. Is this how passive aggressive and sensitive the world is? You can't just tell someone no without a compliment and a dishonest explanation?