nicole bensen

10+ ways to say no 🚫 (without apologizing)

When I was a kid, my school had candy bar fundraisers.  

Did you ever have to go door-to-door selling something, or stand outside Target asking people, “Hi, would you like to buy a candy bar for a dollar?” (Side question: have candy bar prices not changed in 30 years, or were we just charging a ton for a low-quality chocolate bar?) 

Anyway, I got a lot of, “No, thanks” and “Not this time.” Sometimes people gave an excuse, but most of the time it was a brief wave of the hand and some version of “no.” And I moved on. 

In the last few weeks I’ve had three, different corporate teams ask for resources and workshops on setting boundaries; it’s clearly a hot topic!  

So, if you’d like some ways to say, “No” without apologizing, here are some ideas:

  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m going to pass at this time/on this one.
  • I don’t have space for this right now.
  • The timing isn’t right for me.
  • This isn’t a fit for me.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I can’t.
  • I don’t think I’m the right person.
  • I’m not taking on new projects right now.
  • That doesn’t work for me/my schedule/my priorities.
  • Thanks for sharing. I’m not in a place to take this on.
  • I’m not able to say yes to this right now.
  • I’ve got too much on my plate.
  • I appreciate the offer, but I can’t.
  • Not this time.
  • Unfortunately, it’s not a good time.
  • I’m not able to commit to this right now.
  • Unfortunately, this doesn’t align with my [business/personal/home/work] priorities right now.

Save these on Instagram:

Link to 8 ways to say no without apologizing

Are you comfortable saying no?
What are some ways you’ve set boundaries for yourself?


P.S. Are we friends on Instagram yet? I share bite-sized wellbeing and happiness tips there.

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