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How can I politely refuse to help classmates with their work?
I am the smart guy at school and people always want my help. I don't want to be rude, but they pester me and I try to escape but I can't -- I end up spending a lot of time helping them to do a homework task that they were supposed to do themselves, so I just make things quick (as in 2-word answers or something like "It's in the worksheet we have").
But it doesn't end there. Say we had to make a PowerPoint presentation or something, and the guys realize I finished it but they have not. They then tell me to e-mail them and say "Oh, we'll change the fonts and some of the words...". It is not even getting caught that bothers me (they're actually good at changing things up) it's that I don't want to give it to them.
I could just man up and say "No," but then these guys help me out when I need them (not in the same way; sometimes it's a problem or a question I can't answer I don't ask for everything and then "change it") so I don't want to rat them out.
How do I politely get them to stay away?
So someone wants a cultural tag, there it is. Also, the problem gets repeatedly when people get extended due dates, in which case I can't say "I'm not done" because I am supposed to have handed in the assignment.
- Related; not sure about duplicate: How to refuse someone asking for additional help “while you're at it”? – A J ♦ Mar 19, 2018 at 9:10
- There is a big difference between asking for help or working with someone to learn how to do a problem and outright sharing the answers or doing the work for them. Are you sure your friends won't see the difference? – syntonicC Mar 19, 2018 at 20:21
- A note to the answerers: Remember, not every asker is too lazy to do it. Others are honestly overwhelmed -- some because they just don't understand the work, some because they have a lot of other homework and no time to do it, and some because of pressure they feel to get better grades. So whatever you do, OP, please be sympathetic towards these poor souls. – Shawn V. Wilson Mar 20, 2018 at 17:14
- Are you willing to help if there's something in it for you (so it's not a waste of your time), or do you want to shut down their requests completely and permanently? – Kat Mar 20, 2018 at 23:05
13 Answers 13
I had to face the same problem with my classmates in my university often. After 2 years I decided to be clear about it. What I did was:
- Do my work without telling them that I have already done it.
- Helped them with combined studies, with the intention of helping them learning what we missed.
- Sometimes telling them that they need to do it themselves because they will not be able to learn anything if they copied my homework.
It is pretty clear that if we don't make them realize the problem with this behavior, it will always result in resentment.
There will be times, when you may need to tell people to just NO or go away. Try to understand it with this video
Realize that you are also saying no for their own sake.
To me, it seems that you are not at all unwilling to help. You will definitely help them if they face an actual difficulty. What you are trying to avoid is being exploited. Letting them exploit you is not going to earn you any thanks and not going to teach them anything useful for life.
You can decide in which situations you want to help out (for example if they have actual questions and ask for some kind of tutoring, or even if they had a family emergency and just didn't manage to finish the presentation). In other situations remember you are doing them no favor in the long run by supporting their laziness and letting them exploit you.
Basically, help them in the same situation and way as they would help you (giving them tips, instead of the full presentation, answering specific questions instead of doing their homework for them,...) This does not mean you are letting them down, instead, you are helping them in a more sustainable long-term useful way.
And you can tell them that. If they ask for your help, offer them the help you are willing to give. If they are disappointed to not get the "easy way out", explain to them why you are doing this. Explain how it is helping them in the long run. Explain that you will still be there in an emergency situation, but this is not one.
- 4 Strongly depends on the setting. If it's high school, they will most likely not care as they just dont want to work hard. If it's university it might work as they are most likely there to learn something. – MansNotHot Mar 19, 2018 at 12:37
- It's their problem if they want to learn the lesson or not. The question was about a polite way to get this to stop. Even primary school students will stop putting in the effort to ask when they realize it is not getting them what they want any more. – skymningen Mar 19, 2018 at 12:40
- 1 No what i mean is, if you tell someone that it's for their own good, they wont listen and continue pestering. At least this is how it was in my schooltime. Noone will easily stop pestering if he needs the homework till next class and has no time to properly finish it, for example – MansNotHot Mar 19, 2018 at 12:42
- 1 There is, of course, some time where you would need to "sit through it" and endure some pestering. People very rarely change in an instant. – skymningen Mar 19, 2018 at 12:49
- Agreed. And did not mean that this is a bad answer. Just wanted to note that the intelligent way might not work for some kids. – MansNotHot Mar 19, 2018 at 12:51
You are smart. Now, you need to act smarter. Apart from the answers given here which state that you mention that have not yet completed your work, you can be a little more diplomatic.
For e.g., X comes for help.
X : Hey, I need your help in this presentation. I would like to borrow yours and make changes. You : Hi. I have not yet completed mine. This one seems to be a little tough. Why don't we sit together and complete it.
Offer them to come to your place, have a small chit chat, eat cool stuff, have fun. This way you are also building a rapport with the other person and ensuring that the work gets done. Once the work is done, you could go to a near by pub or watch a movie and celebrate your small win.
This strategy might not always work. Other time, it could be delegation.
X : Hey, I need your help in this presentation. I would like to borrow yours and make changes. You : Hi. I have not yet completed mine. But, I have helped 'Y' with similar problem sometime back. Let's call him up and see if he is available. You could take his help.
Call Y immediately, put him on the speaker phone and engage in a simple talk and then tell him that X needs his help. And let X take it up from there.
This way, you are delegating the work without any negative connotation.
These strategies could vary from person to person and situation to situation. But, once you start acting, you'll come across a few ideas on your own.
Also, remember, you are just in school. May be here you are smart. Once you go to some other place, you might need help from others too. So, it is okay to give your peers the benefit of doubt and help them.
- 31 It's not that these are bad solutions, but you're thrusting the OP into the role of academic coach for these other people. Sometimes, when you've done your work, you just want to be left alone, not help others get their stuff done. – AndreiROM Mar 19, 2018 at 13:51
- @AndreiROM Yes, I do agree that we want to be left alone sometimes. Unless the OP devices his own techniques to keep people at bay, a blunt no will always sound rude. Once delegation comes into the picture, gradually people would understand how requesting for help with the OP works. This won't happen overnight. But, it would work. – WonderWoman Mar 19, 2018 at 13:55
- 4 You also assume the OP is old enough to drink in his/her native country. – mbomb007 Mar 19, 2018 at 19:47
- @AndreiROM I agree with it, but teaching others is the best way to learn – Ooker Mar 20, 2018 at 1:10
- 2 @mbomb007 In no way is there such an assumption. "you could go to a near by pub or watch a movie" explicitly acknowledges that going to a pub may not be an option. – pipe Mar 20, 2018 at 12:49
I've been in the exact same boat as you, and it's no fun at all. It's always awkward when your friends ask you for work they know you've done but that you don't particularly want to share. First, let me be clear, you do not owe them your answers .
Yes, they're your friends, but it took you a lot of time and effort to finish that assignment. When your friends ask you for work you've already done, they're asking you to dip into your own time further so that they don't have to dip into theirs. Frankly, that's not very nice. Obviously if it's once in a while that's different, but it doesn't sound like that's the case. Here's what I did to reduce the number of requests.
1) Drag your heels. It's 8:00 on Thursday night and your assignment's due next morning. Just like clockwork, you get your weekly text, "Hey, are you finished with the ____ assignment?" Ugh, of course you are. You've always finished it by now. The problem is, your friends know this, and that makes you a guaranteed source.
The next time you get that text, don't answer it right away. Give it half an hour or so. Then once you answer and they text you back, wait again. The idea is to break the mindset that you're sitting there ready to help whenever they want you to. If you all of a sudden become a slow source of information, they may look for a faster one. Or even better, they might even solve a lot of their work on their own waiting for you to get back to them!
Just be sure not to apologize for responding slowly (I wouldn't even bring it up). If you give them the impression you're supposed to be getting back to them right away, they'll keep expecting it.
2) Ask them exactly what they're looking for. Most of the time, if I let my friends describe what they needed help with, they'd end up asking for the whole assignment. So I pretty quickly started asking for specifics. When they'd say "I need help with this assignment," instead of asking "what do you need help with?" I'd ask "which questions do you need help with?"
This forces them to describe up front what they expect from you, in a bit of detail too. Usually, I'd get "we're having trouble solving questions blah and blah." or something similar (if you find you're still being asked for most of the assignment, look at part 4).
When you're giving them arbitrary amounts of help, it's easy for them to say "oh, I'm also stuck on problem 4" after you've solved 1-3. Asking them to lay it all out upfront makes it much more awkward for them to tack another problem on. Don't forget you're only in this position because they're asking you something that's awkward to decline. Don't be afraid to put them in an awkward spot too.
3) Be less certain of your answers. Yeah, this one's a little underhanded. If I just simply didn't want to give an answer (if I worked particularly hard on it, or if they'd already asked me for too much), I'd tell them I wasn't sure about it. The more they pushed, the "more certain" I was it was probably wrong. This does 2 things.
First, it gives some natural sense of pushback against their request. Making up an excuse and using it over and over forces them to ask you repeatedly for your work. I've found it's already kind of awkward to ask in the first place; sometimes they'll just give up instead of ask 3 or 4 times.
Second, you can't pass off wrong work as your own. If I make a stupid math mistake and they make it too, someone plainly cheated. Telling them your answer's probably wrong translates to it being a higher risk answer. There's always a chance that means it's not worth it to them.
4) Don't be afraid to draw a line. This one's a little tough, but you're going to have to do it sometimes. Sometimes step 2 doesn't work. They'll answer "what problems do you need help with" with "I just don't understand this assignment at all," or something similar. At that point, it's ok to say "I can't just give you the whole thing!"
Hopefully, your friends know they're putting you in an awkward spot to begin with. Drawing a line helps remind them you're not completely comfortable with their request. It also helps remind them that you aren't going to give them every answer they ask for.
If they continued asking me for more than I was willing to help, I'd start dragging my heels a little more. Don't be afraid to hold your help a little hostage. I know it feels mean, but once they realize that being too demanding translates to no help, they'll hopefully start requesting help at a more reasonable rate. Often I'd wait a little while then get a text saying "ok, we've worked out most of them, but we still can't work out numers 11 or 16," which is a request I'm more than happy to help out with!
- 1 "Yes, they're your friends" They don't seem much like friends to me when they are pestering the OP to let them benefit from his knowledge and hard work for free. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 20, 2018 at 20:31
- Pretty good advice but being direct and more assertive is a much better approach to save time for both parties. +1 for 4th point. – Muhammad Ahsan Jul 27, 2018 at 13:56
You are looking to qualify your statement of "NO", but I really don't think anything you say will make them take it any differently.
You have done it for them in the past, any way that you say "NO" now will be interpreted as a withdrawal of help.
As they are willing to help you out in other ways it doesn't sound like the classic scenario of the smart guy being taken advantage of at school. The likely reason they make these requests of you is because they don't think they are putting you to any trouble. You finish the work before them, so you are making it seem effortless.
You need to teach them some self-reliance. If you make it obvious you are doing this, they won't appreciate it. But if you don't reveal that you have finished your work, they can't expect the finished article.
Why not save an early version of your work (say, one-third complete) and when they ask for it say:
I haven't finished it myself. You can see my work in progress if you like?
If they ask for a more complete version just say you are snowed under with work and you are hoping to complete it the night before.
Again, if they persist as late as the night before or even the morning the work is due, tell them you are still working on it.
You may need to say:
I'm really struggling to finish all this on time. I haven't got time to discuss it, sorry.
This hopefully won't give them enough time to carefully edit your work as they have been.
Although this may not seem like an interpersonal solution because it involves a degree of deception, you are communicating to them that the work is not without effort. You are also still helping them to a degree, giving them a head start - but they will have to do more of the work themselves. Hopefully this will show them that you are willing to help but that they cannot rely on you doing it all for them. It may also suggest to them that the work is getting harder (as school terms progress it often does) and that they need to step up!
I like your two-word strategy – a good step in the right directon. It seems that you really want to do the right thing, which in this case will also give you your lunch back too.
Helping the power-point copiers is truly not doing them any favors. Even if what they are asking to copy isn't difficult work, time management is a big part of school. Of course, saying that to their face may not be an option for you so, here is a little plan I use for many similar situations:
- Plan on telling (whomever) the truth, but include the good with the bad (I know, I know, hang on for a moment.)
- Figure out what that truth is , and how you are comfortable expressing it. Here are some guesses at what your truth might be, probably a combination:
You really do want to help them. You would feel bad in a way about not doing it. But you end up spending you entire lunch hour doing everyone else's work. You're hungry and don't want to work through lunch hour! (And if you really want to "man up") "You know I would not be really helping you if I would do this" (with humor and an eyebrow raised) (Get a little mad?) You did this work last night so you could have your lunch hour free today. You don't want to be a but you are not comfortable with that. You're sorry, but you can't deal with it today. (On days – or months, you can't deal with it.)
Now, these truths/wordings may not be right for you (I am just a bit older than you are.) What is your truth about the situation? When you find that, I think you will know what to say to stand up for yourself,
Some possible crutches:
Do it one last time, and warn them, in whatever language you find useful. For example, You really want to help you out, but you are not comfortable doing this regularly, so after they are on their own.
Make a "rule" a "policy": You really want to help, but you end up not having time to eat – or, you have your own stuff to take care of today. (that can include having lunch, and socializing. We all need a break.) This has just gone too far, you can't help everyone, so you are not helping anyone for a while. You did your work last night/too many are asking for help/etc., so you made it a rule to not help during lunch hour.
By making a "policy", or "rule" (and you don't have to call it that necessarily, you can just say the rule), you sort of make it a general condition rather than a personal rejection. By saying "not during lunch hour," you are not closing the door, but you are limiting access.
If people drop you as friends for this, they were never true friends to begin with. I know that is a cheesy line but it is very true. There's a way to shake up one's thinking on a problem like this: Would you ever go up to a respected friend during their lunch hour and ask them to copy their work for you and miss their lunch hour? Repeatedly ? Sounds pretty presumptious, doesn't it? Your real friends will get over it. Those that don't may have been using you, which may hurt, but at least you will know. Would you be offended and drop the person if a person who had been doing you favors said that they couldn't do a particular one anymore?
If you have asked for a less-the-ethical favor in the past, you may need to deal with that truth too. Turn over a new leaf? Or pay your "debt" and then stop. Know too that many instructors will give you an extension of you are a generally a responsible student, and if something bad has happened. If a student broke up with their boy/girlfriend, and asked for an extension, many would give it. Stuff happens.
Setting boundaries like this is not easy. If you are able to do it, you will learn some important things about yourself. When I can't seem to be able to do something I want to do, I think about what is missing, what conditions, help, experiences, anything, would help make me "ready" to leap that fence. What conditions would make you ready to do so?
And, if you are worried about friendships, know that his is probably the most difficult time – in college, there are many more people, and you will find those who are a bit more like you, and probably thoroughly enjoy yourself. You are not there yet, but you sure seem to be on the right track. LF PhD
I had some similar situations while I was in school in the US, and I would encourage you to remember people are creatures of habit:
If you do their work for them now, next week they are presented with an option:
- Do it themselves
- Have you do it for them
That's a pretty easy choice if you're looking for the easy way out: they'll let you do it every time.
So, how do we fix this?
Set boundaries and stick to them: for me, there were two parts, which I held very firmly:
I will help them learn how to do their work, I will not provide answers or do their work for them.
I need to write a MySQL statement to get all the rows where the user last name is "Murphy".
I can answer this question, and I may be tempted to do so, but that doesn't help them (or me, in the long run). It just increases their reliance on me and I don't want them to rely on me for their homework.
So instead, I would guide them to discovering the answer. Usually after helping them through 3 or 4 problems they can then complete the rest of the homework themselves.
If they are unable to continue on their own, it's not my job to be their teacher : while I'm perfectly willing to help in many cases, I would also frequently suggest they go to office hours, seek out the TA, or go to the study center for help, as they needed more help than I was willing to provide.
I don't cheat/share answers/allow copying/etc...
You don't have to stick to this very long before people stop bothering to ask... but this also means don't expect them to let you copy a homework you stalled on. It's a two-way street, so be prepared for that.
I've had to have the hard conversation before of: "Even if I did your work for you, I might not finish in the time you have left. In the future, don't wait until 11pm for a 2 hour project due at midnight." And yes, they may blame you for their poor time management, but ultimately they aren't entitled to your help.
I'd also make deals like: I'll help you if you buy pizza. Then at least I'm getting "paid".
- 1 I had the OP's problem back in school; this is the technique that I tried that finally worked. It worked better for me than you suggest; most of them gave up before I helped them through one problem; they wanted a gimme or nothing. It also helped me more to do this, because later on I got a job as an official tutor - and this was exactly how we were supposed to do it, except with much more patience for them since we were being paid. – Ed Grimm Nov 13, 2019 at 6:08
Clearly your priorities are in the right place and your friends aren't. What I would do is inform them when you plan to work on the assignments. If your friends do not take this opportunity to work on their homework with you then they are the ones who are deciding not to take your help when they could have. Then if they decide to try and ask for your homework at the last minute you can tell them,
"No, I gave you the chance to work on the assignment with me earlier and you refused."
This puts all the blame on them and they can only get upset with themselves for not taking your help when you offered it to them.
How about selling your help instead?
I had this exact problem while getting my graduate degree. After some time, I had started charging for every homework I helped.
I didn't just start doing this without telling people, I told a few people in class who wanted my help previously and then they just spread it to others.
This stopped most people from asking and it made others pay for the help. I had more time to myself and more money.
- But this won't work in my case. "Come on don't be a rat! O my God why are you such a scavenger?..." So this looks out of place – user8979192 Mar 20, 2018 at 7:01
- 2 Handing people your answers to claim as their own is bad. Selling them is even worse. This is grounds for immediately dismissal from the educational institution, and good luck getting a job in your chosen profession after that. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 20, 2018 at 20:32
- @LightnessRacesinOrbit How is selling your help grounds for dismissal? I'm not saying he should be selling his homework I'm saying he should be selling his help . Also, even if he was selling or giving away his homework, how is that grounds for dismissal? Maybe, if the teacher is really strict, he'll immediately fail his class but a dismissal? Hardly. – John Hamilton Mar 21, 2018 at 6:41
- 2 @JohnHamilton The type of "help" described in the question was literally handing them the OP's work for only minor obfuscating modifications then passing off as their own. If you mean some other kind of help perhaps clarify that in your answer :) And, yes, doing other people's homework for them, for a fee, is obviously and absolutely grounds for expulsion. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 21, 2018 at 10:54
While some people here are saying you can learn to say no, I would personally find this difficult, probably because the people asking for help are my friends and I don't want to ever be the cause of tension between my friends and I. I suspect this is the same for you, and you're asking how to say no, or how to get out of it, without making your friends feel like you're not helping/dont care etc and that you're the cause for a bit of tension.
It so happened that my friend came to me once with the exact same problem you have while I was at university. My friend, and also my housemate, being on another course to me, was asking how she can tell a girl in her course 'no' aswell. My housemate was very smart, always studied, stayed in to study while others went out, and thus always got her work completed with plenty of time before the deadline. In the other girls case, she was late to class, didn't spend much time studying, had a part time job, and found herself with not much time before the deadline, and very little work completed. She had asked my housemate for help. But my housemate found that her definition of 'help' was to pretty much do the whole thing, or atleast be the brains behind the work.
My friend wasn't the kind of person to tell people 'no', as she was always shy and scared of confrontation. In the end she made up a lie and told the girl that she was stuggling to understand the material herself, and she didn't feel her input would be useful. She suggested to her friend that she contact the teacher/lecturer for advice as she 'did the same thing'. She may have given a small bit of advice such as "I think the lecturer wants us to explore [this] area of literature to find the answer" but not much else.
This did work for her, and the girl never asked for help again.
While some people may say that this answer is not useful because it may not be a true reflection of the original girls personality (not understanding criteria is not something that happened). However, it is a resolution that worked in this case. Perhaps her friend could see this probably isn't the case and figured out for herself that she was deliberately not telling her everything. But she never said anything.
And at the end of the day, it is still an easy possibility. Perhaps you could try something like that.
How about: "I'm sorry, I'd really like to help, but I'm really busy with a lot of things right now. Maybe later." You're still being friendly, and at the same time non-committal.
Frankly, it might be valuable to actually learn to say No. It might be one of the most important lessons you'll ever learn. I'm not talking about saying No all the time.. but well, try reading this: Say No without feeling Guilty
- 4 "Maybe later" can sound like a "yes" to someone who is looking for a yes. It may not help the OP in this situation, but rather just defer the problem. – Sam Mar 19, 2018 at 16:40
- 1 This is the opposite of strong refusal skills. If it's about feeling guilty, then your motives are wrong. You have to realize that it's not just about how you feel, it's also about helping them learn to learn . They have to be able to figure it out on their own and learn the material. – mbomb007 Mar 19, 2018 at 19:49
Try to get involve in some sports or other activities in your school/college. This will occupy some of your time in your school/college. So when someone tries to get their work done by you, You can refer them some authors or sites which will help them complete their work. If they insist you to do their work, tell them that you are involved in some other activity and you have more commitments. If they want you to mail your work to them, just say I'll do it after going home but don't do it. If they asks, simply say that you have poor internet connection at home.
- Making up excuses instead of helping them understand it’s the wrong thing to do is not being a friend. – WGroleau Mar 20, 2018 at 9:17
- A good friend helps you to do your work on your own, and a bad friend will do your work without explaining it to you. – Aruna Mar 20, 2018 at 10:01
I used to simply repeat (over and over), "I don't know," which worked each time until finally one of them laughed sarcastically and said, "Right, you don't know..." (shaking his head and giving me a look of desperation, as he backed away clutching his worksheet in sweaty palms).
But he knew it was a lost cause and they all stopped bothering from then on, for some reason. It didn't damage our friendship, because he continued to treated me with respect outside of that particularly challenging class (organic chemistry Lab, which was a 3-4 hour ordeal once or twice a week for 2-3 months).
And thereafter I never heard another peep out of the others, which was fine with me. It's possible that either he or the professor may have warned them, but I don't know for sure. Something happened, though, which relieved me of the burden of their demands.
And I wasn't lying when I said, "I don't know," because truthfully I had them on ignore , completely refusing to listen to their questions. I felt that was only fair, since they were interrupting my work and it was rude for them to make it more difficult for me, for their own selfish reasons. I often had to give them the shoulder and turn my back toward them, positioning my body between me and my paperwork -- so that they would see that I was busy and not interested, and that no, they could not look at it .
Because they were breaking the rules, and could have caused me serious trouble if I'd been more of a people-pleaser. Then again, they were doing that in class in the presence of the professor. This was years ago, long before I ever had eMail.
But the same principle applies, even today:
You should just politely tell your friends why you don't want to engage in that sort of activity -- I'm sure they'll respect your courage and your strength of character. And it will be a great opportunity to see who your real friends are.
Or you could simply ignore their demanding eMails. There is no law that you have to answer them. And ignoring them is about like saying, "I don't know." They don't need to know what you know. They need to develop some character instead, by obtaining the necessary knowledge on their own, with considerable effort on their part. Think of it this way: helping them cheat would do them more harm than good.
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Science of People
People Smarts for Smart People
6 effective tips to politely say no (that actually work).
If you’re like me, “yes” rules your life and “no” doesn’t exist. How do we say no without feeling bad? In this guide, let’s learn to say no together!
Table of Contents
6 tips to help you say no, switch out “no” for “later”, rehearse your no, don’t offer an explanation, do offer an alternative, use “no” body language, slay the procrastination dragon, bonus tip #7: ask vs. guess culture, why is it so hard to say no, we evolved to cooperate, we want to be liked and accepted, we don’t want to hurt others’ feelings, we don’t know how to stand up for ourselves, why you should learn to say no, saying no frees up time for yourself, saying no teaches you to step out of your comfort zone, saying no teaches you how to be assertive, saying no isn’t as bad as you think, how to politely say no to a job offer, how to say no to a date, how to say no to a friend who wants to stay at your place, how to say no to your boss, saying maybe is okay too, make great conversation, wielding your sword and shield.
Do you have a hard time saying no?
Here’s the truth: Saying no is hard.
There is a way to say no without being awkward, damaging relationships, or feeling guilty.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t have to jump straight to no.
Saying no can be tough.
But saying later? Much easier.
Make your default response to any request “Let me get back to you.”
Here are a few pocket phrases you can use to extend your no:
- “Let me check my schedule and get back to you later.”
- “I’ll have to ask my spouse if we have anything going on later.”
- “Nice suggestion! Let me think about that first, and I’ll get back to you.”
- “Great, let me see if I’ve got to pick up my kid from school that day.”
If you’re at work, ask people to text or email you their request so you can get back to them.
Once they send you a follow-up, it is much easier to send them a polite reply saying that you’re unable to agree to their request.
Or if you’re asked to pick up a friend’s cousin’s niece from the airport, tell them you’re busy—but maybe offer them a schedule of when you’re free later.
Pro Tip: Don’t rely on your laters forever. And try not to lie . Once your laters are used up, saying later again can just cause you to seem untrustworthy in the long run.
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Unfortunately, you might not always have the luxury of saying no to someone over text or email at your own convenience.
Sometimes, these invites or requests happen spontaneously and in person, requiring an answer immediately. To prepare for these situations, it’s useful to rehearse your noes beforehand.
- “Thanks so much for the invite, but I’m really trying to focus on my work these days, so I’m gonna have to say no.”
- “I actually have a lot on my plate right now, so I can’t help you out here. I appreciate that you thought of me, though! Good luck on getting it done.”
- “I’m sorry, but I told myself I really have to go to the gym tonight. Actually, I’ve vowed to go to the gym consistently so I hit my New Year’s Resolution—I hope you can understand.”
If you’re afraid of coming off as robotic or unnatural, it helps to rehearse these lines in front of a mirror.
Or, if you can, get a friend or family member to do some fun role-playing with you!
Offering an excuse may seem like the polite way to decline a request, but it sets you up for an awkward situation.
Here are a few examples:
- You decline someone’s invitation to go out for coffee because you already have plans on the day they requested… then they ask you what day works best for you.
- You tell someone you can’t go to a party because you have no one to watch the kids… they offer to let you bring your kids.
- You apologize for not being able to help someone with a project because you’re working toward a major deadline… they reply that they’d love to have your help once you’re finished with your current project.
No matter what excuse you offer, people who are determined to get you to say yes can—and WILL—come up with a way to reel you in.
But the solution doesn’t require an entire fisherman’s tool kit to score. In fact, I want you to be more like a nimble spearfisher instead.
Here’s what to do in 3 steps:
- Thank them for the offer.
- Tell them you can’t agree.
- Offer no explanation.
Realize you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Of course, being blunt with your no doesn’t mean being rude. Even if you don’t offer an explanation, you can still soften the blow by being polite and appreciative.
For example, instead of a curt, “No, I can’t do that,” you could say, “I’m really sorry, but I just don’t have the bandwidth to take this on. I appreciate that you thought of me and best of luck!”
If the person asking you for something is someone with who you want to maintain a positive relationship with, you can lessen the impact of your no by offering an alternative.
- If someone wants you to collaborate with them on a project, introduce them to someone else who might be interested.
- Your new friend invites you to a bar, but loud places and drinking aren’t your thing. Ask them if they want to grab coffee or do another activity instead.
- An eager young employee in your office offers to help you with an important project, but you fear their involvement would slow down progress. Ask them if they want to work with you on a lower-pressure project instead.
The goal is to offer a compromise so they don’t take offense to you saying no, and you don’t feel guilty for turning down a request that would add unneeded stress to your life.
Does your body say yes or no?
Depending on what you look like, your body can give away immediate answers even before you speak.
After all, according to Darioly and Mast , about 65 to 90% of our communication is nonverbal.
So even before you open your mouth to say no, try saying no with your body:
- Turn your torso away. Imagine someone you really dislike is trying to hug you—and this would be exactly the thing you’d want to do. Turn your torso so you’re not facing them. Whatever you do, use your body to signal no!
- Cross your arms. To further cut off communication, close off your chest by crossing your arms. This is a naturally defensive and unfriendly posture we take when we feel “guarded.”
- Point your toes away. Notice a pattern? Our feet tend to point toward where we want to go—so point them away to signal your interests lie elsewhere.
Once you signal no with your body, your potential asker may get the message nonverbally. If not, your body will make it a lot easier for you to say no too.
And if you want to read up more on how you can close up your body language, read on! 16 Essential Body Language Examples and Their Meanings
A large part of why it’s hard to say no is likely because you’re a big procrastinator.
Or you get distracted with things that don’t fulfill your true purpose .
Why? Because if you have a hard time saying no to others, you likely have a hard time saying no to yourself:
- Should I go out and spend all day with my friends, when I should really be studying? Sure!
- Should I eat this whole pint of ice cream, even though I’m super full? Why not?
- Should I delay this project, even though it’s due tomorrow? It won’t hurt much!
Can you relate to giving into these time-wasters?
You see, the Procrastination Dragon is a fearsome monster that thrives on wasting time —and the only way to stop it is to slay it with your sword… and that sword is named NO.
So here’s a fun exercise to do:
- Every night before you go to bed, name 3 time wasters you wanted and gave in to that day. Take a look in the mirror and say these things. Here’s one of mine: “I want to spend my lunch break watching funny YouTube videos instead of preparing for my upcoming meeting.”
- Now, after you say these things, tell yourself NO.
- Repeat this as many times as you need to be effective.
By telling yourself no, you condition yourself to accept no as part of your reality—and saying no to others becomes that much easier.
Have you ever heard of “ask vs. guess culture”?
The “ask vs. guess culture” is a term that describes two different ways that cultures or people use to interact with one another. In the ask culture, people are typically described as direct and more open to bluntly asking yes or no questions. In the guess culture, individuals rely more on subtle context clues and shy away from being so direct.
People who lean toward the ask culture typically face more rejection and disappointment since they always ask questions, instead of “guessing” what the other person thinks.
For example, if they don’t clearly understand a procedure, they may ask for further clarification from the supervisor, instead of relying on their “gut feeling.”
Askers are naturally better at saying no than guessers. Since they ask so many yes/no questions themselves, they’re much more used to hearing no and moving on.
People in the guess culture, however, tend to shy away from the verbal no, since they rely on nonverbal cues much more.
If you tend to have a hard time saying no, it’s likely you belong in the guess culture.
Here are a few examples of how an asker and guesser might interact:
- A: “Hey, can you finish the video edits by tomorrow?”
- A: “No, I don’t think that’s possible. I’ve got too many tasks lined up.”
When two askers converse, they’re direct. They don’t leave any room for guessing because they answer with yeses and nos and expect a yes or no answer in return.
Asker to a Guesser:
- G: “Uhh, can’t you see I’m a bit loaded here? Don’t you know how many tasks I’ve got lined up?”
- A: “Sorry! I just wanted a straight yes or no answer.”
When an asker converses with a guesser, there might be more room for miscommunication. The guesser might feel offended that the asker is so blunt or unaware of context clues.
And, the asker might be wondering why the guesser can’t give them a straight answer or thinking that the guesser wants the asker to “read their mind.”
Guesser to an Asker:
- G: “Hey, are you busy right now?”
- A: “No, what’s up?”
- G: “If you’ve got time can you get those video edits to me?”
- A: “Sure! I’ll get it done as soon as I can.”
- G: “Thanks!”
As you can see in this scenario, the guesser doesn’t ask directly. They might soften the question by using a preliminary ask, such as “Are you busy?”
Then the guesser might typically ask their question but avoid imposing any direct deadlines—even if they want something done by tomorrow, they may not explicitly state their needs.
Why are we all people pleasers ? Why can’t we prioritize ourselves? Why do we feel stomped on?
Besides our “ask vs. guess culture” differences, let’s take a look at some more general reasons.
OK, let’s admit it. You like the company of other people.
Maybe not everyone, but you sometimes get lonely if you isolate yourself and feel the need to interact every once in a while.
That’s perfectly normal since we’re all sociable creatures!
Fine-tuned by millennia of natural selection, we as a species have evolved with more or less a built-in desire to avoid conflict, keep the peace, and help out others… even if it comes at our own expense.
Helping out others with no immediate benefit (or even harm) to ourselves is known in the world of evolutionary biology as reciprocal altruism .
That’s when animals (including humans!) do things to temporarily lower their own evolutionary fitness while improving someone else’s, with the expectation that the favor will be returned at some point.
Reciprocal altruism is just one piece of a larger puzzle that seems to suggest that cooperation and social harmony , not competition, were the primary drivers for the advancement of our species.
In other words, we literally got to where we are as the most intelligent species on the planet by scratching each other’s back and getting ours scratched in return.
So saying no to someone is, in almost any context, a pretty clear way of indicating that you don’t want to cooperate.
Combine this with the idea of reciprocal altruism, and it becomes pretty clear why so many of us can’t help but instinctively say yes to everything that’s asked of us.
In addition to cooperation, another fundamental component of evolutionary fitness is social acceptance and belonging .
Naturally, saying yes to others is a great way to gain acceptance and shield ourselves from social rejection.
However, a person’s desire to seek acceptance can vary greatly among the population, depending on a multitude of factors, all of which can influence your propensity to be a yes man (or woman!).
Perhaps the most straightforward predictor of one’s need to seek acceptance is self-esteem.
According to the “ sociometer theory ,” self-esteem is a measurement of our cumulative experiences of acceptance (and rejection) in interpersonal relations and interactions over time.
In other words, our self-esteem is directly correlated with our life experiences.
There are ways you can increase your self-esteem , but a large part of it is molded from our past and dictates our propensity to be yes people.
So those with low self-esteem will be more likely to exhibit people-pleasing behaviors, including being unable to say no to others.
Then there’s your attachment style, one of the most influential concepts in developmental psychology.
According to attachment theory , the way we’re raised by our parents can lead to the development of four main attachment styles in childhood (secure, ambivalent, anxious, and disorganized), which can go on to have a lasting and profound impact on the way we form relationships with others when we’re older.
Children with anxious attachment styles (i.e., ambivalent and avoidant, which generally form as a result of neglectful, careless, or inconsistent parenting) tend to grow up struggling to form relationships with others.
To outsiders, they may come across as needy, insecure, and—most relevant to our topic—desperate for validation and acceptance.
Have you ever laughed at a joke when it clearly wasn’t funny? (“Dad, please stop with the jokes already.”)
On the flip side of desiring acceptance is the desire to make others feel accepted.
While many of us struggle with saying no, it’s also true that asking others for favors can be intimidating too, primarily because of the fear of rejection.
Indeed, a 2016 study found that people have a tendency to heavily overestimate the chances of a stranger saying no to a random request like using their phone. In reality, people are a lot nicer than we think—or, like you and I, they just have trouble saying no…
Whatever the case, we tend to have an empathic understanding of the fear of rejection, often leading us to say yes to spare their feelings.
Growing up, most of us are taught to be respectful and agreeable:
- “Don’t question authority.”
- “Keep quiet and listen.”
- “Follow the rules.”
It can become difficult to recognize when we’re sliding down the slippery slope from respecting others to not respecting ourselves.
When you constantly say yes to everybody, you set yourself up for exploitation.
People will see you as an easy target, a pushover, and start taking advantage of your agreeableness.
Take, for example, a slacking colleague at work who asks for your help completing a task, knowing that you’re a diligent, productive employee.
You say yes, of course, because why wouldn’t you? Then he comes again. And again, and again, without offering anything in return, sapping you of the time and energy to continue doing your own work to the best of your ability.
Often without even realizing it, we get used and abused because we just don’t know how (or when it’s appropriate) to stand up for ourselves.
As we learned earlier, many of us have a hard time saying no in part because it’s evolutionarily ingrained in us. But just because something is the way it is, doesn’t mean it ought to be.
Don’t take it from me, though.
Steve Jobs once said:
But you don’t have to be the CEO of Apple to harness the power of no.
Here’s why you should:
This one’s pretty obvious, but there are only 24 hours in a day, and most of us have so much we want to do and accomplish with that time.
Whether it’s striving toward professional ambitions, working on personal passion projects, or even just finding time to rewind and relax, being constantly bombarded with tasks that help other people meet their goals doesn’t exactly help YOU.
Sure, you can help others…
But if you don’t make yourself priority #1, who will?
Like talking to strangers, taking cold showers, or giving an impromptu speech at a social gathering, saying no is an inherently uncomfortable thing to do.
And that’s exactly why you should do it.
Self-help gurus have raved about the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone for time immemorial, and for good reason:
When you routinely do things that are difficult, you’ll slowly build up the courage and confidence necessary to take on bigger obstacles in your life.
This means saying NO to fear and saying YES to courage.
When you say no, you’ll find that learning to do so will directly translate to an easier time in all other areas of your life… especially if you’re an awkward people pleaser like I was.
Things like asking your boss for a raise , asking your crush out (or, conversely, dumping someone), or giving someone negative but constructive feedback all become just a tad bit easier.
We are, at our core, social creatures, so invest in your social savvy and you will reap the dividends!
The world values people who take control, speak their minds, and are vocal about their needs and desires.
After all, if you want to create real change, you must vocalize your idea first.
This is true everywhere from the corporate world (assertiveness is a strong predictor of career advancement ) to school (every group project needs someone to take the reins) to sports (great players need to be assertive to lead) to even your interpersonal life (imagine how annoying social outings would be if everyone in the group just said, “I’m okay with anything; you choose!”) and everything in between.
Consider saying no as the training wheels for developing assertiveness!
Lastly, it’s important to recognize that many of the reasons that make it difficult for you to say no in the first place (e.g., being disliked or hurting the other person’s feelings) are mostly in your head.
Sure, there’s always going to be the odd person who’s overly sensitive and takes things the wrong way, but most well-adjusted people are used to rejection. It happens to the best of us in every facet of life, so what’s one more?
If anything, it might even make them respect you a little more… particularly if you were being taken advantage of before.
And if you’re trying to say no in a particular scenario, here’s what to do:
This one stings, but being desired by an employer you ultimately don’t want to work for can be painful—you don’t want to get their hopes up, but you’re afraid of saying no and hurting their feelings.
The first step is not to get too worked up in the first place.
But if you’re past that stage, you might want to try one of these nos:
- “I realize I want to work for you, but I don’t think I have the capacity at this point in time to give it my 100%. There are just too many personal circumstances I’m dealing with right now.”
- “I’ve decided to go with a different employer for now; however, I appreciate the time and effort you put into the hiring process.”
- “I’ve ultimately decided my commitment to my current employer is much stronger than I’d realized.”
- “After taking some time to think about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t think we’d be a great fit. I’m looking for a different type of job, but I wish you all the best in the future!”
Dating can be rough.
Luckily, you don’t have to say yes to every single one of them.
… Or do you?
If you’re struggling to find dates, then perhaps saying yes is the way to go. But if you know exactly who you’re looking for, and that guy or gal just doesn’t fit the billm, then you need a polite rejection. Add on the following in bold to make it a bit more gentle :
- “I’m just not looking for a date right now, but we can just hang as friends instead. ”
- “I’d rather focus on my work/school, as it’s my #1 priority. However, we can still study or collab together!”
- “The timing is not good for me, as I just left a relationship not too long ago. But we can still keep in touch! ”
- “Sorry, I have strong feelings for someone else right now. But I’m having a house party soon— why don’t you invite your friends, and we can all have fun? ”
- “Sorry, I don’t want to ruin what we have. Let’s continue being friends! ”
Have you ever randomly received a text from your high school friend that went something like this:
“Hey, Vanessa! I’m in your city right now. I know we haven’t met in over a decade, but can I stay at your place?”
If you’re not feeling as generous as a CouchSurfing host, you might want to implement one of these polite letdowns:
- “Sorry, there’s not enough space in my home right now.”
- “Oh! I’m actually going to be out of town during this time to visit my relatives/for a work meeting/etc.”
- “I just asked my spouse, and they said they’re really busy these days and would rather avoid having someone over—sorry about that!”
- “We’re actually in the middle of renovating the home right now! There’s so much stuff around that there’s no room to fit an extra person. I hope you can understand!”
- “I actually have my stepparents sleeping over this week!”
- “My house is as small as a cardboard box—no more room left here!”
Nobody wants to say no to their boss, but sometimes you have so much on your plate that piling on more work would seem impossible.
In that case, here’s how to say no without going overboard:
- “I wish I could help you, but I have a rush project right now, and I’m trying to meet the deadline. I just don’t think I’d have the capacity right now.”
- “In that case, can you give me an extra couple days to finish my other X project while I prioritize your task?”
- “I’d love to help, but I already made plans with my family tonight.”
- “I just feel really burned out now; perhaps after a good night’s rest, I’ll be more productive later.”
- “I’ve really got to prioritize the Y project. If it’s not critical, can you please hold off on other tasks so we can prioritize this one for now?”
- “I might be able to glance over it quickly, but I don’t think I’ll have the time to put in concentrated effort until next week.”
- “This task sounds really interesting—I’d love to get to it! But I don’t think I can meet your tight deadline. Could we perhaps push it back to a later date?”
If you haven’t noticed already, saying maybe isn’t exactly saying no.
Sometimes, you might really just need time to think over something.
Maybe you really want to help out on a project because it’ll benefit you too, but you’re not immediately sure how it would fit into your schedule.
Maybe you really do want to go out to a social gathering or meet an acquaintance for coffee, but you don’t yet know if your work schedule can accommodate it.
In cases like these, it’s okay to get back to them after you mull things over. Be honest and say, “I’m interested, but let me get back to you.”
The key here is to make sure you actually get back to them .
Too many people use maybe as a gutless way of saying no before ultimately either forgetting about the plan or pushing it off again and again until the other party finally gets the hint.
Make no mistake: if you do this too often, people catch on, and it’ll sour their perception of you way more than if you had just said no the first time.
Saying no is important, but just one facet of having a great conversation.
Time to take your conversation game even further and develop your personal growth with this free toolbox on enriching your self-improvement skills!
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If you’re looking for even more say-no knowledge, check out this amazing TED Talk from entrepreneur and public speaking expert Kenny Nguyen.
With his analogy of “no” being the shield to the sword of “yes,” Nguyen argues that we should learn to fight strategically in the battle of life. When do we block versus strike?
Learning to wield our shield effectively, according to Nguyen, will result in sacrificing opportunities in the short term for even greater opportunities in the long term. As powerful of a warrior as you may be, you won’t last long if you don’t know when to block!
Believe it or not, you can prioritize yourself while still maintaining social harmony.
The truth is, most well-adjusted people can take a no. They won’t instantly dislike you and they won’t be offended, especially if you’re respectful about it.
So challenge yourself to put yourself first. Learn to say no, and see how drastically your life changes.
And for further reading, take on this amazing article to really be more confident: How to Be More Confident: 11 Scientific Strategies For More
3 replies on “6 effective tips to politely say no (that actually work)”.
Thank you for the great article. I will definitely use these steps in the future. I am the one who struggles to say no most of the time despite the busy life. Especially love the one Do offer an alternative. I am trying to use it most of the time. It works!
This was great! Thank you… would you be able to role play saying no? Maybe a few different scenarios?
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How do you say no to someone who wants to copy your homework?
A little background... Im the loner type in my class, not by choice. Im socially awkward/inept and a bit of a weirdo, so i dont have many friends. It annoys me when someone i dont talk to would only come to me when they need something from me, i feel used after the fact and i end up feeling annoyed with myself when i cant say no. The main reason that i cant say no is because i dont want to further damage my already bad reputation of being a loner/weirdo.
P.S. sorry if this post is all over the place, this is my first post and i didn't really plan it ahead.
Tell them to fuck off
Yes. "Fuck off. Do your own work."
You should sound irritated and angry, because it's irritating and angering. They're pressuring you into academic dishonesty, which can easily get you a failing grade in many schools. If they try to bargain with you in school, get loud. Turn to them and say very loudly, "No, I will not let you copy my homework!" They don't want to attract attention to what they're doing. They'll give up.
These people are using you. They're not your friends, and aren't trying to be. They only talk to you when they want something from you, and they don't do anything for you at all. That's not right. Stop caring what they think about you because their opinion isn't worth bothering about if they're going to treat you so disrespectfully. You deserve to be treated better than that.
Having a reputation as a loner or a weirdo is much better than having a reputation as a doormat or a cheat.
They’ll respect you a whole lot more the day you stop acting like a pushover. There is nothing to fear so don’t get scared when they ask. Tell them they don’t deserve to copy it because of how magnificent it is.
Just scream “no, I’m not gunna take my pants off” every time they ask
Do a copy of all wrong answers then give to them. Twice and they will fuck right off.
Hmmm... Maybe i will 😈
Integrity is far more important than reputation. It won’t matter in a few years what they think of you- heck, it doesn’t really matter now.
The adult part of me that's been out of school for decades says you shouldn't worry about your reputation in high school because it counts for exactly jack shit once you graduate.
But I was there in your shoes, way back when, and, to be completely honest, I got used all day and sideways.
But you're here for advice. In retrospect, I would have told them I didn't want to be responsible for their grade and then, after they insisted, done a bit of extra work to gin up and hand off obviously bogus homework. When they get their failed paper back, play innocent, referring back to your initial concern. What are they gonna do? Make fun of you for not knowing what they obviously didn't know and didn't bother to learn? If they pay enough attention to your superior grade and deduce you're gaslighting them, then what? Are they going to publically admit to cheating off your work without proofreading it?
I'm hoping that they aren't in college yet, but will be fairly soon. People that can't do their own homework become the unpopular people when you major in something that requires a challenging courseload.
Tell them to never bother you again. Those people gave me the false sense of hope that I was worth something to them in middle school and high school. You’re better than they think you are. Waaaay better.
Don't tell them to fuck off, you're just asking for hell. If you're interested, I'd give it to them and ask for some homework in return in the future. You may not be into that, but it could help form some bond between classmates. If you're adamant about doing your own work, (which is commendable) I'd be polite but affirming and tell him how you feel. Hope it all works out for you.
It’s scary and intimidating. You could get bullied. I’m not sure what to say. I’ve never been able to say no out of fear.
This is exactly my problem. I want to "lay them down gently" Does that make sense? So that they dont think im a worse person than they already think i am.
Look them in the eye and say “Fuck off, do it yourself”. Then smile and go back to what you were doing.
Look them in the eye, a stern no and then go back to your business. Simple as that. Don't swear at them sincr you want to let them down lightly.
There’s no need to be rude or mean about it. Simply say no. Be polite, yet firm and unwavering. They very well may dislike you for it, or say mean things about you either to your face or behind your back. But you will greatly benefit long term, in regards to your reputation, your happiness, and your self-respect.
Thanks! Great advice! I'll actually try this...
This is giving you a bad reputation. They don't view you as an equal or respect you.
Pull out your Mp4
How to say no politely and professionally.
Do you find that you have a hard time saying “no” when something is asked of you? I felt like this for most of my life and still fight the urge not to immediately blurt out “sure!” when someone asks me for their help. I could probe under my mental hood for why I have this innate inclination to say yes but at the end of the day, it’s simply part of who I am. I know I have a lot of company in feeling this way.
There’s a whole plethora of books and reading material on how to say no to the many things asked of us in life. Many of us are raised in such a manner that we feel we should always be helping others. That we should always be willing to lend a helping hand whenever possible. And many of us are taught that to get ahead in our work life, we should be willing to “do what it takes” and take on additional responsibilities.
You have to work hard to get to the top of your profession. And these things are true to a point. It’s when we always say yes to things that are asked of us that we risk burnout and overcommitting ourselves. With that let’s look at how to say no politely and professionally.
Table of Contents
- Why Saying Yes all the Time Isn't a Good Thing
To Your Boss
To your colleagues, to your clients, in your personal life, bottom line, more about the art of saying no, why saying yes all the time isn’t a good thing.
There’s a well-used term for people that say yes to everyone and everything. It’s called being a people-pleaser . And I was a world class people-pleaser. It’s not bad, of course, to help out when asked to or pitch in when needed. The problem arises when you say yes to everything.
In short, you realize you are living your life for others and not for yourself. Saying yes to everyone all the time can lead to some bad long term issues.
One of the worst things that come from saying yes all the time is a growing feeling of resentment towards others. When your friend who never does his homework asks you yet again for your notes, how does that make you feel when you slide them over to him?
One time, I was training a new person on my team. I showed them how to do something. And then I showed them again. And again. After a few months, I realized I was doing a ton of this person’s work simply because they asked for my help again, claiming they didn’t quite get it.
When I realized what was going on, I told them it was time they figured it out on their own. I woke up to how resentful I was to be working with someone who took my kindness and turned it into a way for them to do less work.
Mentally and Physically Fatigued
Something else that commonly happens when we say yes all the time is we become fatigued, both mentally and physically. If you have to lose sleep in order to check everything off your to do list and a lot of that is for other people, you’re going to wind up getting more and more tired.
I know from experience when I am trying to tackle too much, I have a hard time sleeping because I can’t shut my brain off. I can’t turn it off because I keep thinking about everything I have to take care of, much of it not impacting my own life. This is taxing to say the least.
Not Your Life Anymore
When we wind up doing more than we should for other people, we wind up not working on our own lives as much as we should.
We can get to the point of feeling like we aren’t even living our lives because we are paying too much attention and time on things that are important in other people’s lives. This is not a good place to be in at all.
An extreme example of this is someone that is taking care of another person who can’t take care of themselves for one reason or another. Of course, we want to be there for our loved ones when they need our help. That said, when one person has to take care of another for an extended period, it can feel like the person tending doesn’t have their own life any longer.
One of the best ways to get to a place of how to say no politely and professionally is to establish boundaries. Boundaries are something I learned about later than I would have liked to but once you discover them, it’s a very freeing feeling to establish them in your life.
Boundaries are essentially something you create in order to live the type of life you want to. It’s sort of like a set of guidelines that you have set in your life. From time to time, you share them with others depending on the situation.
Some examples may include working no more than 45 hours in a week at your job, or not staying in an unhealthy relationship. We typically learn to set our boundaries when something happens in our lives that makes us say ‘I don’t want that situation again.” Here’s a few examples of my boundaries:
I bought a truck several years ago. Almost immediately, people began to ask me help them move something. Which of course, I did at first. Once it got to a point where I was helping people numerous times a week, I decided I would help someone with my truck once every two weeks and only at a time that was convenient for me.
I enjoy having a full life. That said, I don’t like my life to be full with just my day job. Therefore, I limit the number of hours worked per week in my day job to 45. If the number of things on my plate take up more than 45 hours, and they almost always do, I prioritize working on what’s important first and foremost.
Now, let’s find out how to say no politely and professionally in order to keep our sanity.
How To Say No Politely and Professionally
The key to saying no politely and professionally is to frame the “No” in different manners so you’re not just awkwardly staring back at someone and then mumbling a “I can’t do it”.
There’s different ways to say no to various people you interact with in a way that works for you, and still be polite and respectful towards the other person. Here’s a few to consider.
Saying no to your boss can be intimidating. And unless you enjoy eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your desk, sometimes you will reach a point where you have to tell your boss thanks but no thanks.
To your boss, you want to paint the picture that you are honored to have been considered for the additional work, but other priorities will make that not possible right now. Something along the lines of:
“I really appreciate you thinking of me for this project. Currently I was planning on spending this week/month on projects X,Y, and Z. As I recall those were high priorities”.
“Wow, thanks so much for bringing this to me. Right now I have a full load working on project X & Y. Would you prefer I set aside that work and spend my time on this new project instead?”
I love helping out my colleagues and really appreciate their help from time to time as well. However, sometimes I am not able to lend a helping hand due to the workload I have at the moment. In this case, you’ll want to keep it pretty close to the truth whenever possible.
“That’s a very exciting initiative to be heading up Brian, you must be stoked! Thanks for asking for my help with the survey piece of it. Truth be told, this is not what I’d consider an area of strength for me, I’d probably slow things down. Lisa is pretty good at those, you might ask her”.
“You know I normally love doing this type of work Beth and I really appreciate you asking for my help with the layout part of it. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t good, our boss Mark has me working on a presentation to the ELT for next week”.
Saying no to a client can be tough. After all, they are the ones paying you. The main thing here is to make sure your client feels heard and understood. Once you fully listen to their input or want, share with them how you are addressing this very issue from another angle.
“You know Bob, I completely get what you are saying and couldn’t agree more. I was thinking that we would be able to address the 36-45 age range when we highlight the positive results in compound XYZ”.
“Karen that is great, I appreciate you pointing that out and bringing it up to make sure we address it. Mandy on the team has been looking into that as well, I’ll ask her to share her thoughts on what she has discovered in our meeting on Thursday”.
With people in your personal life, it’s best to say no and the reason why. Maybe you’ve already got something else planned, or it could be you just don’t want to. Of course, you want to be respectful of people’s feelings; but with your closer, more personal relationships, it’s best to be honest about why you are saying no.
One of my rules to help keep me on the path of not always saying yes is that I am always happy to help someone, providing they are doing the main work. After all, someone is asking me for my help in their life, so they should be the one doing the heavy lifting.
This has come up in many situations. When my oldest daughter would complain about not having any money, I’d offer to help her make a budget. She would need to set a time and place and I’d be happy to help her. When someone has asked me to help them move something with my truck, of course I’m happy to help – here is when I am available: You want me to help you in the yard? Sure I can certainly do that. However I am not available today, I already have things planned.
With a little luck, you’ve learned something about how to say no politely and professionally. Helping others out from time to time is great, it’s nice to know that you can count on others when needed and visa versa. It helps us feel connected and part of something greater than ourselves.
Unfortunately, it can become too easy to say yes to too many requests for help. This can lead to resentment and burnout. When someone asks for your help, take a moment to consider if it’s something you genuinely want to do and can do, or if it’s better to say no politely and professionally.
- What You Need to Do to Stop Being a People Pleaser
- 16 Things You Don’t Need To Say Yes All the Time
- The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life
Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com
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How to say no to others (and why you shouldn’t feel guilty)
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Why is it so hard to say no?
When you should say no, why it’s important to say no, 10 different ways to say no, helpful tips on how to say no, how to decide when to say no.
N.O. No. Two simple letters. One simple word.
But why is it sometimes so difficult to say no?
For many people, saying no is packed with guilt. Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing someone . Maybe you’re anxious to turn down your boss. Or maybe you’re a people pleaser.
No matter the reasons, learning how to say no is an important skill for your personal health and well-being . Our time and energy are precious resources that we should use wisely. And that means we can’t do everything.
Let’s explore how to say no in different situations and why declining certain requests is sometimes better than saying yes.
For some adults, the inability to say no stems from childhood. From an early age, children are taught to be polite and forthcoming . If a parent or teacher asked a child to do something, saying no was interpreted as a form of backtalk. In some cases, refusing an adult meant punishment or negative reinforcement.
However, this can cause issues around communication and self-assertion. Being raised to believe that saying no is bad makes it difficult for children to communicate their preferences. For some people, this inability to speak up for themselves continues into adulthood.
Another reason you may find it difficult to say no is if you doubt yourself. With imposter syndrome , you feel like you are not good enough to do the role that you are in.
Because of these feelings, you avoid saying no to others. You are afraid they will think you are unable to perform your roles and responsibilities . It can also make it hard to say no to yourself. You constantly feel that you have to say yes to prove to yourself that you can actually do your job.
There is also empathy and human nature to consider. We are social creatures that rely on human connection . Because of our need to belong , we are afraid to disappoint others or create conflict .
In a study from the University of Waterloo, people were asked to carry out tasks that went against their ethics. Although they voiced their objections, half the subjects agreed to deface a library book . This was because saying no felt too difficult.
This kind of behavior shows our inherent desire to avoid conflict and keep the peace . But is it possible that our need to be liked can do us more harm than good?
Let’s find out.
If you struggle to say no, learning to identify signs of personal discomfort can help you know when to draw the line.
These five signs indicate you need to say no for your own good.
1. If you feel uncomfortable
Nobody knows your limits better than you do. If you are asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, it could be a sign that you need to say no. Take a moment to do some mindful breathing and listen to your intuition.
2. You feel guilty or obligated
In a work situation, it can be particularly difficult to say no. Your job may require you to oblige when superiors delegate tasks to you . But that doesn’t mean your time and energy are less valuable than theirs.
Use your self-advocacy skills to step up and say no. Your decision should not be based on guilt or obligation.
3. When you’re overloaded
If you are overloaded with work, say no to more tasks or projects. Wait until you’ve freed up some time and energy before you take on anything new.
If you are always working long hours , say no to working on the weekend. COVID-19 has drastically increased the number of employees working from home . Research shows that remote employees work longer hours and face a bigger workload than before the pandemic hit.
You may also feel especially overloaded around the holidays , as obligations from both family and work pile up. You likely need to wait until after the holiday season to take on anything new.
Keep in mind that saying no to yourself is just as important as saying no to others. Putting pressure on yourself only adds to your stress and anxiety . Make sure to prioritize your mental health and physical health to avoid burnout .
4. If the request crosses your personal boundaries
When someone asks you to do something that crosses your boundaries , it is important to stop the process in its tracks and say no. Your boundaries are worth standing up for.
5. If you are only saying yes to please someone else
While pleasing others is a natural incentive for performing tasks, it shouldn’t be the only reason you work hard. If pleasing someone else comes at the cost of your own happiness and well-being , it isn’t worth it.
Let’s go through a couple of reasons why it’s so important to say no.
- Do less to deliver more. Focus on one thing at a time, and do it well. You can produce much higher quality work when your energy is directed into projects you enjoy.
- Saying no can benefit your performance and career. Being assertive pays off. It gives you the freedom to pursue projects that are in alignment with your professional goals . And it keeps you on track with your future career plans .
- It’s important for your mental well-being . Our mental fitness suffers when we bite off more than we can chew. To maintain mental clarity , you need to say no to tasks you know you can’t handle.
- Prevent burnout. Burnout is becoming an increasingly big problem for modern-day employees . Working too hard for too long can cause a backlog of fatigue . This jeopardizes both mental and physical health.
- Build and maintain strong and healthy relationships. Clear boundaries and mutual respect are both indicators of a healthy relationship. You can keep the relationships in your life strong by setting boundaries and respecting others.
- Always saying yes can prevent you from achieving your personal goals . Even the most successful people know where their limitations lie. You can’t achieve your goals with minimal energy . Keep your dreams intact by taking care of your body and mind .
- Be realistic about your capabilities. Sometimes, willingness is not the issue. You may not have the right skills and abilities for what is being asked of you at work. This alone is a valid reason to decline a request.
- It’s an important part of self-care . Taking time to yourself allows for higher energy levels , more focus , and an improved state of mental health . Saying no to extra work when you know you need a break is a courageous act of self-care .
When it comes down to it, the reason saying no is so important is because it protects our best interests.
Whether it’s your physical health, mental health, or psychological health, saying no preserves your inner strength. It paves the way for holistic wellness .
In theory, most of us can grasp the concept of why saying no is so important. However, actually forming the words in real life can be scary and overwhelming.
In moments like these, it can help to have some statements prepared that you can turn to for guidance. These 10 phrases can be used as substitutes for the simple “no” next time you find yourself backed into a corner.
- Sadly, I have something else going on.
- I have another commitment.
- I wish I were able to.
- I’m afraid I can’t.
- I don't have the bandwidth for that right now.
- I’m honored you asked me, but I simply can’t.
- Thanks for thinking of me. However, I’m not able to.
- I’m sorry, I’m not able to fit this in.
- Unfortunately, I already have plans. Maybe next time!
- No, thank you, but it sounds lovely.
You do not necessarily owe someone an explanation about why you are saying no. In fact, sometimes, simply saying no and not going into further detail can help you to come across as calmer and more decisive.
Many of us could use a helping hand when it comes to being more assertive. Learning how to say no can be a lifelong journey, but everyone has to start somewhere.
- Practice saying no. Knowing when to say no takes time and practice. The more often you say no, the easier it will become. Practice assertiveness in all areas of your life until the habit is built into your lifestyle.
- Communicate your decision clearly. The clearer you are about saying no to someone, the better they will respond. If you are notably unsure about your decision to decline, it could be harder for others to respect your decision. Aim for clarity and simplicity.
- Express gratitude for being asked. If someone asks you to do something and you respond with a no, a little bit of gratitude might help soften the delivery. Expressing thanks for being offered a new task will show others you care about their position, too.
- Take your time to make an informed decision . If you’re uncertain about whether you want to accept a new task, that’s okay. Take your time to consider the pros and cons, and then you can re-enter the conversation with a clear head.
- Be assertive but respectful. Not everyone who asks you to do something is trying to take advantage of you. They may just be desperate for assistance. If you can’t accept their offer, be respectful in how you communicate with them.
- Don't beat around the bush. Providing long-winded explanations about why you can’t do something rarely makes things easier. Instead, opt for a short, simple, and straightforward approach to saying no.
- Understand the power of influencing tactics. Influencing tactics are strategies used to engineer a specific outcome. By gaining a better understanding of how influence works (particularly in the workplace), you can become a stronger and more assertive employee.
- Seek advice from others. Almost everyone can relate to the dilemma of people-pleasing. Ask your friends and family members if they have any tips. For professional advice, seek help from a mental health professional. They can give you expert guidance on how to say no the next time you feel put on the spot.
Struggling to know if you should say no? It can help to have a mental list of questions to ask yourself when the right choice isn’t yet clear. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to make the right decision.
The next time someone asks you to do something, and you’re not sure how to respond, use these questions as a template for gaining insight.
- Do I have the time and energy to do this?
- Will saying yes add value to my life?
- What makes saying “no” important to me?
- Is someone trying to bully or gaslight me?
- Am I doing this just to please someone else?
- Am I being used?
- Does saying no to this mean I can say yes to something else more important?
- Am I saying yes just because I am afraid of missing out?
- Does something more important require my attention right now?
- Do I need time to rest and recharge?
- What would need to change about this opportunity to make it a “yes”?
Learn how to say no so that you can say yes to well-being
We all need a little support sometimes. Especially when it comes to managing communication with others . But to be the healthiest, happiest version of yourself , you need to lay down boundaries.
Whether you’re at home or at work, knowing how to say no is a skill you can benefit from for the rest of your life. Prioritizing your needs is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself.
If you need help learning how to say no, reach out to BetterUp. We help individuals realize their potential by building their skills, mindsets, and behaviors. Request a demo to learn more .
Erin Eatough, PhD
Sr. Insights Manager
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How to Say No (Without Being an Asshole)
We aim to please, and so saying "no" to a request can be a hard thing to do. We don't like to introduce negativity into the conversation, cause a possible confrontation, or have someone think less of us because we don't agree. That said, it's often important to turn things down. We can't do it all. Here's how you can say no to just about anything without being an asshole.
If you're reading this post you probably have a problem saying no—the same problem I used to have until I learned how wonderful not helping people can be. But in all seriousness, saying no is about respecting your own time and making sure you're not spreading yourself too thin. Helping people can be great, but if you say yes to everyone who asks you'll never be able to do it all. You also may find that you're frequently taking on tasks you don't enjoy. This isn't good for anyone, because you're not going to do your best when you're unhappy. (Also, you probably don't like being unhappy.) If you say "yes" too much and "no" too little, you're probably aware of these issues. But how do you stop? You just need a little forethought and a little confidence in yourself. Here's what worked for me, plus a handful suggestions from your fellow readers as well.
Understand Your Situation to Avoid the Guilt of Saying "No"
When you're confronted with a situation in which you have to say "no," your approach is going to depend (somewhat) on the circumstances. For example, you might decline a request from your boss a bit differently than you would a homeless person—unless you work for a homeless boss, of course. A request for your hard-earned money, dwindling time, hand-me-down sweaters, unrivaled affections, crock pot buying advice, and semi-valuable petition signature may all require a different kind of "no." It depends on how you feel about the situation, who's asking you for help, and whether your resources you have available in the request's category. This is why declining a request can often get a little tricky. It's not always as simple as answering the question of "do I want to do this?" It also kind of is.
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It helps to understand how you feel about a given situation ahead of time and who you'd be willing to help so you can give an honest answer when asked. Often times the guilt from saying "no" can stem from not really feeling confident in the reason why you said it in the first place. If you think about these things ahead of time and understand why you don't want to sign a petition or donate money to a cause you support when asked on the street, you won't leave with guilt sinking into the pit of your stomach.
Once you've figured out how you feel, it'll be easier to go with your gut on certain decisions. This way, when someone makes a request you'll be able to ask yourself "do I want to do this?" and receive a quick answer you can trust. If you're still not sure, don't feel pressured to answer one way or the other. Tell the person requesting your help that you need some time to think about it and make sure it's something you can do. If they're reasonable, they'll understand your position and appreciate that you're putting thought into your decision rather than simply rejecting them outright because you're not sure.
Make No (Detailed) Excuses
When saying "no," you'll be tempted to provide a reason because you don't want the person requesting your help to think you're so awful you'd just say no for no reason at all. But if you asked for help and someone said "no I can't," would you assume they're just declining arbitrarily? Probably not. That doesn't mean you should provide absolutely no context for your answer, but providing an excuse gives people a reason to contest your decision. For example:
"I can't go with you on a sewer adventure to find the lost poop of Isaac the Rat King because I have to mow a lawn and paint a wall."
In this highly unrealistic example, the person requesting your companionship on a gross adventure could offer to help you paint your wall and mow your lawn afterwards—or perhaps even hire someone to do it for you if they were so inclined. Applying this situation to reality, when you provide an excuse you also provide an opportunity for the person requesting your help to try and solve the problem preventing you from helping them. If they really need your help, they'll continue to try to convince you why you can do what they're asking. If you truly don't want to do it, check your excuses at the door.
That said, providing a simple "no" without context can seem a bit harsh. All you have to say is "no, I'm not able to" or "no, I don't have enough time right now." Feel free to throw in a "but thank you for asking/thinking of me" if you feel like adding an extra dollop of politeness. Either way, the idea is to avoid excuses and simply give context. Too much information will only lead to problems and demonstrate that you feel guilty about saying no.
When One "No" Isn't Enough
Despite your best efforts, some people will continue to ask even after you've told them you can't help. This kind of behavior is inappropriate and you shouldn't feel bad about countering this continued requests with a firm resolve. The person asking needs to know that you're not going to change your mind, and they're likely still asking you because 1) they feel desperate and 2) believe they can wear down your defenses until you'll finally just say "yes."
To stop this, simply let the person know you understand what they want but that you've told them no and that answer is not going to change. For example:
"Billy, I know you really want my support for your fight to immortalize Betty White on a Pez dispenser, but I've already told you I am not interested in signing the petition and I'm not going to change my mind. Please stop asking."
While I'm not sure who would refuse to sign that petition , that's the kind of polite but firm response you need to offer if you really don't believe that Betty White should be turned into a toy that vomits sugar blocks—or whatever else it is that you're adamantly against. That should end the requests, but if it doesn't you should probably remove yourself from the situation because you're dealing with a very unreasonable person.
Don't Become a No Addict
There's one more thing you should always remember: don't remove "yes" from your vocabulary. Once you start to feel comfortable with saying "no" more regularly and enjoy the free time you've regained in your life, you'll probably be more inclined to say it whenever something you don't want to do arises. I'm afraid that it is a fact of life that you are sometimes going to have to do things you don't want to do. Most people don't enjoy cleaning, but you can't decline your chores forever. You also may want to, say, help your friends move so they'll feel more inclined to help you when you ask for their help. These are situations you're likely aware of, but it's important to keep them in mind. Sometimes the power of "no" can be overwhelming, so just like with good and evil you need "yes" to balance things out.
What You Said
I posed this question to those of you out there in the world of Twitter and Facebook to find out how you say "no" when you need to. For the most part, you agreed with the above, but there were a few other helpful (and sometimes just funny) tactics that deserve to be highlighted. Here are some of your best suggestions.
Our founder Gina Trapani suggests:
I don't say "No" w/a hard stop. I redirect. "I'm not up for this, but you should talk to so-and-so." Person almost always grateful.
Jessica Olin suggests politely deferring to someone else:
Turning down a former student who wanted a letter of recommendation, I said: "There's probably someone more appropriate to ask."
Cweez suggests not being American (or at least not taking "no" too personally):
when was the answer no ever considered rude or not polite? No is no. Americans are the only ones who take the answer no personally
Berry Grapes feels a tasty pie can help (and I couldn't agree more—if I got pie every time I was declined I'd ask people for things all the time):
Just say it. It hurts less up front than finding out the lie or the problem later. But pie does help the negativity.
And finally, if you want to ensure you never get asked again, you follow the simple advice of Mark LaGuardia :
But wait, there's more! Here's more specific advice on saying no to your boss . Also, here are a few other suggestions . How do you say no ? Let us know in the comments.
Title photo from the movie Office Space .
This post was illustrated by Dana Zemack. Check out more of her stick figure comics and follow her on Twitter .
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How Do You Say No When People Want to Copy Your Homework?
March 15, 2019 1 Comment
Paris Andrew, TIP’s Director of Partnerships and Engagement, is here to help gifted students. She used to run the residential programming at TIP’s educational programs, and she is completing a PhD in related areas, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Some kids always want to copy my answers to homework assignments. They say I’m the smart kid and expect that I’ll just give them the answers. One even asked me to text her a picture of the completed homework so she could copy it. How do I tell them no without making them not like me? We aren’t really friends but we get along in class. I’m not sure what they think of me, but I don’t want them to think of me badly. I’m not sure exactly how to put it, but I don’t want them to think of me as that girl who thinks she’s too good for us or the goody goody who isn’t one of the regular kids. Thanks. —TJ, seventh grade
Thanks for sharing this experience, as I am sure other TIPsters may be going through this as well.
First of all, I understand how frustrating it can be when you work hard to study and learn the right answers– only to have someone come along who wants to take the easy way out. But the truth about the situation is that every time they do that, and copy from someone else, they are only hurting themselves and losing out on an opportunity to grow and be better. I am glad you are not like that.
On the other hand, I understand that everyone wants to be liked. The thing is: there’s a difference between being liked and being taken advantage of. Very soon, you will start to realize that there’s not enough time in the world to be friends with everyone and that not everyone is going to like you, no matter what you do. You are at the age where you start to recognize the signs of someone being a good friend to you and the signs that they are only trying to use you. This situation you are in is a good first step toward reaching that point. Would a good friend ask to copy your work, when they know you would get in big trouble if it ever came out you had allowed them to do so? No, a good friend would not. But perhaps more than that, you need to be a friend to yourself by behaving in a way you know is honorable and right. You want your parents and friends to be proud of you, but you also want to be proud of yourself. And what could be more honorable than adhering to an honor code? With that in mind, know this– every honor code, in every high school and college these days, says the exact same thing: giving people the answer to tests or sharing your homework is considered to be just as much cheating as getting the answers (or homework) from someone else. And even if your school does not have a code that spells that out, there is nothing wrong with you wanting to start following your own personal code of honor now. Let your classmates ask someone else or, better yet, do their own work so they can learn or grow. But you are better than that. You have honor.
The best thing to do with your classmates may be to think of a phrase in advance to use next time they ask to copy your work. If you have this in mind already, and even practice saying it, then you won’t be put on the spot when they ask and not know what to say. The answer has to sound like you, but maybe these might help (change into your own words): “I’m sorry, I can’t help you. But good luck.” -or- “I’d rather not be involved in something that the school might consider cheating. Sorry.” -or- “You’ll have to ask someone else. I can’t help you. Sorry.” Your parents might also be able to help you come up with a good phrase to have in mind. They will be proud of you for standing up for what’s right.
If your classmates push you on it when you decline to help: simply repeat the same phrase again and again until they get the message. Or you could even offer to tutor them or help them study, if you have the time and it doesn’t take away from your studies or what you need to be doing. Finally, explaining about academic honor codes to your classmates, if necessary, might help, but remember: you don’t owe them an explanation. You have a perfect right to behave honorably. It takes strength, but you can do it.
The most important thing for you to remember about this situation is to make sure you are not violating either your school’s or your own honor code. If your school has an honor code, privately asking the teacher to talk about it in class one day might help. I would also encourage you to ask them about how to become a volunteer tutor or teaching assistant, rather than sharing materials to your classmates without the teacher’s awareness. That way you can be a friend to your classmates in a genuinely helpful way– and being a true friend is the best way to inspire someone to like you back.
Have a question for Paris? Use our submission form to get the advice you need.
About Duke TIP
The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) is a nonprofit organization that has served over three million academically talented students in grades 4–12 since it was founded in 1980. Collaborating with educators and parents, TIP helps gifted students assess the extent of their academic abilities with above-grade-level testing, recognizes them for their achievements, and provides them with a variety of enrichment benefits as well as accelerated face-to-face and online educational programs.
April 6, 2019 at 9:50 pm
Amazing, I can’t stand up for myself like that. Paris, you are an angel who provides the answers to everything.
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How to Get Out of Doing Homework
Last Updated: February 6, 2023
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 110 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 269,608 times. Learn more...
Sometimes you just can't get it together and finish your homework. Maybe you had a concert or a game after school and you were too tired to think when you got home. Maybe you ran out of time, or you fell asleep early. Maybe you just had something way better to do! This article will give you ideas for how to get your parents off your back about doing homework and convince your teachers you have a perfectly good reason why you didn't do the assignment. Plus, learn techniques on how to make it look like you made an attempt at your assignment, but life, fate, or technology got in the way. Just don't make a habit of it, or your grades may suffer.
Making Excuses to Your Teacher
- Notice how your teacher reacts when other students forget their homework to gauge how much you can get away with.
- Notice if your teacher collects homework or usually just walks around and glances at your worksheet to make sure you did it.
- Try to get an idea of what your teacher likes. If they have pictures of their cat everywhere, you may be able to use that to your advantage later by telling them your cat is very sick or had to be put down and you were too devastated to finish the assignment.
- Remember that your teacher probably got into teaching because they are passionate about their subject. Participate in class as much as possible: if they believe you love history, too, they're probably more likely to be sympathetic later.
- Find out how much homework counts toward your final grade. If homework only accounts for 20% of your grade and you ace all your tests, projects, and class participation, you might be able to get by without doing homework and still get a decent grade.
- If your teacher expects you to email them your assignment, ask them the next day if they got your email. When they say they didn't, act confused and explain that you definitely emailed them and that you can't believe it didn't go through. They probably can't check to see if you are lying and will probably give you an extension.
- Claim the death of a family member. Make it someone close enough that it would affect you, but not so close that the teacher will find out about it. A great aunt or uncle works as they tend to be older. There is also no limit on the amount of great aunts and uncles you have, whereas with grandparents there is a limited number of times you can use that excuse. Plus, you don't want to tempt karma by saying your grandma died unexpectedly.
- Say that you are having a private family issue and you don't feel comfortable talking about it, but you can't do the homework.
- Tell your teacher your pet died. But be aware that if your teacher happens to be having a conversation with your parents and says something like "Sorry about the dog!" they may find out you were lying.
- Tell the teacher you were in the bathroom when they assigned the work and you completely missed that you had homework. However, if your teacher has a good memory or writes homework on the board or on a school website, there is a high chance this will not work.
- This works best if you are somebody who rarely gets sick(maybe once or twice a year) then you will be more trustworthy if you appear sick.
- If you do this too often your teacher will stop being sympathetic, so make sure it only happens once or twice.
Making It Look Like You Did Your Homework
- If your teacher walks around the class checking for homework, but doesn't take it in, write your homework page and task at the top of some random notes you have for that class. If they're not attentive, they won't notice.
- If they are attentive, try to distract them by asking a question related to the subject or show them a word in the textbook you don't understand.
- Say you must have left it on your desk/in the car/on the bus and ask if you can turn it in at the end of the day. Then you can quickly do the assignment during lunch.
- Try asking one friend for answers to questions #1 and #2, then another friend for the answers to questions #3 and #4, and so on until the assignment is complete.
- Assemble a study group and let them work out all the answers.
- If you have a friend who owes you a favor, tell them this is how they can repay their debt.
- Bring in a blank flash drive and swear to your teacher you saved it to the drive and you don't know what happened.
- Go into File Explorer and find the file you want to make corrupt. Right click over the file and select 'Open With...', then select Notepad. Once the file opens in Notepad you should see a really bizarre document with gibberish. Click anywhere within the document and type something random in it, disturbing the flow. After this just save and submit. When your teacher opens it, it will show up an error.
- Do not select "use application as default" when selecting Notepad after File Explorer step or else all word documents (.docx) will automatically in Notepad showing gibberish.
- Create a blank image in Paint and save it in .bmp format. After that, forcefully change its format into .doc (right-click and hit Properties), and change the title to the name of your homework assignment. Now, when you try to open the file in any text viewing program, it will show up as a broken file. Send it to the teacher, and if they ask you the next day, just say sorry about this inconvenience and promise to send it this evening. Now, you have an extra day to complete your homework.
Convincing Your Parents
- So your parents check your history? Easy. If you have the Google Chrome browser, you can use Incognito mode. This will not track your history at all. Press ctrl+shift+N at the same time to open an Incognito tab. Remember to close all Incognito tabs before you go back to doing your homework.
- Remember ctrl + w closes a window with one tab without prompt, so it is the perfect way without downloading Firefox and certain add-ons to use the computer without parent's knowing anything of your exploits.
- Remember: in most cases, it is unlikely your teacher will excuse you from doing the homework altogether, even if these tactics work. Go into it thinking they will give you an extension and you will have time to catch up on your work without it impacting your grade. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Homework is there to help you. In the long run, not doing homework will impact not just your report card but your future. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Avoid lame and common excuses. These excuses have no effect, so don't even try to use them. Avoid "I forgot" and "My dog ate my homework" kind of excuses. Using long, boring excuses may make the teacher just dismiss it and tell you to turn it in tomorrow. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://edinazephyrus.com/how-to-fake-sick-successfully/
- ↑ https://corrupt-a-file.net/
About This Article
If you weren't able to finish your homework, there are a few good excuses you can use to keep your teacher off your back. You can blame technology and say your computer or printer broke. If you needed the internet for your homework, say your internet went off for a few hours. Pretending you forgot your homework isn't the best excuse, but it sounds better than admitting you didn't do it. Search through your bag and pretend to look for it, then tell your teacher you must have left it at home. To make it more convincing, see your teacher at the beginning of class and say you had a busy week and forgot to do the homework. You can even tell them you had a family issue. Teachers are unlikely to call you out for being sick, so try going to the nurse before class and telling them you feel sick and you can’t go to class. For more tips, including how to get out of your parents making you do homework, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Say No to People
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Cultura / Photolove / Getty Images
- Why It's Important to Say No
Why Saying No Can Be Hard
When to say no to people.
- Signs You Should Say No
- Examples of Saying No
Many people hesitate to say no, even when they are over-stressed, over-booked, and just too busy to take on anything else. If you struggle with this, then you’re not alone. But it's important to learn how to say no to people and their requests. Being unable to can contribute to more stress, which may eventually turn to resentment.
Fortunately, you can learn how to say no to people without causing hurt feelings or impaired relationships. This article discusses some strategies you can use to set boundaries, protect your personal time, and say no more often.
Why It's Important to Say No to People
There are a number of reasons why knowing how to say no is so important.
- Saying no establishes boundaries : Boundaries demonstrate what you are willing to accept in a relationship and how you expect to be treated. They are important for relationship dynamics and for mental well-being.
- Say no limits stress : Taking on too much or saying yes to things you really don't want to do creates excessive stress. Stress can take a serious toll on your health and well-being, particularly when it becomes a chronic problem .
- Saying no reduces resentment : If you say yes when you really want to say no, you may end up resenting the person who made the request. While saying no can be difficult, it can protect the health of the relationship in the long run.
- Saying no can limit regret : If you say yes to things that don't align with your goals or values, you may experience regret in the future. Being able to say no to people means that you'll have more time to devote your energy to the things that really matter to you.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with saying no when necessary. This includes when you simply don't have the energy to do everything you're asked or when you want to prioritize self-care.
Being able to say no to people helps reduce stress levels and gives you time for what’s really important.
One important way to pare down your schedule is to get good at saying no to new commitments. So why can the simple act of not taking on more than you can handle be so hard? Past experiences and fears for the future can both play a role.
- You don't want to upset others : Maybe you've had people be upset with you when you've said no.
- You don't want to feel guilty : You might want to help others and fear that if you turn them down, you'll end up feeling guilty about it later. This is often the result of past experiences where you felt a lingering sense of guilt.
- You think you can handle it : Even though it feels like too much, you might assume that you can handle it. Or you might want to be known as the person who can handle it. Either way, it ends up piling a lot of unnecessary stress and work on your shoulders.
- You're a people-pleaser : Saying no can be particularly difficult if you tend to be more of a people-pleaser . Unfortunately, such tendencies can lead to patterns of self-neglect and self-sacrifice that are detrimental to mental health.
Whether you say "yes" instead of no out of guilt, inner conflict, or a misguided notion that you can "do it all," learning to say no to more requests can be one of the biggest favors you can do yourself and for those you love.
Knowing when to say no to other people can also be helpful. Every situation is different and will present its own challenges, but there are some common settings where you might find yourself struggling to say no.
Saying no at work is necessary at times, but it can also come with added pressures. Turning down projects might lead to fears that you will be passed over for promotions or raises. And you might worry that saying no to co-workers will negatively affect your relationship with them.
It is important to remember, however, that it is difficult to perform well if you take on too much. When you're overworked, it means you're not able to do your best. This can hurt your productivity and the quality of your work.
If you're having trouble saying no at work, remind yourself that you need to use your time to do your best possible work on the projects you are currently focused on.
In a Relationship
Saying no to your partner can be particularly challenging. While you might want to say yes to the things your partner wants or needs, it is important to protect your own needs and interests in a relationship. Sometimes, that means setting boundaries and saying no.
When you create boundaries, you help your partner get a better understanding of what is important to you. This can help them know you better, which will ultimately strengthen your relationship.
Because relationships are about give-and-take, saying no to your partner might mean making compromises. For example, you might say no to hanging out with your partner's friends on the weekend, but agree to attend a work event with your partner.
Being flexible and willing to compromise allows you to support your partner while still making time for yourself.
With Friends and Family
Saying no to friends and family can be difficult for many people. Sometimes this is because you don't want to disappoint those closest to you.
Friends and family are also the ones who know you the best, so they often can phrase their requests in a way that is guaranteed to get a positive response.
Because of this, finding ways to set boundaries and say no to friends and family can be especially important. In such cases, simply saying no and firmly standing your ground is often the best strategy.
You might opt to tell them why you can't comply with their request, but you also don't owe other people explanations, even if they are family. Instead, state "No, I'm sorry, but I won't be able to make it" and repeat as needed if they persist.
There are times when it is important to say no, but the situation and the people involved can make it more challenging. Saying no at work, in relationships, and with friends and family can create conflicting emotions. Finding ways to set boundaries and stick to your resolve can help.
Signs You Should Say No to People
If you're struggling to decide whether to turn down a request, ask yourself these questions. They might help you make a decision.
- Does saying yes support my goals?
- Does this project or request align with my values?
- Are there challenges that would make saying yes more difficult?
- Will saying yes to the request prevent me from doing something else that is more important to me?
- Will saying yes help or hurt my mental well-being?
- Will saying yes create more stress or contribute to burnout ?
If saying yes will take away from the time and energy you need for things that are more important to you, then saying no to the request is probably the best option.
It is particularly important to say no to people if you think that saying yes will be bad for your mental health and stress levels.
While saying no can be difficult, knowing how to do it can make it easier. These strategies can help you learn to say no more effectively and with less emotional distress.
“I’m Sorry—I Can't Do This Right Now"
Sometimes it helps to stall until you have a chance to fully look at how saying "yes" to this new commitment may affect your life and the lives of those who already depend on you. Use a sympathetic, but firm tone.
If pressured as to why, reply that it doesn’t fit into your schedule, and change the subject. Most reasonable people will accept this as an answer, so if someone keeps pressuring you, they’re being rude.
It’s OK to repeat, “I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t fit with my schedule," and change the subject.
"Let Me Think About It"
If you’re uncomfortable being firm or are dealing with pushy people, it’s OK to say, “Let me think about it and get back to you.” This gives you a chance to review your schedule and consider your options.
This strategy also allows you to think about whether you want to say "yes" to another commitment. To make a decision, do a cost-benefit analysis and then get back to them with a yes or no.
Giving yourself time to think helps you avoid letting yourself be pressured into overscheduling your life and taking on too much stress .
"I Can't Do This, But I Can Do That"
If you would really like to do what they’re requesting, but don’t have the time (or are having trouble accepting that you don’t), it’s fine to say no to all or part of the request, but mention a lesser commitment that you can make. This way you’ll still be partially involved, but it will be on your own terms.
When Saying "No"
- Be firm —not defensive or overly apologetic—and polite. This gives the signal that you are sympathetic, but will not easily change your mind if pressured.
- Be clear . If you decide to tell the person you’ll get back to them, be matter-of-fact and noncommittal. If you lead people to believe you’ll likely say "yes" later, they’ll be more disappointed with a later "no."
- Skip excuses . If asked for an explanation, remember that you really don’t owe anyone one. “It doesn’t fit with my schedule,” is perfectly acceptable.
Examples of How to Say No to People
If you are still struggling to find the right words to say no, you might find some of the following examples helpful:
- "I'm too busy today. Maybe I can help out some other time."
- "I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. Is there some other way I could help?"
- "I'm feeling overwhelmed with work right now, so I'm going to have to take a raincheck."
- "I'm not qualified to help with that project."
- "That sounds really fun, but I won't be able to make it."
- "No, I have a previous commitment. Maybe next time."
- "I'd love to help, but I can't right now. Could you ask me again later?"
A Word From Verywell
Remember that there are only so many hours in the day. This means that whatever you choose to take on limits your ability to do other things.
Even if you can fit a new commitment into your schedule, if it’s not more important than what you would have to give up to do it (including time for relaxation and self-care ), you really don’t have the time in your schedule.
In addition to learning how to say no to people, you may also find it helpful to research strategies for finding time if you're too busy . It's also important to learn to set boundaries in general.
AlMahmoud T, Hashim MJ, Naeem N, Almahmoud R, Branicki F, Elzubeir M. Relationships and boundaries: Learning needs and preferences in clerkship medical environments . PLoS One . 2020;15(7):e0236145. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0236145
Cleveland Clinic. Stress .
Kaufman SB, Jauk E. Healthy selfishness and pathological altruism: Measuring two paradoxical forms of selfishness . Front Psychol . 2020;11:1006. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01006
By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.
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How to ask someone for homework answers
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The best way to ask someone for homework
Learning How and When to Say No
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Learning to say no to people is one of the best things you can do for yourself, yet many people find it extremely difficult. Why? Because they want to be liked. The ironic thing is, people will like you better and respect you more if you say no when it's appropriate!
1. People will respect you. People who say yes to everything in an attempt to be liked are quickly recognized as pushovers. When you say no to someone you are letting them know that you have boundaries. You are showing that you respect yourself--and that is how you gain respect from others.
2. People will actually see you as more dependable. When you say yes only when you have the time and true ability to do a great job, then you'll gain a reputation for being dependable. If you say yes to everything, you're bound to do a bad job at everything.
3. When you're selective with your tasks, you'll sharpen your natural strengths. If you concentrate on the things you're good at, you'll be able to improve on your natural talents . For example, if you're a great writer but you're not so great as an artist, you may volunteer to write speeches but you shouldn't sign up to make the posters for your club. Concentrate on your strength and build your skills (and your experience) for college.
4. Your life will be less stressful. You may be tempted to say yes to people in order to please them. In the long run, you're only hurting yourself and others when you do this. You stress yourself out by overloading yourself, and you experience increased stress when you realize you're bound to let them down.
When to Say No
First let's point out the obvious: Do your homework .
You should never say no to a teacher, friend, or family member who is merely asking you to live up to your responsibilities. It's not okay to say no to a class assignment, just because you don't feel like doing it for some reason. This is not an exercise in cockiness.
It is OK to say no when somebody is asking you to step outside your true responsibilities and outside your comfort zone to take on a task that is dangerous or one that will overload you and affect your academic work and your reputation.
- If a teacher suggests that you become the president of a club that he or she is advising, but your schedule is already over-packed.
- If a popular athlete asks you to help with his/her homework and you don't have time.
- If anybody asks you to do their homework for them.
- If anybody asks you to give them information that was on a test (if they have a later class with the same teacher).
It can be very difficult to say no to somebody whom you really respect, but you'll find that you actually gain respect from them when you show enough courage to say no.
How to Say No
We say yes to people because it's easy. Learning to say no is like learning anything: it seems really scary at first, but it's so rewarding when you get the hang of it!
The trick to saying no is doing it firmly without sounding rude. You must avoid being wishy-washy. Here are some lines you can practice:
- If a teacher asks you to take on more responsibility than you need: Thank you for thinking of me, but I will have to say no. I'm just over-scheduled at this time.
- If a teacher asks you to do something you don't feel comfortable with: This sounds like it would be a great opportunity for somebody, but it's not right for me.
- If somebody wants you to cheat: Sorry, I don't share my homework. That would get us both in trouble.
- If somebody tries to push work off on you: I just don't have the time to do a good job at that right now.
- If somebody tries to overload you with a task: I can't do that because I have an assignment due tomorrow.
- If somebody tries to unload a problem on you: I understand your situation, but I don't have an answer for you.
When You Have to Say Yes
There will be times when you want to say no but you can’t. If you're working on a group project , you have to take on some of the work, but you don't want to volunteer for everything. When you have to say yes, you can do it with firm conditions.
A conditional "yes" may be necessary if you know you should do something but you also know you don't have all the time or resources. An example of a conditional yes is: "Yes, I'll make the posters for the club, but I won't pay for all the supplies."
Saying no is all about gaining respect. Gain respect for yourself by saying no when it's necessary. Gain the respect of others by saying no in a polite way.
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Learn When to Say No
- Bruce Tulgan
And how to say yes
If you’re like most people, you’re constantly fielding requests at work. The asks are formal and informal, large and small, and from all across the organization. The inflow is so great, you can’t possibly agree to everything. So it’s crucial to learn when to say no and how to say both no and yes.
Tulgan, who spent decades studying what makes people the most highly valued, indispensable employees at organizations, presents a three-part framework for managing the flood of requests. First, assess each ask, systematically gathering the details that will allow you to make an informed judgment. If you do have to turn someone down, deliver a well-reasoned no. A good no is all about timing and logic—it’s in order whenever things are not allowed, cannot be done, or should not be done. Moreover, it’s communicated in a way that makes the asker feel respected. If the answer is yes, make it an effective one by explaining how you think you can help, pinning down the deliverables, and laying out a focused plan for execution.
A considered no protects you. A good yes allows you to serve others, add value, and collaborate effectively. If you become skilled at conveying both, you can avoid burnout, increase your influence, and enhance your reputation.
Ever since companies started working more cross-functionally and collaboratively, exchanging top-down management for dotted-line reporting with fuzzy accountability, work has gotten more complicated. All day every day, most of us are fielding requests. The asks are formal and informal, large and small. They’re not just from direct bosses and teammates but also from “internal customers” all over the organizational chart. Add to this the demands of external stakeholders, of family, friends, and acquaintances, and sometimes even of complete strangers. The requests keep coming—across tables and through zoom screens, by phone, e-mail, and instant message.
The inflow is daunting. And now more than ever, your professional success and personal well-being depend on how you manage it. You can’t say yes to everyone and everything and do all of it well. When you take on too many or the wrong things, you waste time, energy, and money and distract yourself from what’s really important. Still, no one wants to anger or disappoint colleagues or other contacts—or, worse, turn down key career and life opportunities.
You must therefore learn when and how to say both no and yes. A considered no protects you. The right yes allows you to serve others, make a difference, collaborate successfully, and increase your influence. You want to gain a reputation for saying no at the right times for the right reasons and make every single yes really count.
How do you do it? Through decades of research into what makes people the most highly valued, indispensable employees at hundreds of organizations, I have uncovered a framework that I believe works. It has three parts: assess the ask, deliver a well-reasoned no, and give a yes that sets you up for success.
Assess the Ask
When making a financial investment, most of us do some due diligence—seeking out more information so that we can make a sound judgment. When you say yes or no to a request, you’re deciding where to invest your personal resources, so give the choice the same careful consideration.
That starts with insisting on a well-defined ask. Sometimes the ask is sloppy, so you misunderstand: It sounds like more or less than it is, or it sends you off in the wrong direction. That’s why you ought to help yourself and the asker by getting critical details about the request. You can develop a reputation for being highly responsive if you engage in this way. It doesn’t mean you’re agreeing to the ask. It simply signals that you’re taking your counterparts’ needs seriously, whether you can help or not.
You should ask questions and take notes, clarifying every aspect of the request, including the costs and benefits. Think of the intake memos that lawyers, accountants, and doctors write—documents created for their own reference to capture the particulars of each client’s need. Essentially, you’re helping the asker fine-tune the request into a proposal. The memo should cover the following questions:
- What is today’s date and time? (This will help you track how the project evolves.)
- Who is the asker?
- What is the deliverable being requested? Be specific.
- By when does it need to be accomplished?
- What resources will be required?
- Who is the source of authority on this issue, and do you have that person or group’s approval?
- What are the possible benefits?
- What are the obvious and hidden costs?
The bigger or more complicated the ask, the more information you should gather. Sometimes honoring the request is out of the question. Or an ask appears so insignificant that an intake memo seems unnecessary—or would take longer to draft than simply completing the request. Indeed, if you tried to drill down into every microask, people might accuse you of creating ridiculous bureaucracy. And they’d have a point. But the vast majority of requests will deserve at least some further investigation before you make a call on them. You’ll find that small asks can balloon into big ones or that what at first sounds impossible turns out to be much easier than you assumed. You might see that a seemingly silly ask is actually smart, or vice versa. That’s why the intake memo should become a rock-solid habit for everything except the most minor and urgent requests.
Be sure you share your list with the asker to confirm that you’re on the same page. Imagine the confidence your counterparts will gain in your promises if they see you’re creating a mutually approved record of what they need—and how much more readily they’ll accept your judgment of yes or no.
Zane (whose name has been changed to protect confidentiality) is an extremely capable business analyst in a large consumer-electronics company. Until recently, he had a hard time saying no at work, especially to his boss and other senior leaders, because he was so determined to prove his value.
Inundated by requests, he often found himself terribly overcommitted, working harder and harder, juggling competing priorities as fast as he could. He never intended to overpromise, but he was often doubling back to renegotiate delivery dates even as he accepted new requests. Soon he started dropping balls, making mistakes, and irritating colleagues. Every incoming request felt like an attack to fend off, so at least for a while, no seemed like the only answer.
Finally, Zane’s manager, Aiko, intervened and asked that all requests for his time go through her. Although he temporarily lost his power to say yes or no, he learned a lot from his boss’s process, and eventually, Zane took it over himself.
“We had an intake form,” Zane explains. “Who is making and authorizing this request? Is this data we have or data we need to get or start capturing going forward? Do you need analysis, and is that something we can do? And what is the business objective?”
Even after answering those questions, prioritizing competing requests could often be tricky. In one instance, Zane’s boss’s boss tasked him with setting up a new data-capture system “as fast as possible,” just as he was pulling together a report for Aiko. The latter was a two-day project. Building the new system would take about two weeks. Should he immediately focus on the biggest big shot or first get the quick win?
Another challenge for Zane was ranking competing requests from his peers against those from his two direct reports and from people elsewhere in the organization and outside it. But using the disciplined intake-memo process, Zane got better and better at comparing how urgent or important each project really was, making smart decisions, and demonstrating to everyone his true service mindset without overextending himself.
A Well-Reasoned No
A thoughtful no, delivered at the right time, can be a huge boon, saving time and trouble for everybody down the road.
A bad no, hastily decided, causes problems for everybody, especially you. Bad nos happen when you haven’t properly assessed the ask; when you let decisions be driven by personal biases, including dislike of the asker or dismissals of people who don’t seem important enough; or when you decline simply because you’ve said yes to too many other things and don’t have any capacity left. Bad nos often cause you to miss out on meaningful experiences and are also more likely to get overruled, leaving hard feelings on both sides.
A good no is all about timing and logic. You should say no to things that are not allowed, cannot be done, or that, on balance, should not be done. I call these the “no gates,” a concept I borrowed from a project management technique called stage-gate reviews, which divide initiatives into distinct phases and then subject each to a “go, no go” decision.
The first gate is the easiest to understand. If there are procedures, guidelines, or regulations that prohibit you from doing something—or someone has already made it clear that this category of work is off-limits to you, at least for now—then you simply give a straight no. (If you think it’s against the rules for everybody, please also consider talking the requester out of pursuing the idea.)
What do you say? “I don’t have discretion here. This request violates policy/rules/law. So you really shouldn’t make it at all. Perhaps I can help you reframe your request within the rules so that it can then be considered.”
Turning people down at the second gate is also straightforward (at least sometimes). If the request isn’t feasible, you say, “I simply can’t do it.” If you just don’t have the ability to deliver on it, then you say, “Sorry, that’s outside my skill set. I’m not even close.”
What if you don’t currently have the experience and skills to handle the request quickly and confidently—but you could acquire them? The answer still might be no. But the answer could also be “This is not my specialty. That said, if you accept that I’d need extra time to climb a learning curve, then I’ll take a crack at it.” It could be a development opportunity for you and, in the end, give the requester a new go-to person (you) on this sort of project.
The most common reason for “I cannot,” however, is overcommitment. In those instances, people tend to say things like “With all the other priorities I’m balancing, I don’t have the availability to do it anytime soon.” That’s a forced no. If you can’t avoid it, try to preserve the opportunity to fulfill the request later or else help out down the road when you are available.
What’s the best way to respond? “I’m already committed to other responsibilities and projects. I’d love to do this for you at a later time. If that’s not possible, I’d love to be of service somehow in the future.”
The third gate is the trickiest because whether something merits doing isn’t always clear at first. You need to make a judgment on the likelihood of your success, on the potential return on investment, and on fit with your and your organization’s priorities. And sometimes the answer to the request is “maybe” or “not yet.”
What do you say in those cases? “I need to know more. Let me ask you the following questions….” Essentially, you’re getting the person in need of help to make a more thorough or convincing proposal.
What if you do understand the ask and you don’t think it’s a worthwhile goal for you right now? You might say, “That’s not something I should say yes to at this time because the likelihood of success is low,” “…the necessary resources are too great,” “…it’s not in alignment with the current priorities,” or “…the likely outcome is [otherwise somehow not desirable].”
When it comes to timing, the most important thing is to thoroughly engage with the request. Then answer quickly. Don’t give a precipitous no, or you’ll risk seeming dismissive. But don’t string your counterpart along, either. If your no really means “not at the moment but soon,” then let the person know that. If the answer is “No, but I know somebody who can” or “No, but I can provide you with aid that will help somebody else do it,” then say that as soon as possible. If the answer is “I may not, cannot, or should not do it, and it is a bad idea, so you shouldn’t do it either,” have that conversation before the asker presses you or someone else further.
Once Zane routinely began tuning in to every ask and doing his due diligence, he found it much easier to see when he should decline a request and became far more confident delivering a well-reasoned no—or a “not yet.” For example, around the time that he was balancing that report for Aiko with setting up the new system for her boss, Zane had to decline or delay filling several other requests. As usual, he gave many standard “That data is simply not in the system” responses. But he also said no to a request for a wild-goose chase from a peer of his boss who had a history of wasting his time. “I wasn’t building a correlation model again to once again not find the pattern he was looking for,” Zane explains, noting that he also gave Aiko a heads-up to make sure nobody would be surprised. He also delayed completing a request from another executive peer of Aiko’s, saying something along the lines of “We’ve never collected that particular data before. Maybe we can start, but I wouldn’t be free to work on that for a few weeks.”
Because of Zane’s increasingly thorough, businesslike approach, his colleagues came to deeply value his assessments and responses and—over time—his judgment.
An Effective Yes
Every good no makes room for a better yes—one that adds value, builds relationships, and enhances your reputation.
What is a better yes?
It’s aligned with the mission, values, priorities, ground rules, and marching orders from above. It’s for something that you can do, ideally well, fast, and with confidence. In other words, it involves one of your specialties—or an opportunity to build a new one. It allows you to make an investment of time, energy, and resources in something that has a high likelihood of success and offers significant potential benefits.
The key to a great yes is clear communication and a focused plan for execution. First, explain exactly why you’re saying yes: You can enrich the project, you want to collaborate, you see the benefits. Then pin down your plan of action, especially for a deliverable of any scope.
Make sure you agree on the details, including what the requester needs from you, what you will do together, how and when the work will be done, who has oversight, and when you’ll discuss the issue next. If this is a multistep process, you might need to have several of those conversations as you go along.
As his reputation for professionalism and good judgment grew, Zane was in greater demand but also had more and more discretion to choose among competing responsibilities and projects. As the company moved toward a more sophisticated approach to business intelligence (data collection, analysis, reporting, and modeling for prediction), his input was sought by a number of executives he had worked with, and his opinion was given a lot of weight. As a result, Zane was made the lead analyst on the new enterprise-resource-management system implementation, which he describes as “the greatest professional development experience” of his career.
Most people have too much to do and too little time. Saying yes to requests from bosses, teammates, and others can make you feel important but can be a prescription for burnout.
The only way to be sustainably successful is to get really good at saying no in a way that makes people feel respected and to say yes only when your reasoning is sound and you have a clear plan of attack.
- BT Bruce Tulgan is the founder of the management training firm RainmakerThinking and the author of The Art of Being Indispensable at Work: Win Influence, Beat Overcommitment, and Get the Right Things Done (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020).
The Correct Way To Ask For Homework?
Hello. I have a question that I've been willing to ask for a while, but I simply could not find the correct answer. In school, we have a whatsapp group with the teacher for english class. Usually when someone is absent, they ask for the homework in the group chat. However: it seems like every student asks it in a different way, and the teacher never corrects them. What is the correct way to ask for homework? Are
What was for homework
What was the homework
In addition, we have 3 different English books, but we only study one at the time. The same problem is present here: every student asks which book to bring in a different way, with a completely different sentence. What is the best way to ask?
Thanks for your help
Ben Azulay I have a question that I've been willing wanting to ask for a while , but as I truly simply could have not been able to find the correct answer.
Ben Azulay What was for homewor k?
Ben Azulay What was the homewor k?
That's also okay.
Ben Azulay In school, we have a W hats A pp group with the teacher for the E nglish class. Usually when someone is absent, they ask for the homework in the group chat. Howeve r, it seems like every student asks it in a different way, and the teacher never corrects them.
Ben Azulay In addition, we have three different English books, but we only study one at a the time. The same problem is present here: every student asks which book to bring in a different way, with a completely different sentence.
Ben Azulay What is the best way to ask?
There is no "best way." Try: Which book should be bring to school/class tomorrow?
Ben Azulay Thanks for your hel p.
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How to Say No to Anyone (Even a Good Friend)
Hot jobs on the muse.
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.
What I do know, though, is that saying “no” gets easier with practice and repetition.
And having the right script—a starting point, so you’re not starting at a blank screen—can make all the difference.
Here’s a universal script that works for just about any scenario:
Thanks for your note.
I’m so proud of you for _ _ _—and I’m flattered that you’d like to bring my brain into the mix.
I need to say “no,” because _ _ _.
But I would love to support you in a different way.
[Offer an alternative form of support here]
Thank you for being such a wonderful _ _ _. I am honored to be part of your world.
[A few closing words of encouragement, if you’d like]
[Your name here]
I’m so proud of you for deciding to apply for that small business owner award—and I’m flattered that you’d like to bring my brain into the mix.
I need to say “no,” because my week is already quite full—and I know it wouldn’t be smart (or humane) for me to add anything new to my plate.
I’ve attached a couple of worksheets that I created for a recent writing workshop—including a couple of templates that will help you to craft a bio, a manifesto, and a few other pieces for your application.
Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and colleague. I am honored to be part of your world.
Good luck with the contest! I know you’re going to do a terrific job.
Here are three points to remember when you’re using this particular script—or something similar—to say “no” to a friend.
Say it Fast
Don’t keep your friend hanging for days or weeks, hoping she’ll “forget” about it. She won’t.
Depending on the nature of your relationship, you may want to explain why you’re saying no. But don’t over-explain or give your entire life story. That’s not necessary.
In the example above, I mentioned that I have a particularly busy week. Period.
In some instances, no explanation is required. But for close friends, it can often be a nice touch. If you’re concise and honest, friends will (almost) always understand.
Propose Something Else
The key to crafting a gentle “no” is to include an alternative form of support. Think: a link to a helpful blog post, a resource, a worksheet, a few quick tips, or a referral or personal introduction to someone who might be able to help.
This “alternative” should obviously be something that you are willing to give (or do)— because it is easier, less complicated, or less time-consuming, it doesn’t cost money, or it just feels good for you to offer. Not something that takes more of your time.
The late Steve Jobs once said: “Focus is about saying no.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Don’t over-clutter your calendar with commitments that derail your focus, pulling you away from the work that you truly want to do.
It’s not good for your career. It’s not good for your soul.
And if someone gets furious because of your perfectly reasonable, elegantly articulated “no?” Well, they were probably never your true friend to begin with.
Good thing you know.
So that now, you can say “yes!” to a friendship with somebody else.
What to say when someone asks for homework answers
There is What to say when someone asks for homework answers that can make the technique much easier.
How to Make Homework Less Work (for Teens)
A lot of happy users.
This is very helpful especially when you want to find out the answer but students don't learn how they do it, really helpful and I would recommend to anyone in high school or even middle school math, only issue is it can't work out angles or area formulas yet but can work out algebra, fractions and complex maths.
ACTUALLY, this App is GR8 , Always helps me when I get stucked in math question. I think this is brilliant i mean you have all answers and if you rly need help you need to pay which is i think okay since it explains almost everything for free love this app.
This app really help me in math after I started using it and definitely would recommend to anyone struggling with different equations. But sometimes it shows that 'we can't solve this problem yet but we will soon'. I like this app it is good in solving your math problems.
How to kindly but firmly say 'no' to someone who wants to
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How to Kick Someone Out of Your House: Evicting a Family Member With No Lease
If you’re feeling more than a bit guilty over the prospect—well, don’t be so hard on yourself: You have plenty of company on this one.
Many homeowners eventually wind up with a guest or two who have worn out their welcome and refuse to vacate your space, and sometimes they happen to be relatives. The people you now want to evict may have promised they wouldn’t be a burden (and most guests aren’t), but if you’ve asked them to leave your home or a rental property, and they won’t budge, an eviction—taking legal action to remove a tenant—is your final option.
Here’s what you need to know about how to get someone out of your house, including evicting a family member with no lease.
How to get someone out of your house who won’t leave
In practical terms, how can you get someone out of your house? Does the eviction process get more complicated if the landlord is trying to evict someone they’re actually related to? Here’s everything to know about evicting a family member with no lease.
First, is the relative you want to evict a tenant, licensee, or neither?
States have different laws on exactly how to classify someone who stays in a home or rental unit, whether he rents, leases, or stays without any agreement or payment of rent. In the eyes of the law, your visitor can be classified as a tenant or licensee.
In some areas, he’s considered a tenant when he has a lease or pays rent, but in other areas a tenant is simply someone who occupies a space you own (with no lease or exchange of rent money).
A person who stays in the home of a “landlord” for an extended period of time can also be considered to have a lease and be classified as a licensee , depending on state law. Some states even say it’s acceptable to ask the person to leave and remove his belongings, no eviction notice or legal action necessary, as long as rent wasn’t exchanged.
If you’re a reluctant landlord who is wondering how to get someone out of your house, the first thing you need to do is establish how your state classifies this (now) unwelcome visitor. If he’s considered a tenant or licensee, you as the landlord will need to go through the eviction process.
Evicting a family member with no lease
You might have asked your relative, nicely, to leave. Maybe you even sent him or her not-so-subtle email hints with links to find homes for rent . Either way, you might now be realizing that your only option is to evict them. But evicting a family member with no lease isn’t necessarily an easy feat.
No one eviction fits all, either. Different cities and states have different eviction procedures and timelines. But other than the potential emotional burden, the eviction process with a relative of the landlord is no different from evicting any other tenant.
The truth is, most places don’t allow landlords or property managers to instantly evict a boarder, regardless of who he is or what he’s done to deserve eviction, says Zachary D. Schorr , a Los Angeles real estate attorney.
If the people you want to evict are considered to be tenants or licensees, Schorr says, a landlord can’t just throw them out or just change the locks.
“That’s universal,” he says. “You have to go through the court system.”
Generally, this is what you as the landlord need to do to evict someone, including evicting a family member with no lease:
- Serve your tenant with a notice to vacate that states when and why he must vacate; most places require filing a three- to 30-day notice that the tenancy has ended. Be specific, and state what he must do to reinstate his lease (if anything), and by what deadline. The eviction notice must be written carefully, and the help of an attorney could make the eviction process go more smoothly. If your tenant has an unexpired lease, you may still be able to evict him for unpaid rent or for breaking the lease agreement terms. Note that you still may owe a security deposit refund to your tenant if he is not behind on his rent, depending on the lease and state law.
- If your tenant doesn’t leave by the deadline, the next step is filing an eviction petition with the courts—some places have housing courts, some have court hearings for eviction cases in county courts—and asking for an unlawful detainer hearing, where a judge listens to your reasons for eviction and checks your notice to vacate. If the judge rules for you, he will issue an order of eviction and a writ of possession, which gives your property back to you.
- If your tenant still refuses to vacate the premises after he receives an eviction notice, he is now in violation of a court order and you can call law enforcement to remove him. The sheriff or the sheriff’s deputies will evict your tenant. (Note: Memories of eviction proceedings will make future family get-togethers rather awkward.)
Since personal feelings are involved, the tenant eviction ordeal can be messy. Here’s how to evict someone from your house and make it less excruciating.
Consult a lawyer: The first thing a landlord should do is consult a local attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law and get legal advice. Evictions are heavily regulated by state and local law, and a local attorney will know state-specific information and step-by-step processes, including landlord-tenant laws, what type of eviction notice landlords are required to give, documents landlords must file, and checks they shouldn’t cash.
Don’t take rent: If you’re trying to evict someone, don’t accept rent because taking rent as a landlord will give your unwanted tenant more rights, says Schorr.
“In California, for example, if they’re paying rent and you want them out, they may be entitled to 30 days’ notice. If they’re there for more than one year it’s 60 days’ notice. And every time you accept rent, the clock starts again,” he says.
Write down the lease terms: When you let anyone live in your house longer than a Christmas vacation, it’s a good idea to send him an email outlining a rental agreement. If you expect your recent college grad who’s crashing with you to look for work and take out the trash, write it down. If you have rules about your guest using recreational substances, spell them out. And if your tenant breaks those rules, give him reasonable time to find a new place. Most jurisdictions don’t like to make people homeless “at the snap of a finger,” Schorr says.
Try to work it out: In the end, even paying a renter or nonpaying guest to go away might be faster and cheaper than trying to evict him. Eviction can cost $1,000 to $10,000 in legal fees, and sometimes more if the case goes before a jury.
“I’ve had one eviction going on for a year and a half. We’ve been fighting like crazy,” Schorr says. Paying for a session or 10 of family counseling will likely cost less money than an eviction. Plus, it may foster a closer relationship between you and your relative once he’s living happily somewhere else.
Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning writer who's covered real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, and many others.
Twitter Follow @kaplan_lisa
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Keep your homework concealed until the moment it is due. Discourage your classmates from asking for your homework answers by not publicizing it. If someone asks you for answers to homework that isn't due for quite a while, you can always lie that you haven't finished it yet. 2 Express appreciation.
Realize that you are also saying no for their own sake. To me, it seems that you are not at all unwilling to help. You will definitely help them if they face an actual difficulty. What you are trying to avoid is being exploited. Letting them exploit you is not going to earn you any thanks and not going to teach them anything useful for life.
Start with "do your own #%@&ing homework." Any kind of lame excuse, "Oh I'll get in trouble, oh, I'm not done yet, oh, the homework fairy will punish me", that's a negotiation. You invite them to come back to you, next time, or this time with a counter-proposal. You need to learn how to say "no."
Here are a few pocket phrases you can use to extend your no: "Let me check my schedule and get back to you later." "I'll have to ask my spouse if we have anything going on later." "Nice suggestion! Let me think about that first, and I'll get back to you." "Great, let me see if I've got to pick up my kid from school that day."
Following these steps can help you feel more confident and professional when you want to say "no": 1. Be straightforward Instead of saying "maybe" or "I don't think so," be straightforward in your answer. Make sure whoever is asking you the question understands that you mean no now and forever.
You can avoid sharing your homework (aka cheating), and still build great relationships by telling your friends: "Im not comfortable with breaking the rules of the college by sharing homework, but I am more than happy to sit down with you and help you out where you are stuck."
If they try to bargain with you in school, get loud. Turn to them and say very loudly, "No, I will not let you copy my homework!" They don't want to attract attention to what they're doing. They'll give up. These people are using you. They're not your friends, and aren't trying to be.
The key to saying no politely and professionally is to frame the "No" in different manners so you're not just awkwardly staring back at someone and then mumbling a "I can't do it". There's different ways to say no to various people you interact with in a way that works for you, and still be polite and respectful towards the other person.
Your boundaries are worth standing up for. 5. If you are only saying yes to please someone else. While pleasing others is a natural incentive for performing tasks, it shouldn't be the only reason you work hard. If pleasing someone else comes at the cost of your own happiness and well-being, it isn't worth it.
When you're confronted with a situation in which you have to say "no," your approach is going to depend (somewhat) on the circumstances. For example, you might decline a request from your boss...
The answer has to sound like you, but maybe these might help (change into your own words): "I'm sorry, I can't help you. But good luck." -or- "I'd rather not be involved in something that the school might consider cheating. Sorry." -or- "You'll have to ask someone else. I can't help you. Sorry."
Be aware that most teachers don't grade assignments early and this excuse is sometimes unbelievable. 3. Tell your parents you're going to the library or a friend's house to study. Leave the house with your backpack and text books. If you do go to a friend's house, play video games or just hang out the whole time.
If you are still struggling to find the right words to say no, you might find some of the following examples helpful: "I'm too busy today. Maybe I can help out some other time." "I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. Is there some other way I could help?" "I'm feeling overwhelmed with work right now, so I'm going to have to take a raincheck."
How to ask someone for homework answers - The best way to ask someone for homework answers #youtubepartner #shorts. 1.5M views 1 year agomore. ... 1.Say no explicitly. It can be difficult to say no, especially when you want to seem friendly. Avoid giving an incomplete, impotent, or unclear refusal ...
When to Say No First let's point out the obvious: Do your homework . You should never say no to a teacher, friend, or family member who is merely asking you to live up to your responsibilities. It's not okay to say no to a class assignment, just because you don't feel like doing it for some reason. This is not an exercise in cockiness.
Bad nos often cause you to miss out on meaningful experiences and are also more likely to get overruled, leaving hard feelings on both sides. A good no is all about timing and logic. You should ...
1. +0. Hello. I have a question that I've been willing to ask for a while, but I simply could not find the correct answer. In school, we have a whatsapp group with the teacher for english class. Usually when someone is absent, they ask for the homework in the group chat. However: it seems like every student asks it in a different way, and the ...
I'm so proud of you for ___—and I'm flattered that you'd like to bring my brain into the mix. I need to say "no," because ___. But I would love to support you in a different way. [Offer an alternative form of support here] Thank you for being such a wonderful ___. I am honored to be part of your world.
People use me for my homework: Be a friend and don't ask this of me. A friend is someone you HELP with homework, not give them your work. As for notes, I always help out my Math Homework Helper. If you're struggling with your math homework, our Math Homework Helper is here to help. ... How to kindly but firmly say 'no' to someone who wants to
Try to work it out: In the end, even paying a renter or nonpaying guest to go away might be faster and cheaper than trying to evict him. Eviction can cost $1,000 to $10,000 in legal fees, and ...