How to Say “No” to Someone You Like by Danielle Ewalt

We’ve all heard that we need to say no to more things.  But what about when real life kicks in and you actually like the person making the request?


Here are three ways to get in the right mindset:

  1. Listen to your gut

You should be listening for a “Hell Yes!” from your gut.  When you don’t hear a hell yes, usually that means your head and emotions are so loud they are trying to drown out your gut.  .

  1. Practice

Practice saying no to requests in out loud. (Awkward Alert!)  Have your spouse or friend start asking you to do extra things, just so you can work on saying no.

  1. Be prepared to miss out

FOMO – Fear of missing out.  When we say no to something we will miss out on it.  Go into a situation with acceptance that you will be missing out on something.


“Opportunities” that aren’t aligned with your goals and vision will suck money, time and energy out of your life and become huge distractions.  DON’T be fooled.


Take Action.  HOW to say NO!

  1. Be Appreciative

When someone makes a request it is because they think highly of you.  Rather than be annoyed, be appreciative.  Lead off with a thank you before going into why you can’t do the request.

“Thanks so much for thinking of me!  I wish we could do that but……”

  1.  It’s not you, it’s me

Be gracious when you decline a request.  Remember, this person loves your business so much that they chose you. Don’t make them feel bad for asking. Or worse, feel like the request is stupid.

  1.  Give an explanation

I know you don’t have to give people a reason. But sometimes, when you’re face to face with a customer you love it is easier for both of you if you explain why you can’t fulfill their request.

  1.  When uncertain, stall

If you aren’t certain it is perfectly acceptable to check your calendar, talk to a spouse or biz partner, or just state you need time to think about it.

  1.  Recommend someone else

This is your final step, and it goes a long way in showing your customer that your #1 goal is their happiness. After your gracious decline, think of another business you could recommend.


I have a friend who is an excellent photographer.  But she doesn’t do baby sessions.  So when a client comes to her and asks for newborn portraits, she gives them the reply that hits all the points:

“Thank you so much for thinking of me.” (appreciation!)

“I would love to work with you, but baby pictures just aren’t my forte.  (It’s not you, it’s me) Other photographers do a much better job in this area than I do.”  (explanation)

“My friend, Suzy, specializes in infant photos!  Let me give you her card.” (referral)


By sticking to what you’re best at, you actually build more loyalty in that area.  People trust that you’re honest with them.


Get your mind in the right space to start saying “No.”  Then take action and put that word to work!  You’ll free up time and energy to focus on moving your business forward!


Danielle Ewalt is a small business strategist for women with sass.  She helps women find clarity and tame the chaos of being entrepreneurs by creating a clear plan and arming her clients with tools to achieve their goals.  In her past life she owned a cafe and coffee roaster with her husband for eight years. She has three kids under 6 that keep life interesting and fun.  You can find her here or follow on Facebook or Instagram