There are many times in life when we need to say no.

Maybe it’s an invitation to another networking event or birthday party. It might be a night out with friends or a nomination to become a board member for an organization your heavily support.

There are several reasons someone might need to say no to an offer. Though the opportunity might seem honorable and worthwhile – we cannot say yes to everything.

It’s not possible to be everywhere, all the time, and still run your business. 

Occasionally it will be necessary to R.S.V.P “No”.

If it’s a digital invitation, that makes it easier. But, what if it’s not? 

What if it’s a call from a close friend or family member inviting you to their event and asking for your help with it? What if it’s a colleague who is starting a project, and since they trust your expertise they want your assistance?

You know in your gut, that if you say yes, it means compromising YOUR priorities. 

The logical answer in some of these cases would be to decline, but how do you do that without feeling guilty, or even worse, coming off as uncaring?

Here are 3 respectful ways to say no:

1. Thank the person who invited you, then say, “I’m so happy you thought of me. I really appreciate the invitation, but unfortunately, I am unable to attend. Thanks again for thinking of me, I appreciate it!”. Stop there. Remember that not every no needs a reason and not every person expects one. 

2. Smile and say, “Thanks so much! I’d really like to attend (or help) but unfortunately the timing isn’t good for me right now.” Again, you don’t need to offer the reason. If you would like to, you may, but don’t feel obligated. You can feel better about it by offering to assist them next time as long as you are sincere with your intentions. They will appreciate that.

3. Say “Thank you, but I am already committed to ________ (fill in the blank)________ that day/night/weekend, but thanks so much for asking me!

Saying no doesn’t have to hurt as much as we think it will. 

As long as you are being truthful and genuine, you will find that understanding people will respond positively.


Wondering which invitations you should so NO to? Let’s schedule a call to dial in to your priorities.