How to say No to a Friend? | Say No to a Good Friend Without Feeling Guilty

By Prapoorna M

Last Updated: November 26, 2021

Saying a No and being Guilt-free could be so tough and painful that cannot be escaped, lived with or even forgotten. Friends may come up with requests like some favor, a drive, maybe some loan or a help, but saying a no can be really difficult. The fears of losing opportunities like facing them again, being friendly again and having smooth conversations over that lunch or dinner and being liked by them might keep us from giving a negative response.

But, is it good stuffing you with a lot of schedules? One should find a balance between self-care and helping others. In case, you are too focused on helping others by being in their good books and being liked by them all the time then, that ‘people-pleaser’ tag, could eventually leave you exhausted. Caring about self and concern that you should have for yourself are also very important when it comes to making any commitments. Read to know how to say a No without feeling guilty.

Saying it ASAP

Once your friend has come up with something, decide as soon as you can. Saying a No shouldn’t be delayed as your friend might be piling up expectations for you. If you can give your answer quickly, it would help her to try somewhere else. Thinking that she will forget or not replying her by ignoring or being unable to face or say a No, could make the situations worse.

A girl thinking deeply
A girl thinking deeply

Don’t Take up Everything

You might be trying to think if you can stretch some extra hours in the morning and go to bed late in the night, for a few days or so that you would be able to complete it. But just give a thought about yourself too. Decide if you really can handle that stress. How about your work and commitments that you already have in hand? Just listen to that inner voice in your head, if it is screaming of over-loading or just getting annoyed that a pre-planned date is getting ruined. Over-cluttering your calendar doesn’t bring you anything.

Shoot it Soft

Saying a No is not a big deal. Don’t be worried that your friendship might get ruined. It won’t if you know how to put it. Make yourself clear that it is hard to accumulate it in your calendar. So, say it as graciously as possible with soft words that won’t mean a harsh tone of No, like in the below expressions.

  • Wish I could, but..
  • Oh, I really can’t because..
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I have too much on my plate right now
  • I appreciate your time, but no thanks
  • Not today, thanks
  • Not for me, thank you
  • I think, I might not be able to, because..
  • I’m afraid, I can’t
  • I’m not really into it, etc.

Be Precise

Everyone is entitled to an essential thing called free will. There is no need to give an entire explanation of your life history. Give a short and brief reason if you feel that it is important. Otherwise, it is also okay to say a simple sorry for not being there. Make it simple and precise. It shows that everyone cannot push you to their will.

Alternate Solution

Think of an alternate solution, in case you feel that you are hurting your friend. It is the key to crafting a gentle No. Make proactive plans with them rather than just fobbing them off. For example, if your friend is asking your time for some help in material preparation, you might say a no but still give her a message that you do care by mailing some related stuff that aids the preparation.

Not at all

You must be thinking that you are being too selfish. It is never so. Every person should have their own life to decide what they need to and want to do. Don’t feel guilty as you can’t say yes to everything and everyone. No one can be a people-pleaser all the time. When you really want to take a big rest and then clean the house and get that laundry done on Sunday, you might feel really irritated to give your day’s time to your friend. Say it frankly as you don’t really have to.

Moreover, while you have your work and personal life getting affected, there’s no point in making sacrifices. Check if someone who’s asking you has made many unreasonable requests in the past, in that case it’s okay to say a NO

Affect of it

You must be thinking what your No could bring. Are you thinking that those smooth conversations or sharing personal stuff or maybe that close friendship you shared till now be ruined? The thought of such disturbance it causes to us makes us accept whatever request we encounter from our friends, though we really can’t afford.

First of all, remember that unable to take a no for an answer is your friend’s problem, but not yours. Yes. Everyone has planned days ahead and might not be free to accumulate their needs. One should be ready to accept that. Saying a No always could have ramifications, so mull over why you had said so be clear in your head that it’s reasonable. Never get into that guilt of not being unavailable all the time.

A girl with gloomy face
A girl with gloomy face

Well, remember that some people are extremely self-centered and cannot accept the fact that they are getting a no for an answer. Please recognize that such a relationship could be toxic to you, because true friends have to be sensitive to each other’s feelings and be willing to accept a NO for an answer when it’s reasonable. Toxic friendships are better to be forbidden. Losing such a friend could bring a new one who is really worth your time.

Draw a Line

Saying a No, let’s them understand that there’s a line on what to ask and how to ask. This helps a lot for making your personal space. When you both are relaxed, talk about limitations in friendships. It’s better to discuss and maintain a line, before it explodes.

Be Focused

By saying No, you can focus on what you really need. Steve jobs once said that saying a NO is to be focused on. It’s no good to over-clutter the calendar and get drenched with commitments. It is always better to say a no rather than that. Some people can’t say a NO because their need to be liked is really high and their self confidence is lacking. Such people do have a need to talk to a counselor.

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