Personal Development
I don’t know how to say no

I don’t know how to say no

Inspired by the best-seller “Leave Yourself Alone!” », Fabrice Midal now offers a concrete method to free ourselves from the unconscious mechanisms that hinder us and rediscover our strengths and assets.

The situation

You didn’t dare say no to the seller and you bought this pair of shoes that you don’t like. You didn’t dare say no to this colleague who, Friday afternoon, gave you this file to finish on Monday (this is not the first time). You didn’t dare say no to this friend who entrusted you with her children even though you had planned shopping trips with your children. You accept requests that you would like to refuse… but you don’t know how to refuse.

Bad strategies

  1. You say yes and you regret, you promise yourself to refuse next time, but the next time, you still can’t do it.
  2. You say no, but in an inappropriate way, sometimes aggressively, even by exploding. And you are perceived at this moment as an unreliable person, or even temperamental.

In both cases, you didn’t leave yourself alone, you didn’t find what you really wanted. It is fear that has acted in you, and not your sovereign self.

Leave yourself alone!

And remember that saying no doesn’t make you a bad person.

  • Saying no is a skill that can be acquired but requires putting one’s pride in one’s pocket.
  • There is an art to saying no, with a logic to put in place and phrases to avoid so as not to hurt the other.
  • We can only say no based on what we really are, what we feel, what we want.
  • Saying no is a right that you have. It’s a way to honor your feelings, your needs and your boundaries. Use this right wisely.
  • It is not because we say no that we are a bad person or that we want to cause pain to the other.

Your turn! Learn to say no


You are faced with a request. Should you accept it or refuse it? Say yes or no? Is this request fair to you? To find out, ask yourself these four questions, taking the time to answer them directly:

  • Saying yes will distract me from focusing on something more important?
  • Does this project or opportunity that I am being offered correspond to what I really want?
    •Will saying yes exhaust me, bore me, disappoint me?
  • In the past, when I said yes in a similar situation, did I regret it?
    By starting by asking yourself these questions, you avoid answering yes or no impulsively or mechanically. Your no can be argued.


What was the last situation where your no was not respected and eventually turned into yes? Write it down.

What were the arguments that you put forward to support your no? Write them down.

Reread your arguments. Didn’t you go into too much detail to explain your no? Or did you beat around the bush without giving a real argument? How could you reformulate your no in a polite, firm manner, without giving rise to a counter-alternative?


Why do you have trouble saying no? Note down the suggestions that resemble you and complete them:

  • Because I don’t want to cause pain to others.
  • Because I’m afraid that people will stop loving me.
  • Because I don’t know how to do it.
  • Because I’m intimidated.
  • Because I don’t have presence of mind and I let myself be manipulated.

Once you’ve identified your main problem, the antidote is already there. For example, if you are afraid of no longer being loved, accept the idea that not everyone can be loved all the time.
It is by clearly identifying this difficulty that you will learn to say no.

NO !!!

Write no in very large letters on your page.

Write down the three requests that you want to answer with a no, right away, without having to justify yourself.

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