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Just Say No by Unsplash.

Saying “no” may be simple for some, but for others it doesn’t come naturally. Whether it stems from weak boundaries or deflecting abuse, the inability to say no can lead to a lot of trouble in our personal lives, professional environments, academia and beyond.

Women and femmes have an especially difficult time saying “no” because of the amount of emotional labor that’s expected from us. Our time and energy are rarely seen as equal to that of our masculine peers, and we are expected to continue to give beyond our limits, regardless of its negative effect.

Whether you are tired, financially stretched too far or just plain don’t want to do something, your needs are valid. When you present a firm boundary, folks know what to expect, and you will have the energy to put into commitments that you have enthusiastically made.

Related: Self-Care Sunday: 7 Self-Love Resolutions to Ring in The New Year

Let your words and actions stand strong and represent who you are. This Sunday, we encourage you to embrace the word “no.”

Here are 5 Ways To Say “No”:

1. “I would love to, but it’s beyond my means right now/my schedule is too full at the moment/I have prior commitments. Please consider me the next time you are planning something like this.”

If you are interested but don’t have the time, money or have conflicting engagements, let them know. When you want to be kept in the loop, it’s important to let people know. It’s equally OK to tell them that it’s not something that interests you.

2. “I respect your energy and efforts, but I don’t agree with what you are doing and can’t be part of it.”

Everyone with a landline has gotten a call from the Fraternal Order of Police or just about any other fundraising organization. Sometimes it’s someone that you care about, and you have to say, “Hey, it’s great that you are putting energy into something that you believe in but I don’t. So, NOPE.”

3. “That’s a great idea, but that’s not something that I can do.”

This works easily for just about anything. Give a compliment for the ingenuity, but let them know … NAH. This is especially helpful in the workplace.

4. “I am happy to help within my means, but this definitely does not fall into my scope of work.”

When you are easy to work with, employers will often lean on you beyond your means. It’s hard to say no when you are in a financial tight space or you have been burned by previous jobs. It’s OK to stand up for yourself. If you’ve got the bandwidth, you can offer to go beyond your space — but make sure that you are being compensated for it.

A good way of saying that is,”If you would like to include this, I am happy to renegotiate what that looks like for our working relationship.” Get that $$$.

5. “No, thank you.”

When it comes down to it, you don’t have to give a reason for not wanting to do something. Not now, not ever.



Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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