What About Respecting No?

We speak a lot about the skill of being able to say no. That ‘no is a complete sentence.’ That we are within our right to not always have to say yes to someone’s request. There is no doubt that to a people pleaser, this is a skill that takes time, effort and convincing.

Yet what about the idea of respecting no? In the book “Choosing Civility” by P.M. Forni, he talks about the importance of being able to respect even a subtle no:

“Someone has turned down your request or invitation and you won’t take no for an answer. Bad idea and bad form – to say the least. Respecting the “no” of another is one of the most elementary and significant rules of respect…….we frequently fail to understand or choose to ignore the signs of reluctance in others. When that happens, we end up making others do what they would rather not or we force them to flat out say “No,” upsetting them in the process.” 

Think about how many times we may say “Are you sure?” when someone says no to us. Or try to convince them that it will be in their best interest to accept the invitation, join what you are hoping they will join, eat what you are offering them? We have all done it at one time or another. Perhaps instead, we can respect the no:

“Okay, no problem. I’ll catch you the next time.”

“No worries; if you change your mind, you can let me know.”


“Sure thing, I understand.”

When we respect someone else’s no, it becomes much easier to also say no when we need to. A good reminder that the complicated little word of No is a two way street. 🙂

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@tar1k


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