15 situations in life where the best thing you can do is say “no”

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There are many great experiences and connections that happen in life when you say yes. 

But it’s equally important to know how to say no and stick to it. Your no means a lot, and learning when to say no is key to empowering yourself more and defining your boundaries. 

What will you accept and what will you not accept?

Who will you connect with and who will you walk away from?

What situations are you going to go along to get along, and what situations will you turn down?

Let’s dive in and take a look at the most important times to just say no. 

1) You’ve been invited somewhere that you don’t want to go

I used to feel so pressured to accept invitations I didn’t want to accept. 

Not anymore. 

Now I just say “no thanks,” or make up an excuse. 


If you don’t want to go somewhere or feel uneasy about an invitation, don’t be afraid to turn it down. You’ll feel much better about yourself and be able to focus on things you actually want to do.

2) You’re asked to break the law or do something unethical

If anybody asks you to break the law or do something that goes against your ethics, you should refuse. 

If they increase their pressure it is time to end this connection and do everything possible to get away from this person.

Anybody who asks you to break the law is putting your future at risk. 

Anybody who asks you to break your morals doesn’t respect you.

3) Work requests you to put in extra hours that aren’t fairly paid

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen workers being exploited in past jobs. 

They are asked to do extra hours without overtime pay or it’s implied they’ll be fired…

They’re made to work harder than other employees or treated differently as ways to leverage them into taking shifts they don’t want…

The list goes on and on. 

If your job asks you to work in an unfair or underpaid way say no. If you’re still pressed, call your union or contact legal counsel. 

4) You’re asked to help out somebody who never helps you 

Helping others is a great thing to do in life, and it doesn’t always need to be reciprocated. 

It’s nice to help out with no expectation of reward or help back. 

But when you know somebody or have a friend who keeps wanting help but gives none back, eventually you get to the point where there’s only one respectable option left:

“Can’t do it, sorry.”

5) You’re demanded to solve and take on responsibility for the problems of others 

This ties into the previous point. You need to sometimes put yourself first. 

And whatever else you do, it’s totally off base to expect you to shoulder the burden of others or be responsible for their problems. 

You can’t accept responsibility for the well-being of others or you’ll be in an endless uphill climb. 

6) Friends or loved ones request a loan from you that you know they won’t pay back

The answer is no. Just no. 

If you do this you won’t just be out dollars and cents:

Your friendship will also be under an increased stress load that it might not survive. 

Don’t give out money you won’t get back unless it’s an emergency and you know you really are your friend or family member’s last resort.

7) You’re asked to do something unhygienic or dangerous to your health


If you engage in unhealthy sexual, dietary or physical activities it can have unintended long-term consequences. 

Even getting a tattoo in a parlor that doesn’t look clean is a big no. 

Be careful what you do and don’t compromise your health and safety for anyone.

8) An online contact is pushy about meeting up but you get bad vibes

Just say no! 

Far too many catfishing scams have gotten to the level of homicide, abduction or long-term stalking. 

If somebody won’t even show themselves on video but wants to meet you somewhere, you’re already writing “no thanks” and blocking them before they finish asking. 

Don’t do it.

9) You’re being asked to bail people out all the time without any pay back

This relates back to the issue of one-sided friendship and helping people out without reciprocity. 

If you have people in your life who expect you to do everything, eventually it’s time for a talk:

You let your boyfriend know that you won’t pay for everything when he won’t look for a job…

You let your friend know that you can’t afford to let him live in the guest suite for another month because you need that rental income…

Sometimes a one-sided transaction just crosses a line and you have to say: no more.

10) You’re asked to be the reference or guarantor for a person you don’t know well

Bad idea. 

You’re exposing yourself to legal liability if you do this. 

If you don’t have time to read all the fine print don’t sign anything. Even if you do have time to read fine print, be very cautious about this. 

Don’t even agree to be a reference for someone unless you know them at least a little bit. 

11) You’re asked to try a substance or drug where you don’t know much about the potential psychological or physical risks

Hell no.

This can seem like no big deal until you have a bad reaction to something. 

Don’t let anyone push something on you that you haven’t fully researched. 

This “anyone” includes pharmacists and doctors. Make sure you do your research before taking anyone’s word about how harmless any substance or medication is!

12) You’re dared to engage in reckless stunts or daredevil behavior that you don’t want to do

Peer pressure can kill. 

If that sounds dramatic, take a look at some stunts gone wrong on YouTube or LiveLeak’s Telegram channel.

There’s no reason to say yes to cliff diving or pulling any other kind of stunt because friends or colleagues tell you to. 

They can call you a chicken all they want. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. 

13) You’re told to go out with somebody who your family or friends like but who you’re not attracted to

Sorry, but no.

If you do this to please your friends or family you’re leading somebody on.

It just makes everything harder. 

If you already know you’re not interested and have met your intended date, just let everybody politely know that it’s not going to happen.

14) You’re asked to testify at a custody or divorce settlement case where you know and are friends with both parties


If you testify you’re alienating one or both of your friends. 

Just tell your friends you respect both of them too much to get involved and avoid expressing any specific opinion on the divorce or custody. 

You don’t want to get in the middle of this, trust me. 

15) Your ex shows up months after dumping you and wants you back

Not going to happen! 

If you want to keep any self-respect at all you need to tell this person that it’s not going to happen. 

Even if you still have feelings for him or her, you can’t just let them right back in like this. 

It’s important to at least put your own conditions on any potential reconciliation, and if you do try again it needs to be on your own terms. 

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