Dealing with People Who Refuse to Take No For an Answer


Here at SheBudgets, we like to save you money. We know that there are about a million ways to do that, from saving you time to informing you that sleeping more and being well-rested is a great way to save more money to saving on travel, shopping and your monthly expenses. Over the years, we’ve gotten very good at finding ways to help you save more than just money. We know that money is usually the most important in terms of saving, but we also know that life is simply not enjoyable when we are bankrupt emotionally, physically and financially. Money is important, but it won’t buy you happiness if you are a miserable person in general.

Unfortunately, many of us face a deficit in ways that have nothing to do with the balance in our bank accounts. Many of us face challenges that are not financial, but are just as stressful and devastating in other areas of our life. I find that being an overall optimistic, happy-on-purpose kind of person with some fun sarcasm who can have fun in most every situation is a pretty good way to live.

The biggest problem I have – and it’s a problem I know so many of us have – is that we face people regularly who cannot seem to take no for an answer. No matter what we do in life, there are always people there who want to make people like me (and maybe you) feel guilty about saying no. The thing is this; no is a complete sentence. Let’s try it.


When my daughter joined a competitive cheer squad this year, part of the deal was that we have to pay $2,500 for her to join. Okay; no problem. That includes her new uniform and her competition fees, her coaches and about a million other things. When her coach asked me recently if I’d be interested in buying a used skirt from a former cheerleader whose mom would really like to sell it rather than paying for a brand new one, I politely declined on the basis that we’d prefer a new one and that I’d like to see that savings go to someone who might have a financial need.

She responded and told me that my daughter is the only child who will fit into this child’s skirt and that there is no other option for a buyer. I immediately felt pressured. If I say no again, she’s definitely going to be upset because she is clearly trying to earn this woman some money and I probably look like a snob for wanting a new uniform for my daughter. If I say yes, I’m getting a used skirt from a total stranger that I don’t want and then I’m unhappy. I responded with a no, thank you, and I was not prepared for what I felt was a rebuttal. I don’t care to be put in a position where I feel that I have to respond with an apology for not wanting something. What am I sorry for? I’m not sorry that my husband and I work very hard to afford nice things for our kids and that I’d prefer a new uniform; so what am I sorry for?

Handling people who cannot take no for an answer requires a bit of skill. Sure, they should just take your response at face value the first time, but it seems that many people no longer remember proper etiquette. I refuse to feel bad about my feelings and opinions because someone else is pushing something on me, so I thought we might all like to learn a few little tricks for dealing with people who cannot seem to take no for an answer.

Say No

It’s not as difficult over time as it is when you begin. When people are used to getting their way with you, they will not expect you to say no. Do it. Practice it. Get good at it. It will get easier as time goes on.

Set Limits

One thing you have to do with the people in your life who say no is set limits. If they continue to forgo your answer of “no”, you might have to go another route and set some limits. In fact, you can make the rules right now. People who drain you by not taking no for an answer can actually learn a bit from your limits. Stop taking their calls, stop responding to their texts and limit your exposure to them.

Spell It Out

Some people just don’t get it. If they were in your shoes and felt the way they are making you feel, we think they’d change their tune. However, it’s unlikely they will. Sometimes you simply have to spell it out for them. A good idea is to say this, “As I said the first time you asked – no. As a courtesy, I would appreciate if you would accept my answer as final and refrain from asking multiple times in an attempt to change my mind. No means no every single time. If you cannot respect my decisions, then perhaps it’s time we re-evaluate our situation.” It’s harsh, but it’s the truth.

Do Not Engage

In my experience, saying no to people who are not willing to accept that for an answer and require a little tough love tend to be a bit overdramatic and narcissistic. It’s all about them, and they will play that card every single time. When someone begins to cry, begins to throw a fit, begins to try and make you feel bad; say nothing. Remove yourself from the situation and do not engage. That’s what they want, and you do not want to give them the satisfaction.

Photo by Getty Images


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