How to Build Confidence by Saying No to Your Friends (At the Right Times)

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. A group of friends asks you out to play pool, but you’re reaallly not a ‘pool-person’. Plus, there’s that Avengers movie you downloaded yesterday night…

“Don’t pangseh leh.”

“Come on it’s just for a while…”

“Let’s go lah!”

Before you know it, you’re sitting beside the pool table, having paid 10 bucks for something you don’t enjoy, breathing in second-hand smoke from the creepy dude at the next table.

Maybe it’s not pool you hate, maybe it’s bowling or even football. Regardless, I’m sure you’ve been in the situation where you feel forced to stay with your group doing something you don’t enjoy.

‘But they’re my friends! How can I possibly say no!?’ You ask.

To that, I answer: ‘Why not?

Friends are not there to tell you what to do or what not to do. They advise, sure, but ultimately you make the decisions, and the best kind of friends respect these decisions. If you missing out on one group activity means you can’t be friends anymore, then maybe you weren’t that close in the first place.

But… how?? It’s so hard.

I know, which is why I compiled these tips below for you to try the next time you want to reject going to that party that’s “going to be soooo awesome”.


1. Be Direct and Honest

Saying ‘No, I don’t want to.’ gets the job done better than beating around the bush and giving excuses. Be committed to your decision: if you don’t want to, you don’t want to.

When you are honest about what you like and dislike, you give those who truly care a chance to learn about your preferences, and that paves the way for a meaningful relationship.


2. Don’t Say Sorry, Say Thank You

Understand this: You do not owe anyone anything, and neither does anyone owe you anything. There’s nothing wrong with disliking something, and you definitely do not have to apologise for it.

What you can say, though, is thank you. Thank your friends for inviting you to the gathering, because it means that they value your company. It’s sad that you can’t join them this time, but you’re sure there will be more chances in the future.


3. Propose An Alternative

Maybe you really want to spend time with your friends, and it’s just the activity you don’t like. If that’s the case, politely say that you would rather do something else with them instead.

Don’t be afraid to suggest new things to do with your friends, you never know what interesting new activities might turn out to be your clique’s next hobby. Who knows, you might even find yourself a new favourite lepak corner!

If you have trouble coming up with new activities to do, The Smart Local frequently posts new and affordable stuff to do in Singapore.

Crafted well, a feel-good rejection should sound something like this:

‘No, I don’t like playing LAN. Thanks for inviting me though! Next time, how about we try out this new cafe instead?’

A well thought out rejection can leave both you and your friend feeling better about yourselves while understanding each other better. Try this out next time and you’ll see what I mean.


4. Don’t be Afraid to Walk Away

Sometimes it’s just not meant to be, and your friends might be pushy even after you’ve tried the above. In those cases, don’t be afraid to turn your head and walk away.

Remember that ultimately, you are the one who decides how to spend your time and who to spend it with. So walk away with confidence knowing that you chose not to do something you dislike.

If you’re stuck in a sticky situation with your friends about something drug-related, you can talk to one of our live-chat counsellors here and he/she will advise you according to your situation.


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