Ways to Say "No!"


If you surround yourself with friends that make good choices, then you will, too.

It can be hard to say no to friends and peers.  It takes courage.  Below are some refusal skill techniques that have helped teens say “no” to drinking and drugs.  Being prepared will help.  Know how to deal with the situation before it happens.

1. Say “No thanks.”  This is the easiest approach and often works when you are faced with friendly teasing pressure.

2. Give a reason, fact, or excuse.  An excuse often gets you away from the person or situation.  Practice an excuse so that you won’t hesitate and will sound confident.  Have a code word to use with your parents.  Text them the word and have them call to say you need to come home.

  • “My mom just called. Sorry, I gotta go.  Something’s going on at home.”
  • “My parents would ground me for life.”
  • “I forgot I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon.”
  • “I already lost my phone privileges last week.  If they find me doing this stuff, I will not be able to go anywhere for a month.”

3. Walk away. One of the most effective refusal skills is to simply walk away. You may feel obligated to stand and face “the enemy”, but you need to just leave.  Say “no” and walk away while saying it.

4. Change the subject. You can offer another alternative activity.

  • “No. Let’s go play ball instead.”
  • “Let’s go get a snack at my house. I’m hungry.”
  • “I wanted to play Xbox this afternoon.”

5. Use humor.  Humor is a great way to get out of a situation when you are not comfortable.

  • “No thanks. This stuff stunts my growth.”
  • “Man, I need all the brain cells I can get. No thanks!”

6. Broken record or repeated refusal. Keep saying “no” over and over again.  It will buy you some time to use another refusal technique or be an annoyance.

7.  Cold shoulder or just ignore. Avoid directly confronting the person. Turn your shoulder and talk to someone else, or just ignore them as if you don’t hear them.

8. Avoid the situation. Common sense tells you the places and times where there may be problems with peer pressure. Simply avoid these situations.

9. Strength in numbers. The truth is simple. If you surround yourself with friends that make good choices, then you will, too. The opposite is true as well. One of the most important choices you can make is your choice of  friends.

Learn more about the myths and facts of drugs and alcohol.

Visit our Talking Tips page for helpful tips for parents as they talk to their children of all ages about drugs and alcohol.

Important Points for Teens to Remember

  • Respect yourself and your family by not causing harm to your body.
  • Your parents are relying on you to be responsible.  Show them that they can trust you.
  • Resist being with people that are making unhealthy choices.
  • Become active in things to meet new people and learn new skills.
  • Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help from someone you trust.
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