From time to time, our friends might ask us to do something that we are not comfortable with.  It is hard for some people to say no, but just because you are friends with someone, does not mean that you are always going to like all their decisions, or say yes to everything.  However, how you respond will either keep this person as a friend or send them running away quickly. If you want to remain friends, you have to tactfully get your point across.

Maintaining relationships requires time, patience, and effort.   When something comes up and you disagree, it is not always easy.  The difficult part is that most people (myself included) don’t like to hear the word no.  It makes some people feel like they have been rejected.  A tactful response will help to lessen the blow. 

Think before you speak

Thinking before you speak can help to diffuse a difficult situation.  Never respond quickly or fly off the handle.  Step back, reflect, and then give thought to what you will say and the best way to say it.  When you take this approach, “usually” the outcome is positive.  Always think about their feelings and how you would like to treated before you respond.

Never respond while upset

Take time to gather yourself and calm down before responding.  People who respond in a provoked state usually are not going to be thinking rationally.  If you wait until you are no longer upset, you can focus better and your reply will be more effective.  Keep in mind that once something comes out of your mouth, there is no taking it back.  It is a done deal.


Instead of correcting someone in public, take them aside privately.  This is showing respect and allowing them to keep their dignity.  If you publicly embarrass them, the problem can escalate and reach exhausting levels.

Consider the other person’s viewpoint

Take time to consider the other person’s viewpoint.  What possibly motivated them?  How well do you know this person?  If you are able to put yourself in their shoes and have empathy, this will help a great deal.  Sometimes you might also need to ask additional questions to receive clarification.  It is possible that after learning more information, you might even change your mind.

Our friends are very important to us. While we cannot always say yes, and have disagreements from time to time, we should always be tactful and attempt to stay friends.