Saying No to No

You’ve heard the phrase “Don’t take no for an answer”, but how many of us really do make it a practice to “say no to no”?

For example, it’s common to try to have your interest rate lowered on your credit card so that you can get out of debt faster. The first person you contact at the credit card company might tell you no.

Instead of just hanging up or giving up, ask if there is anything else they could do to help you. You could also try asking what would cause them to reduce the rate, or why they can’t do so. If none of those things work, you could call back in a couple of days and try again.

Different people often equals different answers.

I’ve especially found that to be the case when it comes to trying to get things accomplished. I don’t know what it is, but apparently I often try to do things that are outside the norm. So I hear a lot of “Oh we can’t do that” or “I’m sorry, but we don’t do that”.

But what “we can’t do that” or “we don’t do that” often REALLY means is one of three things:

  1. The person speaking to you doesn’t know how to do it or isn’t aware that it is possible to do
  2. The person speaking to you doesn’t want to do it (often because it involves a lot of extra work, or because there are very valid reasons that would make doing whatever “it” is a bad idea)
  3. They really can’t do it.

Often it’s just a matter of finding the right person, finding additional information and then providing that information to the relevant person (Google has told me how to do many things that I was told could not be done), or asking for alternative ways to get what you’d like done. Most people really do want to help.

If you’re polite about all this and try to make things pleasant, you can often get to yes by being persistent.


  • I agree with your last statement: “If you’re polite about all this and try to make things pleasant, you can often get to yes by being persistent.”

    Once I’d been trying to exchange a gift with no receipt and I was hoping for an exchange but then I couldn’t find my size, but by being polite the sales associate went above and beyond for me and issued me store credit. Which was against the store policy. I really had no right for the exchange either without the receipt. I counted that as a blessing!

    • Lenci, it sounds like they were very understanding. I bet in addition to counting it as a blessing, you’ll go back to the store in the future too.