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REFUSAL SKILLS — Ways To Say “No” – Barrington LEADS


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.  The excuse 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 my Xbox this afternoon.”

5. Use Humor

  • “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 Ignore. Avoid directly confronting the person. Turn your shoulder and talk to someone else or just ignore them like 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 your most important choices you can make is the choice of your friends.


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.

©2015 Barrington LEADS. All rights reserved.