Is it Rude to Say No?

We’ve all had to do it at least once or twice before, and we’re likely going to do it several more times throughout our lives. 

Someone asks us a question, more than likely hoping for a “yes” but instead receiving a “no” from us.

But, was it rude to say no? Read on below and find out!

Is it Rude to Say No?

Despite what social norms these days may imply, saying rude is not automatically rude. 

However, telling someone no, for no good reason, is indeed rude and is more often than not perceived as such.

It may be hard to believe, but, more or less, the current generations are being taught to accept things and go along with the flow. 

These sorts of social norms don’t allow much room for answers like “no” very often.

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, saying no rates 5. The fact of the matter is, saying no itself isn’t a genuinely rude thing to do. However, saying no when you have no real reason to do so, is rude. 

The main reason we’ve rated saying no right in the middle of the rude scale is that half the time people say no, there’s nothing rude about it. 

However, the other half of the time, people say no out of petty reasons, general selfishness, or even for no reason at all other than laziness. In this case, saying no is rude and uncalled for.

Why is it Rude?

Saying no is only rude if you do so for no good reason, or for a mean or selfish reason. Otherwise, saying no is just fine if you’re willing to look rude even if you aren’t.

Why is it Not Rude?

Saying no isn’t always rude, even if it looks that way. For example, it’s not rude to tell someone no when they ask for money you don’t have, or a ride you can’t give. 

Likewise, it isn’t rude to say no to someone for any other reason that isn’t purely mean-spirited.

Common Questions

Is it polite to say no?

Saying no is neither polite nor rude, as a base answer. However, the way you say it, and the reason behind your saying it may indeed be one or the other. That said, it’s fine to say no so long as you are clear about why you are doing so.

When is it ok to say no?

It is ok to say no just about any old time. But, if you don’t want your no to be taken as rude, you should be willing to explain your answer to whomever you are speaking with. People respect others when they are open and honest.

How do you say no?

Simply spitting it out without beating around the bush is always the best way to say no. By acting coy about it, the chances are that you’re saying no will be interpreted as unnecessary and rude by the person you are talking to.