20 phrases confident people use to get what they want (in a good way)

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Have you noticed that confident people rarely get stuck doing things that they don’t want to do? Here are 20 phrases they often use to get what they want in a positive, respectful way.

1. “I value your opinion, but I trust my instincts on this one.”

Many people will try to convince you to do things their way instead of your own. With a phrase like this, you let them know that while their opinions are appreciated, you’re going to go your own way. It’s also assertive enough to dissuade them from trying to convince you otherwise.

2. “That’s very kind of you, but I’m not interested.”

This is a great one to use if someone is trying to sell you Girl Guide cookies on their kid’s behalf or invite you to an event you’d despise. It tells them that you acknowledge kindness and inclusion on their part, but you have no interest in getting involved.

3. “I respect your beliefs and opinions, but I need to stay true to my own.”

Try using this one when people try to debate your beliefs and convince you that their religious or political leanings are the “right” ones. It’s firm without being rude, and it establishes that they need to back off and respect your beliefs in the same way that you respect theirs.

4. “I appreciate what you’re saying, but I see it differently.”

One of our greatest attributes is the ability to agree to disagree. A phrase like this acknowledges the other person’s valid viewpoints and lets them know that they’ve been heard, while simultaneously asserting that you see things in a different way, so any further discussion won’t be necessary.

5. “I’ll need some time to think about that before I make a decision.”

Societal expectations often make people think that they need to make snap judgments for others’ benefit. In reality, taking time to mull something over is a wiser course of action. Saying something like this grants you the time and space you need to weigh the pros and cons before deciding on anything.

6. “That’s interesting, but I’d like to finish what I was saying before we talk about it more.”

None of us like to be interrupted, but we often have to respond with grace in work or social environments. Try using a phrase like this if someone interrupts you at work: it puts them in their place (politely) and gives you the space to finish what you were saying.

7. “Your ideas are appreciated, but they aren’t a good fit in this situation.”

Most people simply want to be heard and valued, and they don’t often consider whether their ideas are a good fit. A phrase like this is perfect if a coworker or employee offers an idea that’s completely useless for the project, but you don’t want to make them feel bad.

8. “I’m busy at the moment, so let’s do this another time.”

This tells the person who’s inviting you to something that you do want to get together with them, and you aren’t turning them down because you’re rejecting them, but that you simply don’t have the bandwidth (or time available) to honor them with your presence at this particular moment.

9. “I want you in my life, but I won’t tolerate being treated this way.”

Many people overstep boundaries or treat others badly because they’re so focused on themselves that they don’t consider how their actions affect others. A phrase like this reassures them that you do care about them, but that their behavior towards you is unacceptable and absolutely will not be tolerated further.

10. “I appreciate the effort you went to, but I have to decline.”

Your in-laws may have gone to great effort to prepare a dish for a family dinner, but if you don’t eat something for personal reasons, you don’t have to do so—no matter how long it took them to bake it. This phrase expresses gratitude while absolving you of perceived obligation.

11. “I enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think we’re suited to each other.”

We live in an era in which people often ghost each other to avoid potential discomfort if they don’t have romantic chemistry. A phrase like this shows respect and courtesy while clarifying, with complete honesty, that there is no romantic interest and the relationship won’t go any further.

12. “I’m confident that I can do this, thanks.”

You’ll inevitably come across people who lack confidence in your abilities—either because they’re overprotective, or because they like to micromanage. Use this phrase to reassure them that this task is yours to do: either you’ll succeed at it, or you’ll use it as an opportunity for learning and personal growth.

13. “I appreciate your offer, but I’ve got this under control.”

Some people can be a bit “too helpful” at times, and they don’t always clue in when others want the space to do things themselves. Confident people can use a phrase like this to remind them that the one they’re talking to is doing just fine without their unnecessary-yet-well-meaning assistance.

14. “I value your experience, but I’m ready to take the lead.”

Like in the previous example, some folks who are accustomed to being in positions of power don’t give it up easily. Saying something like this in a confident manner assures them that you are both ready and able to step into your power as a leader in your own right.

15. “That’s a great suggestion, but we’re going to stick to the original plan.”

No matter what plans you make, someone will inevitably butt in and try to suggest doing things differently. A phrase like this confirms that you’re sticking to the plan that has already been established, while pacifying them that their input is still valuable, and that they aren’t being summarily dismissed.

16. “I’m open to your perspective, but the decision is ultimately my own.”

There will always be people who will try to influence your life decisions—including your health and personal lifestyle choices. With this phrase, you can let them know that you’re open to listening to them, but in the end, you’re the only one who gets to decide what’s right for you.

17. “I’m not interested in trying that, but thank you.”

This is a great, confident response to people who offer you their unsolicited opinion about what you “should” try out in any given situation. It tells the other person that their input has been heard and paid attention to, but that they should desist with further advice unless they’re asked.

18. “That doesn’t sound like something I’d find enjoyable, but I hope you have a great time.”

People who care about you will want to include you in outings, but if you’re not interested in attending, you shouldn’t feel obligated to go just so you don’t hurt their feelings. Use this phrase to decline with grace while wishing them all the best at their chosen event.

19. “I’m sorry, I can’t make it. I need some time to myself right now.”

Those with people-pleasing tendencies often make excuses for why they can’t attend a function. In contrast, confident people use phrases like this one, which gives an explanation for their absence while simultaneously letting the other person know that their own wellbeing has to be the top priority at the moment.

20. “Now that this has been resolved, I trust that it won’t be an issue again in the future.”

Few things are quite as trying as when someone tries to rehash old grievances over and over again. By using a phrase like this, you’re establishing that the door has been closed on the resolved subject, and that bringing it up again would be an inappropriate and thoroughly unwelcome action.

About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.