Mono, ON (Adam Jones) Perhaps it’s a stranger asking for free advice from you. Or an acquaintance trying to convince you that what benefits them is something you need to do. Or a client who persistently texts you and expects an instant reply.

According to psychologist Debra Condren, author of “Ambition is Not a Dirty Word,” if you would like to say no but don’t know how, you need strategies for sticking up for yourself.

Having stock replies in reserve and perhaps practiced out loud will help. Condren suggests:

“I don’t work that way.”

“That doesn’t work for me.”

“It’s against my company policy.”

“I’d be glad to set up an appointment for that. My fee is $___ per hour.”

And when asked a favor by email or left a completely vague voice mail, it’s OK simply not to reply, she says.

Above all, don’t apologize, and don’t explain, she adds.

Although people might accuse you of being heartless, cold, rude, arrogant or greedy for saying no, remind yourself that it’s your right to decide how to spend your energy and to set reasonable boundaries.