At times, life (or other people) can present us with hard choices and we may have to say no to someone. If what is being offered is worse than our Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA- our plan B essentially), then we should say no and go with our plan B. If a proposal or request to us runs afoul of applicable policies or legislation, we may have to say no. The challenge with saying no, is that refusing someone will inevitably lead to consequences, many of them potentially negative.
We may lose opportunities. Sometimes our “No” need not be the end of a negotiation. In some cases, our “No” may bring the other party back to the table with a sweetened offer on their side, if we haven’t burned the bridge to them. A “No” may alert them to the fact that we have hit our walk away point, and that further flexibility on their part is required to keep us at the table. With some people, nothing other than a “No” will truly convey that message.
In other cases, a “No” may end the negotiation on the issue, but we may not want to end or damage the relationship with the other party or their allies. We may want or need to deal with them productively in the future (e.g. in a workplace context or an ongoing buyer-supplier context).