Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to eat candy for dinner, but your parents said “no”? It was a terrible feeling, right?

Nobody likes saying (or hearing) the word “no” — especially in the workplace. We may be adults now, but that word still comes with a terrible feeling. But sometimes, we have to say it, especially if we want to achieve any kind of work/life balance. So how can you say no at work without getting fired? Follow these three tips:

1. Never actually say the word “no”

Like we said before, no is basically a four-letter word. So, when you have to tell someone “no,” put it in more positive terms. “I’d like to help you, but …” is one alternative.

2. Turn it into a “yes”

Reshape the request so that you can accept. As LearnVest suggests, instead of saying, “No, I can’t complete that report by Friday,” tell the person, “I wish I could complete that report by Friday. What I can do is send you a summary by Wednesday and give you the complete report on Monday.”

3. Be specific about your reasons

Your coworkers and even your boss don’t always know what’s on your plate; you have to tell them. If someone asks you to do something, give them options and make them choose: “I’d like to help you create that deck, but the VP of marketing asked me to deliver research by tomorrow. What should take priority?”

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