A punch in the teeth isn’t a great way for a boxer to develop his skills. But knockouts aren’t always a waste of time either, because hits to the face do teach the boxer how to dodge the next blow – his way of saying ‘No’ to a broken jaw.

What if he learned how to dodge the punches before they landed?

Your career is similar. Only, instead of face punches, you may find yourself confronted with opportunities that aren’t always a good match for you. According to Fast Company, these are the 3 Types of ‘No’ You Need to Master in Your Career:

1. The hard No

Sometimes you get an offer you instantly know isn’t for you. Or you get a persistent someone who doesn’t get the drift. This is the time to embrace the hard No. Remember, if you’re professional enough, you’re not going to burn bridges or upset anyone too much.

Be direct and to the point, like “Thanks for the offer to punch me in the face. I’ve thought about it and decided that I prefer more pain-free approaches to learning. So, it’s a grateful No from me.”

2. The soft No

What if getting punched in the face could speed up your learning? You might be leaning towards a No, but want to make sure you’ve got all the facts first, like, what’s the punch-quantity-to-learning ratio? How hard are the hits? Will you lose a tooth, or just bleed a little from the lip?

In this case, a great response is: “If I’m going to take you up on your offer, I need to understand more about the dodge-by-punch learning process.”

3. Ask me later

What if you’re happy to stay where you are for now, but wouldn’t mind considering something similar in the future? This is where you can use the for-now No. After all, not everything in your career should happen right away.

Here, it’s good to explain your predicament: your interest plus your reason for delay. Then see if you can find a way to extend or renew the offer later.

At the end of the day, this is your career. You’re the one who has to make the calls and suffer the consequences. It’s no time to say Yes just to save face.