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My family wants me to pursue a career I'm not interested in, how do I tell them no?

28 Answers
Last Updated: 02/23/2021 at 4:09pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Monique Thompson, LPC, LPC-S

Licensed Professional Counselor

I am in my 21st year as a psychotherapist. I have worked with over 3, 000 people over the course of my career.

Top Rated Answers
October 29th, 2014 5:06am
Kindly, and maturely let them know that that career isnt for you, then go on by describing the career you want. And if you dont know yet, tell them youre intrests, if you want to travel and absorb culture, or just have fun right now, thats okay!
September 14th, 2014 10:17pm
Be honest with them, its your life, they can't force you do have a career you do not like. Sit them down, and tell them straight.
November 16th, 2014 8:06pm
I think that the best way to do this is to find a situation in which you can have an open and honest discourse. Put some time aside to talk about it and have some coffee/tea at hand. Maybe it would help to bring some alternatives to the table to show that you have done your research and spent time thinking about what it right for you. I imagine that they have your best interests at heart and will be happy to hear your views. I wish you well.
October 7th, 2014 3:25pm
Tell them that while you understand and respect their needs, your profession must appeal to you personally. Otherwise you would not look forward to your work on any day of your life. Tell them that you are really excited about ____ idea and ____ knowledge and your dream is to pursue ____. In this profession you will be able to generate ideas and create and be fulfilled in your future. Isn't that their goal too--to see you happy and fulfilled and creative?
October 29th, 2014 8:54pm
Tell them you don't have the same interests but you are thankful that they are looking out for you and your life.
September 26th, 2014 2:31pm
Simply "no" will affect negatively. Go through the career You love, Prove You can do it, Make Success, That will be a nice "no" to say.
November 15th, 2014 8:35pm
It's always a good idea to explain them how pursuing a career you're not interested in will affect your health and life. You could also try to explain how much something you like means to you and how you will be happier doing that. It's always a good idea to try to explain and discuss instead of saying "no".
January 8th, 2015 12:33am
It is best to sit them down and explain to them why the career would not be suiting to you. It will also help to explain to them why you want to do the career that you want to choice instead. My mother pushed for me to into the medical field and I wanted to go into the education field. Yes, I agree with her the money would be better but after I explained that I wanted into a job that I loved not one that I dread the rest of my life, she better undestood what was best for her at my age may not be best for me.
November 4th, 2015 7:12am
Saying "No" to parents is indeed a difficult job. As they think its best career choice for your better future and they think you can’t take right decisions. But if you are not interested to pursue a career in what they want, then you need to convince them that. After all it’s your life. First take your own time to decide what you really want to do. Sometimes we get confuse with multiple choices of career options or sometimes we don’t understand what we exactly want to do. In this situation you can take help of career counselor. Once you know what you want to pursue as a career, then it’s easier to explain your parents. Don’t be aggressive, as it will worsen the situation. Talk to them politely and with confidence. And explain them that how you will be happy and satisfied in with your own choice of career and get success in that with hard work. All the best.
November 13th, 2017 4:14pm
Personally I never argued with my parents when they wanted me to pursue schooling that I didn't want. Instead I told them something like "not now" and pursued what I wanted. Now I make a nice salary and mentioned to dad last night... and he was floored. #Iwon. Best of luck to you!
October 25th, 2014 5:27pm
Depends on your family. But it is always a good idea to show maturity and decision, and never speak violently. Try to explain it clearly to have better results
November 9th, 2014 12:21pm
I'll assume that your family is orthodox which is why they aren't letting you pursue another career. You can tell them in a way they understand. You could take help of any of your family member or family friend whom your family trusts and who also supports your decisions. Or you could tell them by giving a few famous examples.
December 25th, 2014 12:30pm
you can ask a teacher or someone your family respects - a priest, an older or more educated relative - to help you conduct some research on your prospective career. then you bring solid arguments why that would be good for you and why you think it suits you: "it'll come easier for me, i'll get better marks, i can prove you i'm a responsible person now, i can find a job sooner, i'll put more energy in it, i'll be happier!"
May 27th, 2015 11:20pm
Say them no. Im sure they wud understand. As long as wht u choose for ur career will be success and get high salary
May 30th, 2015 8:55pm
Calmly try to explain to them that's something you're not particularly interested in as a career. Perhaps explain your reasons why.
June 4th, 2015 3:06pm
Im sorry that you don't have an understanding family. It's illogical for them to want you pursue the career you are not interested in. But just as much as they want to change your thought, you also want to change their mind as well. It't impossible to change anyone's mind, including your family in this case. So there will be nothing can be told for them to accept your decision. You don't need to fight - talk with them, because it won't work. Just go do what you want. When time passes by, they will give up . They are your family, they won't kill you.
August 11th, 2015 11:45am
If i were in your shoes, i would talk with my parents and tell them what i am capable of. I would tell them what i am interested in. Kindly and calmly. They would listen i guess...
September 28th, 2015 1:08am
When trying to convince someone of something they don't believe in, the first step is to gather evidence. Show your parents firstly, how CAPABLE you are of doing whatever you want to do. Don't say no to them without having any reason to back you up.
May 10th, 2016 1:23pm
Every parent wants their child to do good in life. They want their child to be successful and honored. They want their child to do something they dreamt of once (or for other purposes). As the time passes they become insistant. They tell you to choose subjects according to that career even though you don't want to. My parents wanted me to become I took biology but as the time passed I realized I don't want to be a doctor. So I told them. One day we were in living room having family time when I dropped the bomb. My mom was angry and sad but I told her that it was frustrating me studying something I have no interest in. Its my life and I want to choose my own future career. They were angry at me for some days but eventually calmed down because at the end of the day...we are their children. The trick is to tell them politely and honestly. To open up your problems about something you don't want to do. They will understand.
July 4th, 2016 6:43am
Respectfully tell them that it is your life and you do not want to follow the path theyre leading for you. Tell them that you have your own dreams and goals that you wish to acomplish in life and that you need their support.
August 21st, 2017 11:31pm
Have an honest and open conversation with them. Let them know that you understand that they want the best for you but that you have to do what makes you happy and that you want to pursue a career that you are passionate about.
December 29th, 2015 3:15pm
Explain to them why you aren't interested in that specific career. Then talk about other careers that you might be interested and share how those careers would lead to more happiness and success. Be sure to tell your family how much you would appreciate their support of your career choices.
January 5th, 2016 5:07pm
This is a common issue and needs to be solved by talking directly with your parents. Before covincing the whole family first talk to your parents. Make them understand that you wont be able to put your 100% in the career they want you to be in won't be ahppy doing it for your whole life. It isn't the money that always matters it is the happiness and satisfaction you will get will matter more
January 12th, 2016 2:57pm
Maybe you can remind them that they probably defied there parents at one point or another. (May not work for everyone)
February 1st, 2016 11:48am
Tell them clearly that you are more passionate about following your dreams than living theirs. That this career that you have in mind, is something that interests you greatly and that it is not worth giving up in order to satisfy them.. especially since work will be a large portion of your adult life, you need to make a decision you can live with, without regrets.
November 29th, 2016 1:32am
I truly believe that if you pursue what they want you to you will not be happy. I think you just need to sit them down and talk to them to make sure they understand why you are not interested in this particular career path. I sincerely hope that they understand where you are coming from and support you in whatever you decide to do :)
April 25th, 2017 11:38pm
You need to do what is best for you or you will never be happy... Just be open and honest and explain what career you are interested in pursuing and explain that path is what will make you happy x
February 23rd, 2021 4:09pm
have you thought about what career you would like to pursue in the future? the path you would need to go down to be able to pursue this? maybe figuring that out would be a crucial point in working out how to tell your family that the career they want you to pursue just isn't for you, as you have different aspirations to them. it's your life so you shouldn't have to feel as though you need to live up to their expectations of you by pursuing a career you have no interest in. you will be able to tell them when you feel the time is right, and maybe them seeing you happy in the career you want to pursue will help them realise it.