Author Topic: How to politely say "no"  (Read 11326 times)

clarkfan1979

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How to politely say "no"
« on: April 30, 2016, 12:52:01 PM »
My wife and I are taking an extended vacation for 3 months during the summer. We did this last year and are excited to begin our summer vacation next week. Because we don't "have a real job" during the summer, we have been targeted from family and friends to help out with their chores that they don't want to do including helping them move. How do you politely tell people "no" when you have a lot of free time?

GreenEggs

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 01:31:53 PM »
Thank them for thinking of you, but tell them that you'll have to check with your mate because you seem to recall (s)he had mentioned "something" that you're doing then.  I also usually try to mention that my back or elbow (or something) has "been acting up lately".

That's the best thing about being a couple, you can always use them as an "out" by acting like a thoughtful mate.  ;) 

I've actually been getting better at just saying "Thanks anyway, but I'm sure there's something I'd rather be doing then.  Hire a college or high school kid."   If they don't like the reply, they'll get over it... If not, "who cares". 


ender

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 02:34:46 PM »
My wife and I are taking an extended vacation for 3 months during the summer. We did this last year and are excited to begin our summer vacation next week. Because we don't "have a real job" during the summer, we have been targeted from family and friends to help out with their chores that they don't want to do including helping them move. How do you politely tell people "no" when you have a lot of free time?

What type of "targeting" do you mean? How you say no depends greatly on the types of things people are asking you.

One easy way to get a "no without saying no" is to respond something along the lines of, "We could help you guys on X, we're hoping to do Y and would love some help too" or something.

The way you worded this though makes it sound like your friends want to mooch off of you.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 02:55:02 PM »
As far as moving stuff or other big pain in the ass crap, my standard answer has always been "I don't even move my own furniture now - I think I finally reached the age level where I don't have to that stuff any more!" usually said with a laugh and smile and then I change the subject. And I also suggest hiring a college or high school kid for stuff around the house. Hell, I used to suggest hiring a moving company instead because "at least if something goes missing or gets broken, you'll be covered and they'll do it 10 times faster and there's no chance of someone getting hurt and ruining a friendship/relationship over bad feelings." (this actually covers the idea of hiring a professional for doing crap around the house as well - plumber, painting, redoing deck...)



What's wrong with just saying "sorry, no. I'm not doing that." which is completely and totally acceptable? You are an adult and can decide what you will or will not do with your free time.

It's not on you if your friends/family act like assholes when you say no to them - if they try to guilt or otherwise make you feel bad for not doing something you don't want to do, then you have a bigger issue and I'd start pulling back and telling them why - that you and spouse are using this summer to get things done and enjoy yourselves and no one has a right to make demands on your time and energy.

If you feel like helping someone out, then great, but if not, then yeah, say that's not something you're going to do and then change the subject and if they come back to it, then you'll know to tell them "Hey, I really don't feel comfortable about you badgering me about this. I've already said I don't want to do that, so could you please stop bring this up?" and if they don't, leave or end the phone convo "So I asked you to stop and you won't, so I guess I'm going to leave/get off the phone and maybe we can visit/chat later." 

Stand firm on your decisions, and make sure to tell them that you won't be guilted or manipulated and leave/end the convo if they do so. At worst you end up with less crappy friends/family in your life, at best you're teaching them that they can't force you to put up with them treating you poorly and they start respecting you as a person.



But if the polite spine approach isn't something you feel you can do, then white lies. You can't because you have plans. You can't because you think you have a bad back (this works for most chore stuff - no lifting or climbing up and down ladders or reaching). You can't because somethingsomething... smile, say sorry, no because x, and then move on. Never get into an elaborate lie. Don't get drawn into defending yourself or explaining yourself.

ltt

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 03:07:29 PM »
How about something along the line of, "Sorry, our summer is pretty booked up, but if some time frees up, we'll be happy to help." 

clarkfan1979

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 02:15:11 AM »
How about something along the line of, "Sorry, our summer is pretty booked up, but if some time frees up, we'll be happy to help."

I think this has been our generic reply. However, it doesn't really sound very convincing. I guess I will just stick with that.

There were some good suggestions in the additional replies. Thank you.


bestname

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2016, 06:06:46 PM »
In my experience, whatever the request, the less you say the better. Offering explanations, reason, etc just seems to invite negotiation. 'Sorry, I wish I could help." "Sorry I'm not going to be able to make it/do that/ help this time." And leave it at that.

Tester

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2016, 06:18:19 PM »
You could just say "No, but thank you for thinking about me." :).
If they are real friends you will laugh it over a beer/coffee/something else, if not...

G-dog

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2016, 07:14:11 PM »
How about something along the line of, "Sorry, our summer is pretty booked up, but if some time frees up, we'll be happy to help."

Fixed that for you - never end with an open-ended offer to help in the future UNLESS you really mean it. Otherwise the requests will never stop.

I also like the barter idea - I will help you with X, if you help me with Y. You may want to do Y before X, just in case.

gooki

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2016, 07:16:53 PM »
What's wrong with helping a friend move? Helping people is a great way to improve your happiness and theirs.

Now if they want help doing standard chores, fuck yeah say no. No i'm not helping you clean your house. No i'm not helping you mow your lawns.

humbleMouse

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2016, 02:40:38 PM »
Tack a "hell" onto the front of it as such --> "hell no"!

Pro_Amateur

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2016, 12:52:50 PM »
Susan Cain (Author of "QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Canít Stop Talking") recently mentioned an article in Fast Company about saying no. I've forwarded it to a number of trainees at my organization because if they don't learn how to say no quickly, they tend to burn out after a year or two.

Here's the link:
http://www.fastcompany.com/3060441/your-most-productive-self/the-3-types-of-no-you-need-to-master-in-your-career

frugalnacho

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2016, 01:07:17 PM »
What's wrong with helping a friend move? Helping people is a great way to improve your happiness and theirs.

Now if they want help doing standard chores, fuck yeah say no. No i'm not helping you clean your house. No i'm not helping you mow your lawns.

It's a pain in the ass.  Once someone knows you are a solid friend that can't say no (my wife) you get targeted to help all your friends move.  It's an entire day of boring, back breaking labor and I get paid with like 4 slices of pizza.  And I invariably incur more costs than 4 slices of pizza just by driving my own vehicle to where ever they are moving to.   No one ever picks a nice breezy 70 degree day to move either.  It's always either 95* and blistering sun, or it's cold and rainy.  I think those are the only 2 options you have for weather on moving days. 

dcozad999

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2016, 02:19:46 PM »
You could just say "No, but thank you for thinking about me." :).
If they are real friends you will laugh it over a beer/coffee/something else, if not...


If they are real friends they would help them move.

boarder42

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2016, 02:22:20 PM »
i was about to tell you to GO somewhere then people wont request you help then i saw you're already in paradise.  love kauai.

lizzzi

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2016, 02:26:59 PM »
I think claiming a health reason is bona fide, even if it is a white lie. Blame it on your back or whatever.  "Oh, sorry, my back, my sciatica, my arthritis, my sports injury, etc. etc is kicking up" No one can argue with that, even if they don't believe you.

Another one I heard someone use that worked well in the situation was, "Oh, no thanks...that wasn't on my agenda for tonight." I guess it's another way to phrase it when you have other plans and don't want to do what they're trying to get you to do for the evening, the weekend, whatever.

Or just use the line about, "Oh sorry, I've got plans for that day...that weekend...that evening...whatever. Maybe your plans are to sit home and watch Netflix while eating fudge, but they don't need to know that.

Another good one if you're at all feeble in any way...maybe you've just been through some physical or emotional trauma or something...maybe you're just too tired because of being up at night with your kids or whatever, or from your job, is to just say, without explanation, "Sorry, but I'm just not up to it." Then if they keep asking, you just keep saying it. "Sorry, but I'm just not up to it."

Don't say too much, don't be apologetic,  (the "sorry" is just a filler word) don't say something open-ended that will give them the impression that this is negotiable.  Of course, if you want to help with whatever it is--and sometimes you will, of course...then it's a different story. We don't always want to get out of everything.

Stachey

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2016, 04:15:55 PM »
You: "Oh sorry I'm busy that day."
Friend:  "But you don't know what day it is yet."
You: "Yeah I know."

markbike528CBX

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2016, 05:50:02 PM »
I've never figured out the fine art of the soft no to Japanese colleagues, so I've defaulted to "NO".

colleague:  My boss says we need to take pictures of the samples (wrapped in cellophane, numbered, all in the same position in the instrument, identical-looking).

Me: No,  your boss is not my boss,
              It is totally ridiculous to take them, especially  with a fixed macro lens, a 12Mpixel camera
              I'm not going to do it, it is a waste of time, we are not paid to do infinite overtime,
             you can do it if you want- but don't slow me down

result, the _next day_, no more useless pics

lizzzi

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2016, 05:58:52 AM »
If you have parents or grandparents within a reasonably local area, it can be helpful to take their names in vain, even if it is a semi-white lie. Say something vague but impossible to argue with, "Oh sorry, I can't. My mom/dad/grandma wanted me to come over and help them with blah-blah-blah that weekend."

Blatant

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2016, 08:13:21 AM »
White lies? Extensive white lies tying into other white lies? Jesus. I thought we were grown-ass adults.

Here's my take, for what it's worth: If a true friend asks for help, I help. Period. If it's someone other than that, I might help anyway. If not, just say no in the most polite way you know how. Pretty simple stuff here.

Daleth

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2016, 08:23:36 AM »
As far as moving stuff or other big pain in the ass crap, my standard answer has always been "I don't even move my own furniture now - I think I finally reached the age level where I don't have to that stuff any more!" usually said with a laugh and smile and then I change the subject. And I also suggest hiring a college or high school kid for stuff around the house. Hell, I used to suggest hiring a moving company instead because "at least if something goes missing or gets broken, you'll be covered and they'll do it 10 times faster and there's no chance of someone getting hurt and ruining a friendship/relationship over bad feelings." (this actually covers the idea of hiring a professional for doing crap around the house as well - plumber, painting, redoing deck...)

THIS. This is the perfect answer, assuming you're at least 35, because it is funny and totally eliminates the possibility that they'll ask again. If you say anything along the lines of "we're busy then" or even "my shoulder is acting up," that suggests that at some other time when you're not busy or your shoulder is ok, you would be happy to help... so you may get asked again, and every time you respond with some manufactured excuse it gets less convincing. If you respond like the above, it is a funny, friendly way of saying NEVER ASK ME AGAIN.


notactiveanymore

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2016, 08:43:40 AM »
I am legitimately out of commission for a couple days after helping someone move, so I've finally gotten confident when telling people no, my back can't handle moving days anymore. I'm 26, so it might still sound like a white lie, but oh well.

And in return for not helping them, I now hire movers anytime I have moved, even though it's just been across town. It cost me about $100 including two generous tips. And it was so totally worth it.

I only have one family member in town and it's my sister who is a single mother. So when she asks if I can come over to help her install something or if I can drop by her house while she's out of town to move a package inside, well, I can totally handle doing those things. I even helped her move last summer and suffered a week of nerve pain after.

If I felt my time was being taken for granted, I'd keep it short with my rejection. Be honest if you have a real conflict. Otherwise just a simple, "Sorry I won't be able to help with that". I'd also probably be a little less available. I'm not someone who always has their phone with them, so I could legitimately not see a text or call for hours. It helps people realize that you're not always available at their beck and call and that you have things going on.

crispy

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2016, 09:31:50 AM »
What's wrong with helping a friend move? Helping people is a great way to improve your happiness and theirs.

Now if they want help doing standard chores, fuck yeah say no. No i'm not helping you clean your house. No i'm not helping you mow your lawns.

Because I have been burned one too many times.  We hire movers, they can, too.

Rollin

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2016, 09:40:42 AM »
As far as moving stuff or other big pain in the ass crap, my standard answer has always been "I don't even move my own furniture now - I think I finally reached the age level where I don't have to that stuff any more!" usually said with a laugh and smile and then I change the subject. And I also suggest hiring a college or high school kid for stuff around the house. Hell, I used to suggest hiring a moving company instead because "at least if something goes missing or gets broken, you'll be covered and they'll do it 10 times faster and there's no chance of someone getting hurt and ruining a friendship/relationship over bad feelings." (this actually covers the idea of hiring a professional for doing crap around the house as well - plumber, painting, redoing deck...)



What's wrong with just saying "sorry, no. I'm not doing that." which is completely and totally acceptable? You are an adult and can decide what you will or will not do with your free time.

It's not on you if your friends/family act like assholes when you say no to them - if they try to guilt or otherwise make you feel bad for not doing something you don't want to do, then you have a bigger issue and I'd start pulling back and telling them why - that you and spouse are using this summer to get things done and enjoy yourselves and no one has a right to make demands on your time and energy.

If you feel like helping someone out, then great, but if not, then yeah, say that's not something you're going to do and then change the subject and if they come back to it, then you'll know to tell them "Hey, I really don't feel comfortable about you badgering me about this. I've already said I don't want to do that, so could you please stop bring this up?" and if they don't, leave or end the phone convo "So I asked you to stop and you won't, so I guess I'm going to leave/get off the phone and maybe we can visit/chat later." 

Stand firm on your decisions, and make sure to tell them that you won't be guilted or manipulated and leave/end the convo if they do so. At worst you end up with less crappy friends/family in your life, at best you're teaching them that they can't force you to put up with them treating you poorly and they start respecting you as a person.



But if the polite spine approach isn't something you feel you can do, then white lies. You can't because you have plans. You can't because you think you have a bad back (this works for most chore stuff - no lifting or climbing up and down ladders or reaching). You can't because somethingsomething... smile, say sorry, no because x, and then move on. Never get into an elaborate lie. Don't get drawn into defending yourself or explaining yourself.

Was with you there for the first more direct approach, but using white lies (or other excuses as others have offered) is not good for anyone in the relationship. It even has a negative impact on the person offering the white lie (you may not be aware of that, but it is back there somewhere bugging you - some call it Karma, but mainly it weighs you down).

dcozad999

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2016, 10:36:19 AM »
White lies? Extensive white lies tying into other white lies? Jesus. I thought we were grown-ass adults.

Here's my take, for what it's worth: If a true friend asks for help, I help. Period. If it's someone other than that, I might help anyway. If not, just say no in the most polite way you know how. Pretty simple stuff here.



Thank you.

What ever happened to telling the truth? If someone's going to lie to me about something so stupid, then I don't really want their friendship. If you don't want to do it, the polite way to say no is "No. I don't want to do it."

If they are good friends, and you are physically able, why would you not want to help them? Sometimes we have to disrupt our lives for a day and do things we don't want to do to help a friend.
Tomorrow I have to go help someone pick up a piano 60 miles away. I sure as hell don't want to do it, and I certainly have better things to do, but he's a good friend.

And if they are just casual friends, then why the fuck are they asking you to help them move?


Dezrah

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2016, 02:43:21 PM »
Not long ago my cousin and her husband were flying out for vacation. They called and asked her mother and asked if she could come pick them up and take them to the airport. It was super early on a Saturday and the whole ordeal would probably take about 2 hours. My aunt said no and suggested they use uber or a shuttle service.

They then called my sister who obliged although it was no less difficult for her. My aunt seemed actually embarrassed that my cousin would make such a tall request.

I saw the situation for what it was. My sister certainly wasn't doing this out of the kindness of her heart, she was earning social currency to ask for a comparable favor in the future.

My aunt is accustomed to taking care of herself and doesn't really need to ask for favors, especially when a reasonable amount of cash can handle it. Sister and cousin are less established and favors are still highly valuable.

If you don't want to do it, say no, but I always assumed the FIRE scene highly valued these favor trade situations. Now if these people are most likely going to hum and haw and never do something nice for you in return,  then screw being nice and just decline without an excuse.

lizzzi

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2016, 04:59:39 PM »
White lies? Extensive white lies tying into other white lies? Jesus. I thought we were grown-ass adults.

Here's my take, for what it's worth: If a true friend asks for help, I help. Period. If it's someone other than that, I might help anyway. If not, just say no in the most polite way you know how. Pretty simple stuff here.



Thank you.

What ever happened to telling the truth? If someone's going to lie to me about something so stupid, then I don't really want their friendship. If you don't want to do it, the polite way to say no is "No. I don't want to do it."

If they are good friends, and you are physically able, why would you not want to help them? Sometimes we have to disrupt our lives for a day and do things we don't want to do to help a friend.
Tomorrow I have to go help someone pick up a piano 60 miles away. I sure as hell don't want to do it, and I certainly have better things to do, but he's a good friend.

And if they are just casual friends, then why the fuck are they asking you to help them move?

I was just putting some suggestions up the flagpole--no need to salute. In all honesty, I myself either just help out, or, if I don't think the request was appropriate, I just say no without much folderol.

Blatant

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2016, 06:28:30 AM »
As much as I like MMM himself, I find some folks that populate this site to be confounding to me personally.

I'm not a special snowflake by any means. But might I offer that being a "badass" -- which is a common MMM trope -- is truly about more than maxing out your 401k and buying a rental property. Sometimes you just help people when they need it. Sometimes that means your only "reward" is a couple slices of pizza and a beer or two.

If you really need rewards for helping out a friend, I suggest you have holes in your game that are much more important than your retirement holdings.

Metric Mouse

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2016, 10:11:39 PM »
As much as I like MMM himself, I find some folks that populate this site to be confounding to me personally.

I'm not a special snowflake by any means. But might I offer that being a "badass" -- which is a common MMM trope -- is truly about more than maxing out your 401k and buying a rental property. Sometimes you just help people when they need it. Sometimes that means your only "reward" is a couple slices of pizza and a beer or two.

If you really need rewards for helping out a friend, I suggest you have holes in your game that are much more important than your retirement holdings.

Right? Now I'm going to picture this forum as filled with Ebenezer Scrooges, counting their money while their friends  struggle to lift their possessions down rickety stairs as the evection team watches...

MayDay

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2016, 09:18:23 AM »
These kind of situations always devolve into "how can you mean selfish people never help anyone out? Scrooge!".


Lol for days.

You all know you help out a true friend who asks reasonable favors on a reasonable timeline, and reciprocates! That is not the problem! The problem, as clearly outlined in the OP, is when everyone under the sun decides since you are retired/off for the summer/a stay at home parent, that your schedule is wide open to help your friend's sister's neighbor that you met once last year more his 4 bedroom house across town.

crispy

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Re: How to politely say "no"
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2016, 11:59:48 AM »
These kind of situations always devolve into "how can you mean selfish people never help anyone out? Scrooge!".


Lol for days.

You all know you help out a true friend who asks reasonable favors on a reasonable timeline, and reciprocates! That is not the problem! The problem, as clearly outlined in the OP, is when everyone under the sun decides since you are retired/off for the summer/a stay at home parent, that your schedule is wide open to help your friend's sister's neighbor that you met once last year more his 4 bedroom house across town.

Exactly. We have one set of friends that we would do anything for and we know they feel the same. We have helped each other move, watched each others kids, etc.  These are the people who drove eight hours to be at my dad's funeral just because they wanted to show their support to me. 

The people I will no longer help are those who never, ever reciprocate.  There have been two people we helped move in the recent past, and it was an absolute nightmare because they hadn't bothered to pack and we ended up spending an entire day trying to get them moved.  We didn't even get lunch at one of the moves.  When we moved last year, I was still recovering from a car accident that left me in a lot of pain.  We hired movers, but neither of them volunteered a bit of help.  I no longer have time for people like that.