The “nice guys” reading this know that when they are asked to take on an extra project or task, they have trouble saying no. Or maybe they know how to decline, just not politely. How can you effectively say no without jeopardizing the relationship with that person or seeming like an unreasonable curmudgeon?
Saying no is terribly easy if you don’t care how the other party takes it, but saying no is never easy if you want to be tactful.
And tactful you’ll be if you follow this guide to saying no – we’re going to share 10 ways to politely decline an offer or request without weighing yourself down with guilt about it.
You have priorities, and it’s time to start putting them in order. Your assertiveness will pay off.
The Nice Guy’s Guide to Saying No: 10 Ways to Politely Decline
Without further ado, here’s the nice guy’s guide to saying no according to the request or offer you’ve been given.
1. Can I borrow X amount of money?
Say: As a rule, I don’t lend money to friends – otherwise, I’d say yes in a heartbeat. I hope you understand.
2. Will you chip in on a birthday gift for a colleague you don’t know?
Say: I’d love to personally wish him/her a happy birthday instead – what floor are they on?
3. Can I bring a plus one, even though the invite says no?
Say: Unfortunately, the guest list was tough to sort out and we had to leave out more than we wanted. We really can’t afford to add to the list, and that’s why we had to say no plus ones. But we would love to have you both over after the wedding!
4. Do you want this shiny new promotion?
Say: Wow, that is such a flattering proposition. At this time, the position I’m currently in just feels right to me – could we circle back on this and talk about in another 6 months or so?
5. You don’t mind coordinating the school fundraiser again, right?
Say: I’m much busier with work this year, and although I’d love to help, it’s just not in the cards for me. I’m sure some of the other parents would be able to pick up the slack since I’m unable this time around – maybe put a note in the newsletter?
6. Are you coming to the annual family picnic?
Say: We are so disappointed that we’ll have to miss the family picnic this year – we have plans that weekend, but we’ll be thinking of you all and definitely missing Aunt Sharon’s ___ (insert your favorite food dish at the picnic).
7. Can you take on this big project suddenly?
Say: Wow, that sounds like an incredible project – just from what you’ve told me so far, it doesn’t sound like I’ll have the time to spearhead that along with my other duties. Do you need me to re-prioritize, or is there someone else who could help you with the project?
8. Can I borrow your car for a day or two?
Say: As a general rule, we don’t lend out anything that costs more than $1,000 – I’m sorry I can’t lend you the car, but if you need a ride to work or to pick the kids up from school, just give me a call.
9. I know you said no kids, but I can bring mine to the party, right?
Say: Your kids are so fun – in any other scenario, we’d love to have them at the party. Unfortunately, some of our other guests with children had to make plans for childcare and we don’t want them to feel slighted by seeing other children at the party. We hope you understand.
10. We want you to join our board of directors – how does that sound?
Say: Wow, that’s quite an offer – I want to thank you for thinking of me and let you know how flattered I am. When I commit to something, I have to give it 100%, and right now, with X project, work, family, etc., I just don’t have the extra time to commit 100% to this. I’ll be a supporter from the sidelines, though!