Friday, November 6, 2015

Just Say No

November 6, 2015

I have a hard time getting people to say, “No.”

“Really?” you say. “Tough problem!”

But seriously, here are just a few of the questions people haven’t responded to in the past:

·         Do you do alterations?
·         Would you like to come downtown with my friends and me?
·         Can you click on this link and see if it allows people besides me to edit it?
·         We’re hosting Thanksgiving. Can you and your family come?

People simply ignore the questions—even when they’re part of a longer e-mail exchange (so they can’t pretend they didn’t get the message). In all these cases, a simple sentence will suffice: “No.” If you want to spiff it up or soften the answer, “No, thanks for asking.”

I wonder if people don’t respond because they’re afraid they’ll hurt my feelings (they won’t), or because they’re used to other people badgering them if they say no. (I won’t.) Or if they think that they have to give reasons, and can’t think of something that doesn’t sound totally lame.

It’s not necessary to give reasons. You don’t have to tell the truth: “I’d rather have bamboo slivers inserted under my fingernails than hang out with you and your friends.” Or, “Too much family at Thanksgiving gives me indigestion.” You don’t have to lie: “Sorry, that’s the ONLY night I can wash my dog!” You don’t owe people explanations—but you do owe them the courtesy of a response.

So, right in time for the holidays, here is your quick How-to Guide on avoiding things you don’t want to do:

Just. Say. No.

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