Questions tagged [saying-no]

Questions about how best to approach saying "no", or declining requests. Please explain in your question why just saying "no" is not sufficient.

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184
votes
10answers
40k views

How to ask a vegan to stop telling me about veganism because I am not interested in it?

I work in an office with a couple of vegan coworkers. If I bring any animal products to lunch (even cheese, which they can smell), I'm likely to get a long earful about it. In the past, I've listened ...
175
votes
14answers
32k views

How to tell people I'm not their tech support?

I have a rather common problem for people in my field of study (computer science). The problem is this: People, especially relatives, ask you stuff about their computer-related problems, for example: "...
174
votes
20answers
63k views

How to avoid being seen as a cash cow by my family?

Situation I'm German, in my mid-20s and currently living together with my girlfriend without kids. I earn a fairly good salary for my age compared to other family members and was always a saver (...
141
votes
11answers
68k views

How to tell girlfriend I don't want to meet without hurting her feelings?

My girlfriend and I have "fixed" days we see each other, because we normally don't have time on other days. Sometimes, it happens that her training gets cancelled and she has time that evening and ...
134
votes
7answers
33k views

Girlfriend's nosy mother keeps expressing that she'll show up unannounced

Some context: my girlfriend and I have been dating for a year, and we've decided to move in together now that she has graduated and found a job in her chosen career. We're both financially ...
109
votes
8answers
39k views

How can I tactfully refuse to switch seats on flights?

On flights, seatmates (strangers near my seat) have asked me to swap my aisle seat (reserved in advance, sometimes paid for), usually to my disadvantage as their seat has some snag (dirtier, narrower, ...
107
votes
7answers
34k views

How to gently turn down a female coworker who asked for a sperm donation?

I have a female co-worker (she's technically my superior but in another department). We've worked together for about 4.5 years and have been become pretty good friends, we'll always chat in the ...
86
votes
8answers
54k views

How to reject a proposal from a close friend?

I have been friends with a girl at work for more than a year. I have always seen her as a friend and I am pretty sure I never did anything to lead her on. I am going to switch jobs in a couple of ...
81
votes
6answers
27k views

How do I politely decline a request for a contract marriage?

I am a recent graduate from a school in the United States that has a large number of international students. During my time there, I became friends with someone who I will refer to as "Suzy." Suzy and ...
78
votes
11answers
25k views

How do I tell students at a school I volunteer at to stop flirting with me?

Occasionally, I head out to volunteer to teach robotics programming at an all-girls school in my area. For context, I'm male and age 20, and the students are adolescent females in 7th and 8th grade (...
78
votes
14answers
21k views

How can I stress to my brother the importance of saving when he relies on me as a safety net?

My younger brother has a wife and two daughters and has habit of spending money. For example, he likes going to movies often, eating out often, and buying name brand clothes. I also have a wife and ...
75
votes
9answers
16k views

How to redirect a real-life help vampire to an alternate source of food… um… assistance?

I've recently had some troubles with a help-vampire in the office. She's about my age (late twenties), from India and she doesn't speak Dutch. She works in the same office as me, but not on the same ...
73
votes
12answers
25k views

Asking a coworker to discontinue his chivalrous acts towards me?

I've made a friend, Bob, in my workplace who is too much of a gentleman for my comfort level. Initially, we became fast friends due to our shared interests and political beliefs. We often message ...
73
votes
7answers
13k views

How to politely handle support requests which lack some basic understanding?

So as a free software developer, I'm fond that there are users of my projects. However, from time to time, it happens that some people who are definitely not in the target audience for a piece of ...
71
votes
21answers
25k views

How do I deal with a mother who won't take “no” for an answer?

My mother is quite single-minded in getting what she wants. Unfortunately, she also has only a single tactic: trying to convince me every single time we talk. Most of these things are products or ...
60
votes
8answers
18k views

How do you politely stand your ground against authority who repeatedly press a question that you declined to answer?

This questioner is positioned with authority and power in a professional context. Background An elderly relative's mental illnesses cause stuttering and awkward behavior that probably explains her ...
57
votes
7answers
14k views

How to dismiss intrusive questions from a colleague with whom I don't work?

I have a colleague of mine at work. He's just my peer, not my boss or a higher rank, I do not report to him in any way. When I'm late for work (for different, sometimes very personal reasons), he ...
56
votes
18answers
14k views

How do you deal with someone who's pushing you without explaining yourself?

There are certain people, especially family members you see from time to time or other close relatives, who simply don't know where to stop when offering you something. Usually it's about drinking ...
54
votes
12answers
15k views

Convince somebody to stop flirting with me

Brief Summary So, I've been in a bit of a situation recently: one of my co-workers (female, I'm male btw) started flirting with me. It started with her throwing things like "hey, beautiful", and I ...
53
votes
11answers
18k views

How to say no to an extremely pushy friend

My friend, which is also my coworker, likes to organise events for his friends. He invites a lot of people, but always expects everyone to join him regardless of if they have already planned something ...
52
votes
3answers
9k views

How to decline physical affection from a child whose parents are pressuring them?

My Situation I am an uncle to 6 nieces and nephews. I live about 1000 miles away from the rest of my family, so I only see them 2-3 times each year. When it comes time to say goodbye, it is common ...
52
votes
14answers
13k views

How to survive as a notter where it is not the norm?

I am a serial and consistent "notter"¹: I do not drink (alcohol or coffee), smoke, do any form of drugs, I'm a vegetarian, etc. All of these things have been consistent for me for a decade or more. ...
48
votes
13answers
13k views

How can I politely say to my coworker that he should not comment on what I am eating [closed]

Problem: Every day, we are eating at a table of 10 people and there is a man that I like but who is not my friend, just a coworker that I only see during breaks who always comments on the food ...
44
votes
14answers
17k views

How can I deny a request from the mother of my girlfriend to tag along on our road trip?

Background My girlfriend and I are going on a holiday in her native country, about 800km from our current city. We planned this holiday months ago and we planned to stay for 2 weeks. Problem Today ...
44
votes
5answers
13k views

How can I help a close friend get over me?

I have this friend, I could easily call her my best friend. We see each other at least twice a week usually, have travelled together etc. About 6 months ago she confessed that she has feelings for me, ...
42
votes
9answers
6k views

Appropriate ways to dismiss street vendors?

In the Netherlands, it seems to be quite common lately to hire some students, put them on a busy main street or outside a supermarket, and have them target every passerby by asking 'Can I ask you ...
42
votes
9answers
11k views

How to ask to pay for products from a friend's shop rather than accepting them as gifts without being rude?

Little bit of background: a few weeks ago, my friend/coworker's sister, we'll call her Lila, opened up a shop with her boyfriend, let's call him Mark, about things that generally interest me. I've ...
40
votes
13answers
22k views

How to turn down 'stay in touch' proposal from manipulative ex-coworker when leaving job/moving?

I recently quit my job, after a three months notice, and I've changed my region of residence (it's like moving to another state in the USA, but the regions are smaller). The last day, when everyone ...
40
votes
13answers
13k views

How to decline a job offer from a previous employer, without burning bridges?

A little over a year ago I changed my job. Now my previous employer (a small startup) has contacted me asking what it would take for me to come back. While the place was not at all bad and I left on ...
39
votes
5answers
15k views

How do I reject helping my neighbour who constantly asks me for little favours?

My neighbour is constantly asking me for little favours, which is super obnoxious. She regularly asks me to maintain her smartphone as she has no clue what to do with a smartphone and keeps ...
37
votes
2answers
14k views

How to explain that we are not comfortable with a new boyfriend staying at our house?

My wife is having a friend stay over with us at the end of the month for a visit. The friend asked if she could bring her new (~2 months) boyfriend along as well. We are not comfortable with this for ...
36
votes
6answers
10k views

How to politely decline painting requests from co-workers?

Update: Someone recently requested I paint something, and I said that I'm short on time. It was really painless Thank you guys! I paint to relax. During the office lunch break, I paint in my ...
36
votes
6answers
9k views

How to refuse politely to play with someone as a streamer

I'm a new (game) streamer, I don't have a massive audience, and I find myself in quite a challenge. Often when I play, some viewers will ask if they can play with me (or us if I'm already playing ...
35
votes
8answers
13k views

How can I tactfully refuse to let someone cut in line? [closed]

On over 3 occasions at different supermarkets in the same neighbourhood, I've bumped into the same person asking to cut in line. He usually says: Sorry. Can I please go in front? I'm in a big hurry....
35
votes
13answers
8k views

Explaining why I don't use social media

I don't use social media. Faceplace, flutter, you name it, I really hate it, and I avoid it. Unfortunately social media seems to be expected these days. Like it's a given that everybody uses it and ...
33
votes
12answers
17k views

How to handle unwanted touching from my partner's friend during conversations?

My partner recently reunited with a friend "Bob" from high school, who has also recently been divorced from his wife of 25 years. He has been visiting us quite often lately and we do enjoy having him ...
33
votes
15answers
13k views

Dealing with a friend trying to get me a girlfriend

TL;DR: Bruce is pushing for me to enter a relationship with Mary, and I like Mary, but don't want any relationship right now, and I want him to back off. The People Me: I am not interested in a ...
33
votes
6answers
10k views

How to properly reject an intimate suggestion?

This question comes from a situation that was quite a while ago. At the time I was 16, while I'm 22 now. I'm a guy and was at my girlfriend’s house while we were cuddling. She suggested that I touched ...
32
votes
4answers
15k views

How do I convince my Mom I’m not inviting my brother to someone else’s bachelor party?

My friend is getting married, and another mutual friend is planning his bachelor party, to which I’ve been invited (we’re all in our early 30s). Initially, my mother wanted me to take it upon myself ...
32
votes
10answers
17k views

Saying “No” to my brother's demand without causing an argument

Bit of background on my relationship with my brother: ever since my teenage years, I could not bear him. I know it is common for siblings to have arguments and misunderstandings, and that's been the ...
32
votes
9answers
14k views

How do I politely tell my coworker he can do the work himself?

My team, A, has set up everything for team B to work with. They can change texts, values, basic colors. The only thing they can't change is general layout or complicated styling. They can ask my team, ...
31
votes
9answers
10k views

How can I tell my aunt that I won't be 'Santa' next year

My family has a very large Christmas get-together every year in which there is a tradition where one of the cousins (aged 20-30) will dress up as Santa (Edit: "Santa" for this is very gender neutral - ...
31
votes
10answers
28k views

How to politely decline an opportunity to be involved in a pyramid scheme?

I have a friend who is involved in a Multi-Level Marketing scheme (which sounds a lot like a pyramid scheme). She often invites me to events where she sells things. When we meet outside these nights, ...
31
votes
7answers
7k views

How to nicely reject someone who is hitting on you in the United States?

The other day I was on the bus and this girl awkwardly walked up to me and started talking to me. She then gave me her number. I wasn't really interested in interacting more with her, so I pretended ...
31
votes
3answers
14k views

How to permanently leave a group activity without insulting a friend

Currently I am in a group activity (pen&paper online) we started 2 years ago and which is held weekly. I consider everyone of this group as my friend. But I have had arguments with the leader of ...
30
votes
8answers
6k views

In an early relationship, how can I handle my partner's deep depression and not be an enabler?

As a preface, I apologize if this question seems off-topic; it is a twisted problem that I have tried to narrow down to a single, good question that addresses the lump sum of my concerns and issues ...
29
votes
4answers
12k views

How do I say no to a stranger asking to borrow my bicycle for a minute?

Last night, I took my bicycle to meet some friends (both boys and girls). While we were sitting there (on the curb, in a relatively secluded place where the teen will often meet for a pakal (a meeting,...
28
votes
5answers
29k views

How to gently tell someone that you just want to be friends?

Already many months ago, "Bob" joined my circle of friends. He has a plethora of good character traits and it is really great to hang out with him. In addition, he is a bit shy and also introverted. ...
27
votes
9answers
12k views

How can I get my sister to stop asking me to help her smoke?

My sister is in the hospital. She’s a smoker and has run out of cigarettes and is asking me to bring her more. She is not hospitalized because of her smoking. I strongly disagree with smoking and ...