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

I'm very sorry but your loans are in fact gifts. What you describe is actually you filling the gap in their spending pattern. That gap will not close, ever. Consecutive 'loans' without mention of ...
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  • 4,729
206 votes
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How to gently turn down a female coworker who asked for a sperm donation?

Tell her exactly what you've written above. That you're "not comfortable having a child out there whose life I have no part in". If she tries to engage in a debate, remember that you don't owe her an ...
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  • 17.1k
202 votes
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How to tell girlfriend I don't want to meet without hurting her feelings?

Having been here before myself, I think you need to realize what this means for your relationship. You don't feel able to relax and have you-time with her around. This is probably because you place a ...
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  • 1,902
195 votes
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How can I tactfully refuse to switch seats on flights?

"I'm sorry, I selected this seat in advance. But thank you for asking!" Another option is to say, "Thank you for asking! I like this seat just fine." Smile and be polite yet firm. It's been my ...
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  • 32.3k
187 votes
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Girlfriend's nosy mother keeps expressing that she'll show up unannounced

Like most boundary related issues, this is one of those "set a boundary and stick to it" situations. If the boundary you set says that it isn't ok to drop by unannounced, then that's the boundary. ...
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  • 54.7k
175 votes
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How to tell people I'm not their tech support?

As a computer scientist myself, here are the avenues I have taken: When asked to fix a Bluray player at a holiday gathering... "I can look, but your guess is as good as mine. I know how to write ...
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  • 22.6k
172 votes

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

Yeah, fraud is what I call "Not a good thing". The feds aren't pleasant about that particular one. She apparently won't talk seriously about this, so follow her lead: don't talk seriously about it. ...
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  • 32.3k
159 votes

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

It is very rude to bluntly say you won't use her email address. In my opinion you shouldn't turn her down at all. Take the email, thank her and just don't use it if you don't want to use it. In this ...
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  • 8,540
157 votes
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How to reject a proposal from a close friend?

How do I explain this to her without her getting hurt/our friendship getting ruined? Okay, that is definitely not going to happen. She is going to get hurt, and your friendship is going to be ...
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  • 1,844
147 votes
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How to dismiss intrusive questions from a colleague with whom I don't work?

As a woman who used to tend bar, I've dealt with a lot of intrusive questions at work, mostly from customers. A lot of men want to take home the bartender and many of them can be quite pushy about it....
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  • 2,361
143 votes

How can I tactfully refuse to switch seats on flights?

Unless they make a convincing appeal for why they really need my seat, I say something like "sorry, but I specifically reserved {an aisle seat, a window seat, a seat in the front of the plane, etc}". ...
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130 votes

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

This reminds me of a short story in Mandarin, roughly translated as such: A guy always gave a handout to a beggar near his home. When he was single, he gave five dollars. After he married, he gave ...
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  • 2,735
112 votes
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How to politely handle support requests which lack some basic understanding?

Anyone with a basic grasp on interpersonal skills wouldn't be posting this question. This title is unequivocally rude. Just to be clear, this is not my real answer, it's the example that proves the ...
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  • 6,366
110 votes
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How do I tell students at a school I volunteer at to stop flirting with me?

Given the constraints you've laid out in your question, you can't. You want to be seen (roughly) as a peer to these students, but also want them to treat you as a professional that is off-limits for ...
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  • 16.3k
109 votes

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

Tell them just what you told us. Arguing is obviously not productive. My sister is attempting to become a vegan, and many of my friends and teammates are either vegans or vegetarians. I've found that ...
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  • 9,025
106 votes

Asking a coworker to discontinue his chivalrous acts towards me?

The potential romantic angle is a red herring. Whether or not Bob is interested in you and intends these gestures to be his "moves" on you, you don't want the gestures at all because they suggest that ...
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  • 16.3k
105 votes
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How to decline physical affection from a child whose parents are pressuring them?

When it comes to my own young cousins and children of friends, I usually give them an explicit choice between sharing physical affection and not, while still expecting that they will obey the spirit ...
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  • 4,879
101 votes

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

The answer I'd give Mom is: "It's not my party". I wouldn't offer excuses or tell her anything beyond that. Yes, she may want your brother, for some reason, invited to the bachelor party. But it's ...
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  • 32.3k
95 votes
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How do I deal with a mother who won't take "no" for an answer?

This sounds like stereotypical "door-to-door salesman" behavior, and I think you might try the same tricks that work with those. Say "No.", and if they try to continue, just refuse to engage with ...
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  • 7,266
91 votes
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How can I tactfully refuse to let someone cut in line?

Just in case this person is really in a hurry every time (1), I would not give any reason/excuse, because that may backfire with any possible fake / true counter-argument. I would just let them know ...
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  • 21.5k
83 votes

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

You just say, "I'm honored you thought of this. I'm sorry, that's not possible" and don't offer any further explanation or reason. Generally people want reasons to try to work around them; if you ...
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  • 32.3k
75 votes

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

I've had to deal with this issue in a few different contexts, from friends to people I've dated, even with complete strangers... My approach is usually pretty simple and direct. I respect your ...
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  • 54.7k
73 votes
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How to convey to the people around me that I want to disengage myself from constant giving?

I experienced this too, in addition to the charities that I wanted to make donations to. I am adding this because it is very similar to you. I learned to allocate a percentage of my income to a ...
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71 votes

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

When we were training our dog, in the section under barking, the book claimed that you can't teach a dog not to bark until you have first taught the dog to bark. This establishes that the barking is ...
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  • 43.5k
70 votes
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How can I stress to my brother the importance of saving when he relies on me as a safety net?

Firstly, he seems annoyed. He probably knows you're at least somewhat correct, but at this point you comes across more as a know-it-all vibe than good intentions. The fact that he is annoyed makes ...
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  • 5,409
69 votes
Accepted

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

I am not a lawyer, however... I think it unfortunate that "preachy" was removed from your question. First, your use of that word, and your question's phrasing, indicates how the behavior of ...
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  • 2,725
69 votes

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

What works for me with the food pushing relatives is: Saying something like "I'm sure it's delicious / That looks nice - but I don't want any at the moment" the first time. This should make it clear ...
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69 votes

How to say no to an extremely pushy friend

I have been told I tend to be a bit passive aggressive when dealing with those kinds of situations, but I like to mask it with a bit of humor. In your position I would reply something like: 我不会来 ...
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