So, as we were discussing in part 1: when someone has made a request of you that you don’t want to do, you need a sincere yet definitive way to nicely say “no” that lets the person down easy but doesn’t give them any room to wiggle around your answer.
Here are two suggestions – which you can tweak to suit your particular situation and to make your reply genuine and honest:
“I truly appreciate that you thought of me for this – and, although it does appeal to me, in order for me do it, I’d have to back out of something I’ve already committed to and I feel that wouldn’t be right.”
Unlike “I don’t have the time,” saying you’d have to “back out of another commitment” pretty much ends the conversation. (Because even if they want to push you, they know if they do they will sound like a jerk.)
My second suggestion is:
“I understand what you’re asking but, unfortunately, current circumstances prevent me from being able to give you the help that you want.”
I know some of you are wondering: “But what if they ask me what my ‘current circumstances’ are or what my ‘other commitment’ is?”
Frankly, that’s none of their business. I’m serious. And I don’t care if your “other commitment” is a nap! If you don’t want to do something or if you feel that it won’t feed your focus, you are not obligated to do it. And you are not obligated to explain why.
It’s important to remember that just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it.
I have one last tip to share on this topic. That’s part 3…