In the previous post, I gave you some examples of exactly how to firmly but genuinely decline a request. Well, there’s one little thing you can add to your communication that will help the person accept your answer.
When you say something like this:
“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.”
Add something like this:
“You know, you might try checking out / talking to (a book, a website, a place, a person).”
Basically, if at all possible, offer them a genuinely helpful next step – just a little something that might help them get where they are trying to go or accomplish what they are trying to do.
Not only is this just plain cool of you, it also discourages them from making any attempts to get you to change your mind. It helps them accept “no” as your answer.
Please understand that despite even your best efforts, some people will still badger you. You need to learn how to withstand that / ignore that / let that roll off your back. Being unable or unwilling to accepting your “no” means THEY have a problem. And it’s an issue THEY have to deal with. It’s not an issue you have to fix (or manage) for them.
Your main job is to be very clear and timely with your responce to a request so the person asking knows where you stand. Don’t leave people hanging or make them confused by beating around the bush or half-agreeing to do something just because you can’t figure out how to say “no” without “hurting their feelings.” That’s not cool at all.