“As much as I would like to help you, I’m not in a position to offer you any assistance.”
“I’m sorry, <Name> I’d love to help out, but my calendar is booked that day.”
“Thank you for thinking of me for this project. Unfortunately, my team and I are at capacity and wouldn’t be able to start your project until the beginning of next year.”
- CONGRATULATIONS, you legend, you! You know your boundaries, and you’re ready to express them.
- Depending on the request and who is asking, declining requests can come in all forms: email, text, phone, LinkedIn message, or carrier pigeon.
- Reasonable requests deserve respectful refusals.
- Requests from bosses and authority figures (even unreasonable ones) require a very careful, detailed, logic-based response.
- Unreasonable requests are often not worth the dignity or time of a response.
- Not everyone deserves an explanation of why you can’t do something for them.
- If possible and appropriate, offer an alternative. Showing someone you’re making an effort to meet them halfway is a great goodwill builder.
- Hello <Name>, I’m terribly sorry, but I cannot do what you ask.
- I know you really want me to <describe what they want from you>.
- Unfortunately, I’m unable to do that because <a very high-level description of why you can’t do it. Unless this is a boss or client, in which case, be prepared to offer a more in-depth explanation>.
- What I can offer/ what I can do is <description of alternative>. How does that sound?