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How to say "no" politely?

tulle
Posts: 4,445
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9/9/2013 9:23:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I work with a lot of different people and, starting tomorrow, I'll be working with someone I've never met for the next few months. I just got an email from her asking me for a favour that 1) is against the rules and 2) would be in a big pain for me (physically and mentally) to do.

If I say no to this favour, I'm going to come off looking like a real @sshole and that'll get our professional relationship off on a bad foot. Is there any way out of this?
yang.
TheHitchslap
Posts: 1,231
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9/9/2013 9:33:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 9:23:06 AM, tulle wrote:
I work with a lot of different people and, starting tomorrow, I'll be working with someone I've never met for the next few months. I just got an email from her asking me for a favour that 1) is against the rules and 2) would be in a big pain for me (physically and mentally) to do.

If I say no to this favour, I'm going to come off looking like a real @sshole and that'll get our professional relationship off on a bad foot. Is there any way out of this?

Simple:

Say no.

Her interpretation of that No is her issue, but if you both know it's against the rules, and it's gonna cause you pain, then she's the b!tch, not you if she interprets you as the jerk here.
Thank you for voting!
Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
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9/9/2013 9:46:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
It's probably a test. You'll be fired if you agree.
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Mirza
Posts: 16,992
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9/9/2013 11:38:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Say, "Excuse me, I cannot do it. Sorry." Do what is best for yourself, and don't put yourself at risk. Especially if you don't know her whatsoever -- let her mind her own business.
YYW
Posts: 36,347
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9/9/2013 4:28:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 9:23:06 AM, tulle wrote:
I work with a lot of different people and, starting tomorrow, I'll be working with someone I've never met for the next few months. I just got an email from her asking me for a favour that 1) is against the rules and 2) would be in a big pain for me (physically and mentally) to do.

If I say no to this favour, I'm going to come off looking like a real @sshole and that'll get our professional relationship off on a bad foot. Is there any way out of this?

Acting ethically is more important than good favor with your colleagues. If she's new, she may not know that the favor she asked is against the rules. It might be a good idea to point that out in a gentle way and give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't know. Generally, that gives the other person the opportunity to save face -which is what you want to do in that situation whether she knew she was asking you to break the rules or not. So, tell her no, but in a way that (1) does not presume that she knew she was asking you to violate the rules and (2) allows her to save face. That way, you can politely decline without damaging a professional relationship. A brief word of advice though: don't apologize or act indignant. You should neither be sorry that you're following the rules nor should you let the other person to know that you're offended, even if you are, which you might have a justifiable reason to be.
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Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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9/9/2013 4:57:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I tend to go with "Get the fvck out of here. You're done in this town."
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Thaddeus
Posts: 6,985
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9/9/2013 5:24:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"I'm sorry, if there is any other way I can help you, I'd be happy to but I am currently not permitted to do that at this time."

Avoids saying directly that what she is doing is not allowed (by saying it is just you who is not allowed to), avoids making it personal, avoids you making ethical judgements on her.
imabench
Posts: 21,224
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9/9/2013 5:45:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 5:24:02 PM, Thaddeus wrote:
"I'm sorry, if there is any other way I can help you, I'd be happy to but I am currently not permitted to do that at this time."

Avoids saying directly that what she is doing is not allowed (by saying it is just you who is not allowed to), avoids making it personal, avoids you making ethical judgements on her.

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Beverlee
Posts: 721
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9/10/2013 12:12:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 9:23:06 AM, tulle wrote:
I work with a lot of different people and, starting tomorrow, I'll be working with someone I've never met for the next few months. I just got an email from her asking me for a favour that 1) is against the rules and 2) would be in a big pain for me (physically and mentally) to do.

If I say no to this favour, I'm going to come off looking like a real @sshole and that'll get our professional relationship off on a bad foot. Is there any way out of this?

Yeah, so some people force you to be either an @sshole or a chicken$hit. Just pick which one you are most happy with.

If it's me, I am comfortable with saying no to people. Instead of saying "NO" all blunt, I would try to explain why that is against the rules, and what could happen to me if I got caught. (This is an opportunity to make your boss sound like a Dracula tyrant, so that she doesn't start brown-nosing right away, too.)
devinni01841
Posts: 1,405
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9/12/2013 4:26:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/9/2013 7:06:04 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
NOOOO BIIITTTCH!

nac

OMG

I like this one
There is nothing more bad-@ss than being yourself.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

Member of the Texas Army National Guard since 20111212

An Armed society is a polite society.
devinni01841
Posts: 1,405
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9/12/2013 4:29:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/10/2013 7:13:03 AM, tulle wrote:
I really suck at saying no :/

Don't feel bad. You are not alone in this, and until recently, I was one of the people that would crumble under pressure. It feels pretty awesome to turn down people that you don't want to help. If it happens again, Just find someone (probably a surpervisor) and say you're not comfortable with doing anything like that. If it's the same person, or the same thing, say you were under the impression that it was a one time deal
There is nothing more bad-@ss than being yourself.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

Member of the Texas Army National Guard since 20111212

An Armed society is a polite society.