A reader asked:
When you don’t want to give the reason for saying no, and the other person is pressuring you, what is a polite way to get them to stop?
Unfortunately, there often isn’t a completely polite way to get them to stop. People who do this are often very good at manipulating the rules of polite conversation in ways that make it impossible to assert a boundary without being rude.
And even if you are being entirely polite, you’re still likely to offend them. Someone who feels entitled to an answer is probably going to feel wronged if they don’t get one.
That said, these are phrases that sometimes end that kind of conversation without making you appear too rude:
- “Thank you for your suggestion. I’ll think about it”.
- “Maybe; let me get back to you.”
- “I’ll have to think about that.”
- “I have to leave now. Nice talking to you.”
- “Thank you, but I’m not interested, and I don’t want to talk about this further.”
Sometimes you can also just change the subject and ignore anything they say about the thing they’re demanding reasons about. This can be especially effective if there’s something they will usually take any opportunity to discuss. That doesn’t work in all situations, but it does work sometimes.
Basically, though, it’s not always possible to defend boundaries politely. It’s ok to be rude when you need to be in order to protect your boundaries. No one has to be polite all the time at all costs.