Request: You’re invited to a distant relative’s annual Lobster Luau?for the 14th year in a row.What you should say: “I’ve really had fun in the past, but I can’t make it this year. That week is already packed for me.”Why it works: “You’ve explained it in a way that doesn’t sound like a personal rejection,” says Robinson. “And you’ve asked for understanding, based on your need to take stress out of your schedule. Everyone can identify with that.”Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: You have only so much free time?and so much tolerance for flying lobster goo. “Don’t R.S.V.P. yes, then back out at the last minute or, worse, not show up at all,” say Izzo and Marsh. “That is the least decorous way of handling the invite.”How to avoid the situation in the future: In a note, thank the relative for thinking of you and explain that because you tend to be busy at this time of year, he should feel free to take you off his invite list.
How to avoid the situation in the future: Let your friends know that while you’re typically a generous lender (“Of course you can borrow my snorkeling gear!
Request: Your boss asks you to supervise this season’s intern?last seen with her feet up on a desk, iPod on, Gameboy in hand.What you should say: “Wow, that’s an interesting project. I’m really busy with the ABC assignment right now, so let me know if you want me to re-prioritize.”Why it works: “Asking your boss to prioritize tasks for you means you don’t have to actually say the no word,” Breitman says. If she tells you to just squeeze the new task in, then do it. But keep a list of all the extra work you’ve done?for your next review.Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: You really do have enough work to do as it is.How to avoid the situation in the future: If extra tasks keep getting dumped on your desk, ask your boss for a meeting. Explain that the added assignments are making it hard to do your primary job properly. Ask if she wants to review your job description (and renegotiate your salary while she’s at it).
Request: A friend asks to borrow your car (because hers is in the shop to repair the dent she got while driving, talking on her cell phone, and unwrapping her kid’s juice-box straw).What you should say: “I don’t lend anything worth more than $1,000.” Try to avoid the old “I don’t have insurance for a non-family member” excuse?most insurance policies cover the car, not specific drivers. (If your friend got into an accident, it could make your premium go up, http://www.homeloansplus.org/payday-loans-ri though.) If you have time, offer her a ride instead.Why it works: “It puts the blame on you,” explains author Patti Breitman. “Just don’t indicate you don’t trust the friend.”Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “Your car is probably the first or second most valuable thing you own,” says Breitman. “You’re protecting a big financial asset.” Plus, if your friend were to get into an accident, your relationship might be totaled, too.”), your car is off-limits.
It doesn’t really go with the Greek theme you have planned
Request: A guest offers to bring her seven-layer dip to your party. What you should say: “What a kind offer?thank you. I have already planned the menu, but do you have any dietary restrictions I should know about?” If she’s just asking to be nice and insists on bringing something, suggest a bottle of wine or a loaf of bread.Why it works: By acknowledging the generosity of the offer, you let that person know she did all she could. Of course, if the person has dietary restrictions that make cooking difficult for you, relent and let her bring a dish she can eat.Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: The person is most likely offering just to be courteous. By saying no, you give her license to relax and enjoy your hospitality.How to avoid the situation in the future: When you invite people, ask if there is anything they don’t eat, because you want to make sure your menu works for everyone. Emphasize the word menu, so people know that you have a plan or a theme for the meal (and so they won’t try to upset it).