Community Magazine

On Saying No (and Being Okay with It)

By Eemusings @eemusings

I’ve been on a nay-saying spree lately. And it feels good.


I got a sudden rush of interest from students around the start of my holiday last month for help with essays and tutoring. I turned them down, but said I’d be available from October for any future inquiries. Much as the money would have been nice, I wasn’t going to stress myself out trying to cater to them while in the South Island without a computer.


I refused to pander to a request that came my way during the course of a work day, one that I was fully entitled to say no to, but still felt slightly guilty about. When it came down to it, the time it would have taken me vs the potential payoff simply didn’t add up.  The whole thing took up far more of my brainspace than it should have, but I don’t feel bad for it – and hopefully I’m setting a precedent for myself going forward. (I have a feeling this may be tested sooner rather than later.)


I politely asked a clueless marketing person to stop spamming me. Here’s how it went: she’d send me a link to an infographic, asking if I would share it on our website. She would then follow up with a string of incessant emails asking if I had decided to use it (and in one case, even asking who else I knew that she could approach about it). This cycle repeated for about three different pitches. Apparently infographic outreach is the crappiest of crap tasks, which I can totally understand. But here’s a piece of free advice: stalking your targets is never a winning tactic.

Ignoring her led nowhere, and an abrupt ‘no thanks’ to one of her countless messages was evidently not a strong enough hint.  I hate confrontation, so I considered simply marking her email address as ‘spam’ and directing all future emails into my junk mail. But I stiffened my backbone and wrote back something along these lines:

Based on your previous emails, I don’t think the topics you cover are a good fit. You’re welcome to keep sending pitches, but please don’t send multiple emails to follow up. I receive hundreds of emails a day and simply don’t have time to respond to them all

…managing to resist adding a snotty “least of all, unsuccessful pitches” at the end of it.

Not that she took any heed of my reply (sigh), earning herself a free and permanent pass straight to my junk folder. Takeaway: do not hesitate to flag and block potential Spammy McSpammersons.

We’re all busy. We all have too much on our plate. Saying no isn’t a luxury – it’s a must.

Do you struggle with saying no? When was the last time you did?

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