Repeating "No" Nicely
November 26, 2012 7:38 AM Subscribe
How to say no over and over again?
posted by Urban Winter to human relations (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I work part time in a secretarial position, and everyone else on staff is full-time. I am regularly invited out for lunches (a "lunch with the girls" event). I get invitations to these lunches every few weeks, but am not interested in attending any of these events. I don't have any interest in getting to know any of them outside of work, and won't need to for the purpose of references after I leave either. I'm not there long enough to have a lunch break in the first place, in fact, never mind an hour-long one. One of the people who attends these meetings is someone who has regularly taken some things I do and emails I send out of context, and assumed that I have been doing/saying things specifically to offend or push work onto them. I have at this point given up on altering this impression, and we mutually avoid each other now. It is a small enough group that this avoidance would be impossible here.
The first time I received an invitation, I made up an excuse. After I realized that it was going to be a routine thing I said that I don't feel comfortable taking so much time (an hour) for lunch when I am only here part time to begin with. The response was that I can always work extra time to avoid having to take time off just for lunch, and that I should come out and be social. My last response was more or less "Eh, maybe next time."
Is there something I can say that will be easily re-usable each time I get another invitation, without feeling like I'm just blowing them off? I've received one today and have been putting off answering it. Can I just say, over and over again, that I don't feel comfortable taking an hour lunch? Is school a good excuse (I'm a double-majoring undergrad), and if so, how could that excuse carry through the holidays or the summer? I don't want to be so harsh about it that they don't invite me at all, not because I want to go in the future but because not receiving an invite would be an ejection from the little "group," and I do want to remain friendly with them... Just at work only.