Be Vague

When I am invited to do something that doesn’t help me accomplish the goals I’ve laid out for myself, it’s always clear that I should say no. But it’s hard. I feel like I need to explain myself, or give some kind of lame excuse. So, here’s what I’ve realized. When someone asks something of me, I have one obligation: to be honest with my response.

If I need to decline a request, sometimes I feel the obvious awkwardness that I’ve created, and I want to explain myself. Rather than blathering on about my reasons, though, my best approach is simply to be vague. I don’t owe a detailed explanation.

  • Decline respectfully.
  • Don’t overshare.
  • Be vague as you can. Specific as you must.
  • Use, “I can’t.”