Ways to Say ‘No’ to Requests, to Avoid Over-Scheduling

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Ways to Say ‘No’ to Requests, to Avoid Over-Scheduling… 

Optimistically, with the hope that the person asking you to do the job lacks the temerity to ever ask again.

Charmingly, by pointing out that the asker is nonetheless quite smart and attractive.

Sacrificially, by offering the name and whereabouts of a fool who can do it instead.

Apologetically, with the pretense that your power of self-determination is offensive.

Toothlessly, by hemming and hawing for twenty minutes, then giving in like a coward.

Cravenly, by saying “yes” but then doing nothing and never responding to any emails for two years.

Cleverly, by saying “yes, as soon as X” where X is any bullshit that the asker falsely believes will actually happen.

Reverse psychologically, by agreeing too enthusiastically, to the point where the asker starts to question your motives.

Paternalistically, by offering the asker advice on how to make more successful requests in the future.

Soothingly, with a hand-written note and a $5 gift certificate to Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Ambiguously, by saying, “that could work…”

Mysteriously, by saying, “time will tell…”

Obscurely, with a reference to Parmenides of Elea’s argument that change is impossible.

Stoically, by referencing Seneca’s dictum that time, not money, is the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.

Symbolic-Logically, by proving that the satisfaction conditions of the request, when conjoined with your sleep schedule, entail a contradiction.

Existentially, by pointing out that existence is absurd and death is near.

Show-boatingly, by shaking your head from side to side and tap-dancing out of the room.

Pictorially, with a short graphic novel depicting a life where you do not do this one thing, and you are very happy.

Unambiguously, with a recording of the phrase “Fuck No,” spoken in all 6,500 human languages.

Ominously, by holding a rusty old lantern up to the asker’s face and shouting “beware!”

Retroactively, by slamming your head into a wall until you acquire amnesia.

Black Ops Murderously, by replying “that’s confidential,” then drone bombing the asker.

With Finality, by diving through an Einstein-Rosen Bridge (a Wormhole).

Poetically, by exclaiming “my schedule is like a chalice that I fear shall overflow. If you ask me to do this thing, then I vow the answer is no.”


Avoid over-scheduling pic licensed under CC 2.0.

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Written by

Alex Baia is a humor writer and contributor to McSweeney’s and Slackjaw. He lives in Austin, TX.