1. Say “No" Graciously
Saying “No" directly may make declining an offer or refusing to do favors seem rude and offensive. To avoid this perception, there are certain “no" words individuals can use to soften the impact of a rejection message.
However, it’s important to think carefully before technically saying “no" to a request for help. Keep in mind that at any given time or situation, we may find ourselves in the same boat in a role reversal. Carefully evaluate the situation before formulating the most suitable response. Consider the suggestions we give for the following case examples:
Case 1: A situation could be difficult when the request for assistance is an opportunity to return a previously extended favor. However, certain constraints such as a lack of time, finances or ethics may prevent one from obliging.
“I really wish I could help you, but I’m afraid my finances are also tight and are just enough to see me through until the next paycheck."
Case 2: Another difficulty is one in which a person is aware that the requesting individual is not usually in the habit of asking for favors but is doing so out of necessity or desperation. These individuals have mustered their courage before making a decision to ask for somebody’s help; hence, a negative response could be downright embarrassing for them.
“I would love to help you out but I’m also in the middle of beating a deadline right now. How about if I call you as soon as I’m done with my immediate commitments?"
Case 3: There are cases where the person asking for assistance has the habit of soliciting help. Oftentimes, these are also the types of individuals who won’t take no for an answer and try to coax or bully a person into agreeing.
“I’m in the middle of a project right now and my schedule is running tight. Besides, this is similar to the one I did for you last time so how about trying to do this yourself by following the same steps and method?"
Case 4: The person asking for help is a manager or superior, but the matter is of a personal nature that is unrelated to work.
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to find time to do this, since I have a lot of project requirements to catch up with during weekends, and it’s important that I do them before the start of another week."