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MAY I SHOW YOU THE WAY OUT?

A pertinent question:

How do you tell someone, in the most polite way possible, that you don’t like anything about their personality and don’t ever want to see or hear them again?

LISTEN: 

By saying nothing.  Nothing really.

There is no polite way to tell someone – anyone – that you don’t like anything about their personality and don’t ever want to hear or see them again.  Provided that this person is not a family member, co-worker or spouse, however, you can have the same effect (not ever hearing or seeing them again) without having to say anything much at all.

The solution, and the most polite way of achieving your goal, is to decline every single request for your attention.  You must do so firmly, unapologetically and politely.  The meat in this sandwich is, as it should be, in the middle: No apologies.  You aren’t doing anything wrong by refraining to invest your time and energy in someone you hate.  You’re doing both of you a favor.  Stick to it – no “I’m sorry,” no “I wish I could.”

No, you don’t.  So don’t lie.

This is what you say.

No, thank you.

Of course, you really aren’t grateful – in this context, that’s not what Thank you means anyway.  It means This is a formal rejection, therefore weightier than an informal one.  It adds a heft to the No, which would immediately deflate if followed by a sniveling, impotent I’m sorry.

Your response will be followed with hectoring – the object of your scorn will suggest a different time, or demand an explanation.  If you’re easily bored, you can select from a variety of phrases to reinforce your rejection and for none of which will you be sorry.

Try:  I can’t.  That just won’t work.  That won’t work either.  That night’s no good.  That one isn’t any good either.  I just can’t.  No, that’s not gonna work.  It just isn’t possible.  I can’t find the time right now.

You don’t have to explain yourself and it isn’t rude to refuse to do so, quite the other way around, actually.  Can you imagine a situation in which you would like to have your disgusting characteristics described to you by the apple of your own gleaming eye?  No, you can’t.  So stick to your guns.

Now if it’s an aforementioned family member or spouse you can’t stand…well…all of the above still apply, but they may have a slightly more valid reason to insist upon a timeline for interaction than a more casual acquaintance.  And as for coworkers, we’re dealing with etiquette not HR.  I’d give them a call first.

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