Even when I know better, “yes” rolls off my tongue much easier than that pesky little “no” word. As a result, I often end up agreeing to things that I probably should’ve passed on in the first place.
Oh, you too?
Well, fortunately, I’m here to help. I’ve pulled together eight email templates that’ll help you say “no” in a variety of situations. Customize them to your unique situation, and suddenly turning things down will be a whole lot less panic-inducing.
1. When You’re Asked to Take on Extra Work by a Colleague
Thanks for thinking of me for [project]. However, I’m going to have to turn this down.
I want to ensure I continue to do my best with my existing workload and my plate’s a little too full for me to be able to take this on right now.
Sorry I can’t be of more help!
2. When You’re Invited to an Event
Thanks so much for the invite! I really appreciate you thinking of me.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to [Event] on [date]. But thanks again for sending an invitation my way.
Hopefully we can get together another time.
3. When You’re Asked for a Favor
Great to hear from you!
Because of [short and sweet reason], I can’t help you out with this at this time. But, I’m wishing you all the best with [thing you’re turning down].
Have an awesome week, [Name]!
4. When You’re Asked for a Recommendation
I’m flattered that you thought of me for this! However, I don’t think I’m the best fit to provide you a recommendation for [opportunity] due to [brief reason, if you’re willing to offer one].
Know that I’m rooting for you, [Name].
All the best,
5. When You’re Asked to Meet for Coffee
Thanks for reaching out!
As much as I’d love to network over some caffeine, my schedule’s currently packed a little too tightly for me to make room for these types of casual chats.
If you had some specific questions you were hoping to pick my brain about, feel free to pass those along via email and I’ll do my best to answer them when I have some downtime.
Hopefully we can connect another time, [Name]!
6. When You’re Approached by a Relentless Recruiter
Thanks for getting in touch!
I appreciate you reaching out about [position]. But, I’m not currently looking to explore other opportunities.
Wishing you the best in finding the right candidate!
7. When You’re Asked to Make a Networking Introduction
Great to hear from you! I hope things are going well with you.
While I do know [Person], I don’t feel comfortable sharing their contact information. I hope you understand.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s any other way I can help, [Name].
Have a great day!
Saying “no” can be tough. But, it’s much easier if you aim to keep things short, sweet, and to the point.
If you’re looking for ways to cushion the blow a little bit more, this article offers some great advice for turning things down, without seeming rude.
Otherwise, leverage these email templates to your advantage, and that little two-letter word will be much simpler to say.
Did I miss any common situations when you need to turn things down? Let me know on Twitter!
Photo of person on laptop courtesy of Daniel Grill/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author