“No” is a complete sentence

Years ago I heard someone say, “When someone won’t take no for an answer, they are trying to control you.” That is certainly true. Whether it is a salesman, someone wanting to speak at our church (evangelist/missionary), or a telemarketer, I follow a simple principle: A person who won’t take a polite “No” for an answer has forfeited their right to my attention.

Here’s an example of a phone call I once received. I’ll refer to this person as Pushy Man, or PM for short. Rather than be too obvious by recounting word for word, here’s the gist of how the conversation went:

PM (after obligatory small talk so I don’t think the ONLY reason he’s called is to beg)
“I want you to do something to do something for me.”

Me
“I’m sorry, I’m not able to do that.”

{Insert cricket chirping to cover the awkward silence while I futilely wait for PM to respond with “OK. If we can plan something in the future let me know.”}

Me (after waiting in vain for a response)
“We won’t be able to work anything out right now.”

PM
“Well, here’s a good reason why you should do what I want. It would be to your benefit.”

Me
“I’m sorry, I’m not able to do that at this time.”

PM
“OK. I just thought I’d mention that it’s been a long while since you’ve done anything for me.”

Me
“I know. If any opportunities arise, I’ll keep you in mind.”

PM (at this point sounding rather desperate)
“You really SHOULD do something for me even if it’s not as big as what I first asked for.”

Me (feeling more resolute by the minute)
“I’m sorry, I wouldn’t have you in at this point if you were one of the 12 disciples and just wanted to stop by to use the men’s room.”

OK, so I didn’t actually say the last line, but it’s how I felt at that point.

I don’t mind blunt so much. In fact, I’d rather talk to a straight-forward person who isn’t pushy than a pushy person who thinks their being subtle or discreet.

I honestly felt like borrowing the from the British Prime Minister, “I refer the honorable gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago.”

“No” is a complete sentence. It doesn’t require any additional modification or explanation.

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