Dear Friend / Employer / Charity / Business Acquaintance / Neighbor,

I regret to inform you that the answer to your recent request is a firm and resounding NO. I do understand the position that you are in, and that you would appreciate my: help with the move / coming in on my day off / making a generous donation / becoming a dues-paying member of your newly established professional group / walking your dog five times a day while you’re on vacation. However, due to a recently expanded work load in my personal and professional lives, as of this morning I have committed to saying NO to every request and offer, and you have the distinct honor of receiving this message first. Congratulations.

Please understand that this was a difficult decision, and one about which I deliberated for quite some time, but I find I must be consistent in my refusal, lest hurt feelings and resentment ensue. As this is a new program, it is subject to change at any time, so you may wish to renew your application in the future.

Once again, I appreciate the importance of your request and am honored that you thought of me. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in the same manner in which you have done so previously.

With regrets,

a.k.a. The Chronic Yes-Woman

P.S. Hey, that was a good attempt, wasn’t it? I almost had you going! Anyway, for those who want my help, I’ll be over next Saturday — say, around eightish? Who needs to sleep in on the weekend, anyway? For all others, the check is in the mail. I should warn you, though, that next time I really will say no. I’m not kidding. Meanwhile, thanks for the chance to practice my rejection technique. I realize it needs a little work on the follow-through, but I think I’m onto something here.

P.P.S. I’m serious here. Next time, the answer is NO. Really. I promise.