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How and When to say NO

Something happened between my friend and me confused me.
One of my colleges is a shy boy from UK, who is also good at skiing. I have recommended him to go skiing with me on the vocation. Before the vocation he text me, when you would go, text or web chat me.
My companies and I decided to go skiing in the country on the first day of the Spring Festival. As discussed, I informed him the plan. And he confirmed my schedule of going and how to get there. Then he responded as “My gf and I will likely arrive later...” and I noticed him that because of the hot weather I worried about the melting of the snow. No response any more. When I was driving my car to go, I couldn't reach him anymore, even by phone. At noon, he informed me as the pollution is so heavy that he decided not to come. I was a little angry about the failure to keep an appointment.
That's the first story.
I played so happily that I decided to go to another place for skiing, which has better condition and better experience, but far away from the city, about 500km distance. I informed my British friend of the decision again. He performed actively and told me that he would ask his gf. I told him the plan, when to go, where to stay for the night, who to go with, when to go back, etc. Then he responded as they were worrying about the road condition. Because it was snowing and the road would be slippy. He also mentioned that they would not go until there is no snow or rain. I thought it made sense and I agreed with that, because safe is the priority. Then I told him the plan is changed, and we would decide whether to go the next day. He said it depends on the weather. Next day, the snow stopped and the snow melted in the afternoon. I tried to reach him again. No response anymore, even by phone, again. This time, I felt truly angry about that.
Why not just tell me he is not going. All he needed is just a word. It’s boring to waste other’s time. Or the way of a British man is not same as the one of a Chinese man. Is it impolite to say no directly in an English manner? I am confused. Could you provide some comments? I just want to know whether it’s an individual or isolated story or I treated something in a wrong way. Thanks in advance.

Feb 25, 2015 8:55 AM
Comments · 3

People do have a tendency to avoid saying no in a direct way, preferring indirect ways. It's called soft no, or soft refusal, and you can read more about it if you search it.

I don't know if your collegue has a valid reason for turning off his phone as a way to tell you he will not come (is it easy to tell you no?), but it's been two times and you can reasonably from now on just invite him without really expecting him to come, without investing too much effort on him, and then when he bails, it's ok because you didn't expect. Or not invite him at all, and let him make the effort if he really wants to come.


You made some  mistakes, if you post as a correction request, and not as a question, it's easier for people to correct it.

February 25, 2015

He's either very shy or very rude. His behaviour is definitely not the norm over here. It could be just that he's very forgetful. It's hard to  tell without knowing him personally.

February 25, 2015

He needs a lesson "How to say NO" ))) Maybe he was afraid of offending you by saying ''no"

February 25, 2015
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language