how do you say no to someone who needs your help (ALL THE TIME)???

Canada
May 5, 2007 6:24pm CST
I have an aquaintance (not a good friend at all) whom I'v known for many years. She is a single mom. Since I got married she has asked me to ask my husband if he can help her to move furniture, hang up pictures, and now she wants help fixing a step on her front walk. My husband is VERY busy and works too much, and has his own family to contend with. We don't have children so we are always asked to run errands and help his parents, and it seems like we never have down time. How can I say no to this woman a third time? I'm worried she will get mad. The way she worded her request was almost begging and she even offered to pay my husband to help, but SHE has no money and it would be ridiculous if we accepted money from her. The main issue is TIME. My husband has NO time.
2 people like this
14 responses
@castleghost (1304)
• United States
5 May 07
I would explain to her that my husband doesn't have the time and that he won't be available to help her. My girlfriends sister use to do this to her all the time. She would ask her sister to have me come over and fix her computer all the time. Knowing that we get very little time alone for ourselves. My girlfriend just looked at her one day and told her that there wasn't any time available for me to come over and fix her computer. Sometimes you have to hurt someone elses feelings for the good of your relationship.
2 people like this
• Canada
6 May 07
thanks, good advice. Did her sister get mad? I don;'t know why I'm so afraid of this person getting angry at me
• Japan
6 May 07
Why would she get angry with you? I'm sure she was asking you both for help because you both didnt' have children. She would believe that you both have a lot of spare time. That would be the reason why she asked in the first place.
1 person likes this
• Canada
7 May 07
that's just the way she is. She did get a bit pissed off actually. I wrote her an email that was 2 paragraphs saying in the first paragraph that my husband is too busy, and works long hours and rarely has down time. And then in the second paragraph I made suggestions, she offered to pay my husband, so I suggested that she hire someone else. She emailed me back, saying "how can I HIRE someone if I can't afford to pay them?" and that was it. She is pissed off again. I think I'v had enough. It's funny because she offered to pay my husband and then is talking about not being able to afford to pay anyone, so obviously she was expecting my husband to just do it for free. Like he has all the time in the world.
@nilzerous1 (2435)
• India
6 May 07
It appears that you are still in a confused state of mind, whether to say clear-cut "no" or to keep such requests. But your "ALL THE TIME" phrase is a clear indication that it has become a really nagging problem for you now. In this case, based on my own experience I can suggest you few remedies. #1) Do not help her promptly. Consider first, whether she can manage it all by herself. Give her suggestions for doing that job, or, better stop her from doing that job. As for example, if she asks for help to hang up pictures, simply tell her not to do that as it would look ugly. #2) If you think she needs your help, like moving furniture and all, keep the matter pending for few weeks, or better for few months even. #3) But please do not over-react. If she needs your real help, like in medical cases, you must not keep the matter pending for months. This is the beauty of our society that we extend help to others whenever they need it. In your case, it is getting little too extra, still, I rigid "no" may not be the best solution to this problem. This is what I believe and what I do. Nobody has ever lodged complaint against me till date.
1 person likes this
• Canada
7 May 07
good advice. It's true we have to help those who are needy. My husband and I already have 3 "needy" people that we have to help though. We don't have time energy or money for anymore. His parents are older and need help financially and with many other things at least once a week. My brother is unlucky and occasionally needs my help, usually in a big way (ie-moving him when he gets evicted from apartments, giving (not lending) him money when he gets fired, and taking his pets to the vet because he can't afford it and they need the care) The funny thing about this aquaintance is that when she asks for help, she always asks "As Soon as Possible"
• Canada
7 May 07
The as soon as possible bit would drive me nuts. You have more patience than I - although I'm a wimp - I'd just avoid her calls.
1 person likes this
• Canada
14 May 07
She emails me though. ARGH! But I will start avoiding them.
@cutepenguin (6447)
• Canada
6 May 07
I'd tell her your husband can't do this. I don't think I'd explain it - I find that when I explain to people why I or my husband can't do something, they exert a lot of effort telling me how we can actually do it. So if you say he has no time right now, she might ask for him to do it later. The thing it comes down to is - why is she asking you to ask your husband for these things? He's not a book to borrow. You can't keep lending her your husband. Just say no - your marriage and your husband's parents are more important than an aquaintance being upset with you.
1 person likes this
• Canada
7 May 07
thanks. Youre so right. He's not a BOOK to borrow!
@evelynlyp (788)
• Japan
6 May 07
Just tell her the situation. You husband doesn't have any free time and he has errands to run for his "elderly" parents. He comes home tired and needs his rest. She can go to her neighbours instead. She probably is asking you because you both don't have any kids so she thinks you both will have a lot of free time. Its not her place to get mad if you say no. Some one who get mad because someone refused to say yes to their request is not a nice person. I mean what's the point in asking if you demand to have a yes?
1 person likes this
• Canada
7 May 07
youre right. Anyways, I mentioned above that she did get a bit mad. sigh...oh well.
@charms88 (7540)
• Philippines
6 May 07
I understand what you're feeling, anakata. This woman must be pretty helpless in doing things on her own. You should talk with her calmly and be straight about what you thought of this matter. If this woman is smart enough to grasp what you're saying, then she will readily accept your reasoning. If she get upset, then its quite obvious she is just using your husband to set everything for her.
@anaweya (41)
• Philippines
6 May 07
Tell her the truth or else you'll be the ones who will suffer... Sometime you just have to be firm to get what you want.
@mama4kids (690)
• United States
6 May 07
i would just be polite and tell her the truth..your husband has his own responsibilities and he has no time to help. tell her that he would love to help out but with his schedule and his own family obligations, it just isnt possible. and if she gets mad, so be it. your husband wasnt put on this earth to do everything for her. sorry if that sounds rude, but it is true. tell her that when he has some free time, he would be happy to help. make it known too..dont call us..we will call you...lol.
@RosieS57 (889)
• United States
5 May 07
You could tell her to hire a handyman who really needs the job. Tell her it would be a win-win situation; she would have the repairs she needed and would help a worker who needs the work. Mention, if you need to, that your hubby doesn't need the work nor the money and that you're sorry, but his handyman services aren't available. If she gets mad she's only an acquaintance, after all, and not a real friend.
• Malaysia
6 May 07
it's very easy to say no to someone.. all you have to do is to explain your current situation.. or you can be more cruel by saying directly to them.. well ..i advise you to explain your current situation to the person that is asking for your help.. i always tell my friend i'm busy with what and what.. i think if you say no to a person.. it's really rude.. that's why.. you have to tell them what's you're busy with.. i have friends that always refuse to help me.. even if i have problems with my studies.. i know they can help me but i think they're just simply lazy.. they have good grades.. and they keep saying they don't understnad what the teacher is teaching.. that's really fake.. don't you think so?
• Japan
6 May 07
I think your friends are more competitive than lazy. They don't want you gettting better grades than they do. It gets more apparent in higher levels of education. I'm in uni now and we are a group that were sent to another country to finish off our degree. I can't say I am good friends with any of them. Everyone isn't very helpful so I'm not helping them either.
@arica12 (10)
8 Nov 07
Hii Like you say "(not a good friend at all). So why simpley say "NO " we help people becuase we wont, But It's more than jast O.K to say NO if we don't want. She must understand that you'll help here just If you feel that you want. and she olso must know when you don't want to help. I think it's youe way off life that you can't say NO ! You must change it. Say NOOOOOOOOOOOO
@dilmeet (56)
• India
5 Nov 07
I feel if you feel to say "no" to someone for unusal help and the help for which time is not avail to you. You must say no with polite words. Others person asking for help or begging for help not means to oblige him or her all the time. As your other priority should come first for you. So learn to say no politely if you are unable to help someone.
@icequeen (2841)
• Canada
6 May 07
Well first I think it is admirable that your husband does so much work. I understand your dilemma...my father-in-law always wants my boyfriend to help him with every little thing....it is really annoying...sometimes my boyfriend just says..."NO"...I think that you guys need to set some boundaries with your friend and just tell her that your husband works hard and that you have other responsiblities and you can't be helping her all the time....if she is really your friend...she should understand your circumstances...and not ask you and your husband for so much all the time...
@mari123 (1862)
• China
6 May 07
doesn't you friends have no relative to help her,and she is a single mom,no man in her famliy,she is pitiful for her place.i think you shouldnot refuse her begging,you can tell her when you husband have time and then help her move furniture,and i think you friend will be gratefull to you and your husband
@ellie26 (4140)
• Malaysia
6 May 07
A person like that will need to be told once and for all. Help if you can but if you cant, be frank to her.