The Nicest “NO” Ever
We are hosting two guests for all of Shabbat, but we don’t have a guest room. So this past week I’ve been looking all around for a family that can host them for sleeping. That means that this week I have been on the receiving end of a large number of “No’s.”
But when I received the “No” below I felt right away that it was in a different league from all the other “No’s” I’ve received this week.
The other “No’s” were delivered in a kind and gracious way that didn’t make me feel bad. But the following “No” from a certain Nachlaot Tsadekes (who wishes to remain anonymous) actually left me feeling good!
This is what she wrote:
Sounds lovely and it’s great you asked. We are already having sleepover guests this Shabbat though… Might be a bit tricky. Hope they can find another arrangement. If not please let me know and I’ll see what we can do.
:), [her name]
This “No” left me feeling so good, in fact, that I even printed it up and plan to keep it in my drawer so I can emulate the author’s Nicest No whenever I need to deliver a Nice No myself.
After doing some careful textual analysis of this Nicest No, I think the secret of its success is four-fold:
1. Starts with praising me for asking her a favor: “Sounds lovely and it’s great you asked.” She makes me feel that I have done HER a favor by asking her a favor.
2. Implies “No,” but doesn’t actually say No: “We are already having sleepover guests this Shabbat though… Might be a bit tricky.” She doesn’t have room for my guests, but she doesn’t say that exactly. She just says “Might be a bit tricky.” So I understand she’s saying “No,” but I don’t have to endure the inevitable discomfort of actually being told “No way, Jose.”
3. Offers to help me out anyway: “Hope they can find another arrangement. If not please let me know and I’ll see what we can do.” I don’t think I would ask her for help, but it’s a good feeling to know that, at least in theory, I’m not all on my own in this (hitherto completely unsuccessful) search for sleeping arrangements for my two guests.
4. Smile: And of course, we should never forget, the honey that helps the medicine go down, and sweetens every “Yes” “No” or “Maybe” Email of every kind: