When you know the answer is no, when you have zero desire to sign up for a new initiative, or when you have been asked to consider an investment opportunity that in no way aligns with your goals or mission, the choice is often to focus on the lack of features, poor quality of products, budget constraints, or resource limitations as to why you’ll be holding off for now. Being honest with the true reason why your answer is no can be challenging and awkward for a number of reasons. 

Lack of features, quality of products, budgets, and resource issues may be genuine concerns and causes for inquiry; however, they can also be a way of stalling until time runs out, people move on, or the other party makes the assumption that you were never quite interested in the first place. At this point, they may realize, that whatever your reason was, you just didn’t tell them the truth. Not a great realization.

Telling the truth isn’t solely just saying the words, it’s about conveying care and respect, that no matter the merit of the idea, you care enough about them (and yourself) to tell them the truth.

Truthful statements may be hard to say. They may make you feel uncomfortable. But it’s my experience you’re more likely to receive “thank you” than any other response. A respectful response for a respectful answer.

Some truthful responses to consider – modify as needed:
1. “I’m afraid of the changes this will cause.”
2. “I don’t believe it’s worth the cost in time, money, or risk.”
3. “I don’t think I’m the right person you need for this.”
4. “I don’t have enough interest in this issue to be a passionate supporter.”
5. “I don’t trust enough in this proposition to consider it further at this time.”

My very wise and learned mother has many, many, sayings she likes to share. One of her best is “The truth, is the truth, is the truth.” Admittedly, growing up I never quite understood the nuances of that statement. But my rapidly approaching middle-aged self is starting to understand it more and more.