Dear ladies and gentlemen, I am sure many of you have experienced such situations when you have to refuse a gift or an offer. Then, how could you do it politely without hurting the other person’s feeling? We often receive this question on our social medias, here is my answer!

Why refusing?

There are three reasons:
First, we refuse when we don’t really deserve the gift if the gift is too big, too expensive.
Second, if the gift is offered to oblige us in the future to return a favour we couldn’t or wouldn’t give back
Finally, if the gift is too much an effort for the person, both financially (the gift seems too expensive in regard of her/his situation), physically or any other kind.

How to refuse?

Admittedly, refusing a gift cannot be a pleasant experience. However, if we have to refuse the other person, we need to do it with sincerity and politeness. In terms of sincerity, you could refer to the following chart:

To tell the person to the face is the best way to show our sincerity as we could use our voice, our gestures, and facial expressions. etc to convince him/her. Telephone/voice message is less sincere, but people could still feel the emotions from our voice. Written words, however, is only a choice of plain words . Refusing only with written words can be ambiguous and people may misinterprete it into bad things.

What should we say?

Please remember that the tone of our telling must be soft and polite, but the expressions we are using must be firm and clear. In this case, I recommend you to reply in this way:

Explain the reason only if it will make the other person feels better, and if you can reveal it, such as the company policy doesn’t allow us to receive gifts etc.

But, no matter the situation, you should absolutely precise and insist that it’s not personal: you’re not refusing the person but his gift.

Unfortunately, there is no smooth and easy way to refuse a gift. You always face the risk to disappoint the other person. Do you have any good ideas?