Ethics of Rejecting

I have to confess: I usually have hard time saying no when anyone asks for a favor (Shana would call me a pleaser, I guess 🙂 ). However being rather active at various social media communities and interacting with so many different people, I came to understand that rejecting is something I have to learn to do.

Disclaimer: please don’t get me wrong; I love helping people and never insisted on some special ethics approaching me with items to vote. None of my good friends bothers me at all and I am sincerely happy when I have the opportunity to help any of them. I love my social media friends and I love to help.

The thing is, social media and the Internet in general is not all about friends and every day absolutely random people I even don’t know approach asking to vote / comment / help promote their websites and since I can’t reject, they start bombing me with messages every single day. In the end, I end up voting for posts I don’t even like and spending my time answering these messages.

My idea is that rejection is an integral part of business relationships and so it should be done wisely. So what are some possible ways to handle it?

question.jpg Lie: make up any random escuse that pops up in my mind (e.g. “I haven’t received your message“, “I have no time”, etc)

question.jpg Explain: carefully select arguments why I am forced to reject. While it can be hard in the beginning, it should become easier after some training.

question.jpg Ask for a return favor: well, in this case I won’t reject but at least I will benefit from the situation.

question.jpg Ignore: don’t answer the request at all? Pretend you never received it or let the person invent an excuse for you?

Any other? Please share your thoughts!

Image source: I wanna say NO

The following two tabs change content below.
I am the owner of this blog as well as Brand and Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas and Founder of MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU and

Similar Posts


  1. #4 – most people understand that we’re all busy and we help out when we can.
    I suspect this solution comes easier to males!

  2. I’ve come to develop some filters for myself because I go so much of this. I strongly dislike people who act like I owe them something, esp. when I have a long history of giving and volunteering.

    1. I’m more inclined to accept something when there’s an introduction and some sort of proof or reminder I know them or know something they did.

    2. I look at domains. If they look like spam/scam, I ignore them

    3. I hate the feeling of being used, so as soon as it feels that way, I say “no”

    4. A vote from me has to mean something. I didn’t work for a doz years to have some sort of authentic value….and by saying “no” to the junk, I can keep it that way 🙂

  3. At some point your time and expertise have a value to the person requesting the vote, etc.

    There is no shame in saying that your services cost $x or “sorry, but my pipeline is full right now”. And if you really don’t like the person make “X” big enough to hear the gulp a fair distance down the road. Then, if they pay up it is really worth your time.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Give when you want and charge when you reach the limit. Too bad for those who got in line late. (Is that mean?)

  4. i have 2 criteria…

    1. karma
    2. honesty
    wait.. 3 integrity..
    wait.. 4 intelligence..

    1. karma.. as in ann smarty has always been nice to me, writes good articles, so i sphinn it.. it’s worthwhile content from a nice person.. (hopefully other will think the same of me)
    2. honesty – i’m sorry but i’m really not into digging porn links.. nor can i due to the internet being my job..

    3. integrity – “hey everyone vote for me in the hottest SEO contest..” what if they aren’t the hottest seo? they were not, so i voted for someone else..

    4. intelligence – what exactly is the long term effect of association with this request?

  5. I’ve been reading “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” recently (a marketing classic that I highly recommend, at least so far) and the author talks a lot about the power of social obligation. People, especially those we think are similar to us and who we generally like, realize how powerful just asking for something can be. That’s fine, to a point, but you’re not obligated to say “yes” to everything that comes your way, no matter who’s asking.

    What’s worse, savvy salespeople know that, when we say “no”, they can use that tiny bit of guilt to get us to say yes to something else. It’s one thing to be a nice person and help your friends, but yet another to be taken advantage of. IMO, the best way to handle it is just say “no”, plainly and simply. If the request is really a complete waste of your time (a “please Digg this” from a total stranger for a worthless article), ignore it. You shouldn’t have to lie or spare someone’s feelings when they’re putting you in a bad spot.

  6. I guess the idea would be to have social friends with similar interest so that you are only recommended things you like. Personally I sometimes request of others so that I get a “boost” in a new categories. The best method might be to ignore and if they are added as a friend, take them off the list…

    The only other obvious answer would be to vote down the post (which could make it controversial and catch on fire)…

  7. “savvy salespeople know that, when we say “no”, they can use that tiny bit of guilt to get us to say yes to something else”

    What a great point, Pete! Thank you.

  8. David LaFerney says:

    If someone shamelessly asks you for a favor that they don’t deserve then shamelessly say no. It takes practice, but after a while you can actually be amused by the audacity that some people have.

  9. Eurodipity says:

    Very interested this post. I added to my favorites. Regards

  10. People should understand that if their content is really good they will get comments, diggs etc automatically.

  11. Isaac D. Van Wesep says:

    I have to agree with Paisley. At my Company we build links honestly, with integrity, intelligence, and professionalism (i hope!). If we want somebody online to link or vote for us, we want them for a reason, and think about what we can do for them first. Then we do it. That starts the relationship off right.

  12. Christina says:

    Hi Annie 🙂 just about today I was complaining to my colleagues about being annoyed of the unecessary requests and letters with no content: “add me”, “hi” and so on. From the same people. I was comforted reading your article, as if you were sharing my frustrations. Thanks so much.

  13. in Spain you have to say NO every day, a lot of people want to beat competitor by doing negative seo, so I have to say NO.

  14. Tony Murphy says:

    Hi Ann,

    I get lots of requests from Social Marketeers for votes etc. I have learned that saying no is easier when you have a specific concrete plan for your blog etc.

    As you mention that you find it hard to refuse favours – can ask that you do a guest post on my blog? It’s not as top ranking as Hobo but it will be in time.


  15. One of a very small group of ‘givers’. Don’t abuse Ann 🙂

  16. Gab Goldenberg says:

    From the comments above, it looks like you’re becoming quite the powerhouse Ann … or rather, are quite the powerhouse :).

    Personally, I tell people I can’t vote for their stuff when I don’t like it, and explain why I think it’s not worth it. Usually either
    a) It’s not had enough effort put into it, or
    b) I’m not supportive of that kind of stuff (e.g. flamebait).

  17. Condicioner says:

    Ann, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is what you need to read. Thunmbs up Dr. Pete

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.