How to say no


My husband and I own our own business and our team is around 20 strong. I was introduced, by a co-worker, via email to a business owner who handles employee benefits. We attend the same church as our co-worker, and the person being introduced to me is also from our church, which is a great, connected community of people.

I was up front at the initial introduction to let him know that we aren’t interested in changing our benefits agent, as we recently chose a new one. The benefits business owner has now emailed to ask if we want to grab coffee or lunch in the next week and I’m struggling with my reply.

I have people pleaser’s disease, but one of my goals as I’ve been working on “me” is to carefully choose how to spend my time and energy and to determine my best and highest use of my time. So, on one hand, I think a coffee can’t hurt because I feel badly saying no (to a fellow church member) but on the other hand, I have no interest in hearing his pitch and I don’t want to be obligated to go. My husband’s advice is simply – no – but how do I reply simply but kindly? And what if he wants to talk about running a husband and wife ownership team and not ask for our benefits business? Ugh.