OK, I know that even my title doesn't make much sense, so here are the details of the situation:

I asked my colleague to do certain things, and he refused. So, if my boss asks why he refused, instead of saying that he is refusing to do things that he should be doing, I would say, I was was overstepping my boundaries, i.e., it is not my position to ask/request him to do things.

So, what is the friendliest way to express that idea, because after all, I'm really not asking for something big, but something really small. I don't want to blame others, but I don't want to take the blame either.


All that I want is to down play the situation. So the more informal the better. I only want to hint at this, and everyone would know what I mean in such sensitive situation.


  • 1
    Perhaps "C said he couldn't, and I could hardly press him." – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 5 '17 at 18:30
  • This question might get better answers on workplace.stackexchange.com – Adam Jun 5 '17 at 19:25
  • @Adam, It first came to me as an English expression question, then I realize the sensitive nature of the topic, so, yeah, I agree with you, or anyone who moves it over. I have an account there as well. – xpt Jun 6 '17 at 0:50

In English, if we ask somebody to do something beyond one's authority to do so, one might say:

I know this is above my pay grade, but would you mind taking those cups back to the kitchen and not leaving them for me?

I knew I was going out on a limb in asking him to do it.

I know I probably shouldn't have asked him, but, the mess got to me.

| improve this answer | |
  • "going out on a limb", Ah, that's something along the lines I was thinking. Upvoting now, and will come back and accept the answer in a week. Thx! – xpt Jun 6 '17 at 0:45

I would state it as, "I didn't have the authority to ask for that from my colleague." This way my boss could grant you the authority if needed. Also, the lack of cooperation from my coworker could be noted.

| improve this answer | |
  • Oh, I really don't want to use the word "authority" -- that sounds really serious, and all that I want is to down play the situation. So the informal the better. I only want to give a hint on this, and everyone would know what I mean in such sensitive situation. Thanks for suggestion anyway. – xpt Jun 5 '17 at 18:21
  • "I don't feel comfortable pressing the matter." – Sonny Jun 5 '17 at 19:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.