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I live with two roommates and often we have lunch/dinner together. One thing that happens frequently my roommates offering me something and me turing it down. It often goes like this

Friend: Dude have some garlic bread.
Me: I don't want it, you eat/go ahead.(awkwardly)

Does it sound odd to native English speakers? What would the appropriate reply be in this context?

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    You could always offer Friend a bit of garlic bread and see how he turns it down. If he accepts, just keep offering more (drop it on the floor or sneeze on it first if you want to make sure he turns it down! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 7 '13 at 18:46
  • It sounds to me like you don't like garlic bread. "Well, man, I'm really not into garlic bread". – Lambie Feb 8 '18 at 0:28
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“I don't want it, you eat” definitely is odd; a native English speaker would add it after eat. “You go ahead” is natural enough.

Less-awkward phrasings include “Thank you, no”, “Thank you, but no”, “No, thanks”, “I don't care for it”, “I don't care for any just now”, etc. In many dining contexts, “I don't want it” is slightly rude, because it can imply the food is bad, and such implication spoils the dining experience for others. Of course, if the food is definitely and obviously bad, less delicacy is needed.

  • +1, though I think "Thank you, no" and "Thank you, but no" are a bit stiff as responses to "Dude!". "No, thanks." sounds fine to me. In this particular context, I don't think "I don't want it. You go ahead" is rude. – snailcar Mar 7 '13 at 18:08
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    @snailplane, "I don't want it, you go ahead", as jwpat7 said, is odd at best and rude (or at least ill-mannered) at worst. The reason "No, thanks" works without being stiff is that it calls the least amount of attention to the interchange. If the offerer wants to know why, they can ask, "Why not?" Then it would be ok to say, "I don't really care for garlic bread." or "I'm full" or "I'm allergic to wheat products" - or whatever information the person is comfortable with sharing. Good manners are timeless and to non-native speakers, sometimes not clear in their new culture. – Kristina Lopez Mar 7 '13 at 19:23
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    In my experience, interjectionary/vocative "Dude!" between friends sets a pretty low bar for manners. I must say I'm struck by the incongruity between dude and ill-mannered! You can, of course, be more polite than the situation calls for, and in my opinion, erring on the side of too polite is an effective strategy to avoid giving offense. That said, I believe your logic is backwards: "no, thanks" calls the least amount of attention to the interchange because it isn't stiff. Using an unexpected level of formality draws attention, whether too high or too low. – snailcar Mar 7 '13 at 20:05
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    This may be a regional issue, but “I don't care for it” sounds both old-fashioned and dismissive to me (native of south-east England). – Steve Melnikoff Mar 8 '13 at 10:41
  • @SteveMelnikoff Yes, I thought the same. – starsplusplus May 1 '14 at 14:51
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If this is in the context of shared dinner, but without any more specific prompt from you (such as "I'm not full yet"), then to answer in kind (which is to say, informally but politely), you say "I'm good," "Nah, I'm good," or "I'm good, thanks though."

Saying "you go ahead" is super awkward since he wasn't asking if he could have some.

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I am quite often offered things I don't want at that moment, by people offering 'transport' on the street or wanting me to buy sarongs.

As saying 'no' constantly doesn't feel good to me, I just smile and say 'thank-you' - and move on.

They get the message that I don't want what they are offering - but my 'thank-you' at least lets me graciously acknowledge that something was offered, without the feeling of constantly rejecting everything!

~I suggest you do the same - smile, say thank-you, but then don't take it.

Acknowledge the offer. You can nod a bit with a downward motion to show you want them to put the plate down, as you are smiling.

If they try to foist it on you again, you can smile, nod (by which I mean, gently gesture towards the table surface with your head), and say 'thank-you - maybe later' (hold up a flat palm here if needed) - again with the downward nod.

In this way, hopefully, you can train them, and also, feel gracious, in your response.

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