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I was just wondering how can I decline a help offer politely from someone whom especially I don't know very well.

For example, I am moving in a new house and a neighbor sees me carrying boxes and says Do you need help? or I can give you a hand if you want.

Another example , you are alone and while you are strolling in public like shopping center or park, you feel dizzy and sit down in a collapsed manner and suddenly someone approaches you and says Are you ok? Would you want me to call one of your friends? but you feel better and want to decline the help offer.

So can I say Thank you for your interest as the reply in the above 2 scenarios?

  • "No, but thank you". If they force you for an explanation, say "I'm alright" or "I insist". – Renae Lider Nov 5 '14 at 22:21
  • "right now I'm good, but if I need something a little later, I'll call for you!" – hunter Nov 6 '14 at 11:38
14

You can almost always say "No thank you", which is polite enough on its own, but if you'd like to give a longer response, you could say something like:

No thank you. I appreciate the offer, but I'll be fine on my own.

Sometimes making your reply a little bit longer like this can make you seem more gracious and less brusque.

If you appear to be hurt, it would also be good to say "I'm okay" so they know not to worry.

11

I often say:

[It's] Nice of you to offer, but I think I've got it. or ... but I think I can manage it. [Thanks [though]]

or for your second scenario:

Nice of you to offer, but I think I'm okay. [Thanks [though]]

Adding "I think" also softens the response and makes it less brusque.

4

It's good just to say:

  • No, thanks!

If you say:

  • No, thank you!

That's a little bit formal, so they might think you're being a very little bit unfriendly.

In the UK, we like to say things like bye, sorry or thanks a few times not just once. So we might say something like:

  • No thanks! Thanks very much though!

The exclamation marks there (!!) mean that you need to say it at a high pitch. A high pitch makes you sound enthusiastic and friendly. A low pitch will make you sound bored. You'll sound as if it doesn't matter to you. So, the more high pitched and friendly the better. This is probably more important than what you actually say. (Don't worry, you'll never do it at too high a pitch, trust me!)

Hope this is helpful!

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