I received a phone call that impressed me. It was like this:
“Richard, I’m afraid I can’t help with the project like we had planned. Some things have come up, and I no longer have the time. I just wanted to let you know. If I can help in the future, I’ll call you again.”
Flakiness is so common, but here is a guy who didn’t flake out. He communicated “no” just as clearly as he had communicated “yes”. I no longer had to wonder.
“No” isn’t mean or rude. If you can’t realistically commit, “no” is courteous.
“No” is a way of prioritizing. If you say “yes” to everything, you haven’t prioritized.
As someone who tends to say yes and overcommit, I’m impressed by this example of saying no.