DEAR ABBY: How do you say, "No, thank you" to a pest without hurting her feelings? A woman I'll call "Ethel" constantly invites me to have lunch with her. By "constantly," I mean she has asked me at least 50 times.
I have explained to Ethel that my schedule is full and that I can't commit to any additional outings at this time. I do not want to have lunch with her because she hogs the conversation and it's not pleasant being with her.
My husband suggests that I just tell Ethel bluntly that I do not care to be with her. Please tell me how to get the message across without being rude. -- STUCK IN THE "SHOW ME" STATE
DEAR STUCK: Most people who understand social cues would have stopped asking after three invitations had been refused. Because you cannot bring yourself to follow your husband's suggestion, try this: "Ethel, you have asked me so many times that you are making me feel uncomfortable. Please understand that I do not have time to go to lunch with you, and please don't ask me anymore."