Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: WolfWay on May 20, 2013, 05:43:56 AM

Title: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: WolfWay on May 20, 2013, 05:43:56 AM
I need a little help wording a polite refusal statement.

At work on Friday we're supposed to be doing a walk-a-thon. Our department heads have decided that in our particular department it will take too much time to do the walk-a-thon and instead we will be buying tickets (for a nominal amount) and this gets us a hot dog. I'm fine with that except that our department head also informed us that we will be picking teams and some team members will be volunteered to "play some games".

I know ahead of time that these games will be the kind of stupid difficult tasks that are designed to may the player look like a total fool for the general amusement of their coworkers. I know that some people find this funny and entertaining, but I definitely do not in any shape or form take any sort of pleasure of either embarassing myself for other's amusement or find it funny to laugh at those who do.

I have no problem standing up for myself and peer pressure and bullying simply will not work against me, but I need some help phrasing a refusal that doesn't come off as insulting or rude to my boss. What I want to say is "No thank you, I won't be participating in the games. I've given my money, but if the hot dog requires that I play these games then I will skip the food."

If she persists in trying to push me, I want to say "I'm sorry but I don't find the act of humiliating myself for other's amusement to be pleasent, nor do I find it amusing to watch, so I won't be participating".

Is there a better way to phrase this? I think I'm coming off as very abrupt and probably rather condescending.  :(
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Amava on May 20, 2013, 06:01:54 AM
If she persists in trying to push me, I want to say "I'm sorry but I don't find the act of humiliating myself for other's amusement to be pleasent, nor do I find it amusing to watch, so I won't be participating".

Is there a better way to phrase this? I think I'm coming off as very abrupt and probably rather condescending.  :(

Yes, and also a bit judgemental to those who /do/ want to participate and enjoy these games.
Just to clarify, I am not one of them. Not by a far, far stretch! I hate this sort of stuff.
Make it a *true* "me-message". For example: "No, I'm really not comfortable participating" or "No, I can't participate for personal reasons." Or even "I won't be available for that part". That clearly informs her  but without passing judgement about the nature of the games and the people who do participate.
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Margo on May 20, 2013, 06:08:24 AM
I agree with Amava - stay polite and non-judgmental (Also - is it possible for you to volunteer to cover the office while people are playing games / having 'fun'? If so, that might be an option which allows you to get out of participating without looking like you're not joining in.

(Having something urgent which *has* to be finished may work well, too "Guys, you go on. I have to finish this Urgent Task but I'll join you if I can. Have fun!"
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: AvidReader on May 20, 2013, 06:08:54 AM
Perhaps stating it to her in terms that she can't say "no" to.  Try something on the order of, "Madame Dept. Head, all of us know that you respect each of us for our uniqueness and our ability to get our work done.  I hope you don't mind if I take a pass while I complete work on the ABC or XYZ project during that period."  If you focus on some sort of time-sensitive issue that really needs to be accomplished during the time of the party, it would be difficult for her to press you further because it is also in her interest that the task be completed.   
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Venus193 on May 20, 2013, 06:49:27 AM
I endorse this approach.

At my last company when a party was being planned the CEO asked what we thought of karaoke.  Someone said "I will find a reason not to attend" and I said "I will request my vacation time for that period."  The matter was never raised again.

The fact that there were two of us saying this allowed for this level of bluntness.
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: TootsNYC on May 20, 2013, 06:52:39 AM
"I" statements are your friend.

"I find these kinds of games upsetting."
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: WolfWay on May 20, 2013, 07:09:45 AM
Ah, thank you Toots, that's what I was looking for.   :)

Re: scheduling to not be there or to be busy won't work in this case unfortunately.

I was trying to find a way to phrase it that didn't sound judgemental, but at the same time I wanted to make it clear that I had a legitimate emotional reason for not wanting to participate. I'll go with a variant of Toot's phrasing.  Thanks all.
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: snowdragon on May 20, 2013, 12:08:29 PM
Oh I *hate* these forced participation fundraisers.  I always opt out.  I usually say that I prefer to do my giving with charities of my choice. I haven't had anyone try to force me to give past that. These are things that make the company look good to the public but are done on the employee's backs.
  If you don't want to participate - tell folks honestly, and start establishing that while you'll be a team player in other ways, forced giving is not what you will participate in. That includes giving your dignity over to the company.
  What happens in your company if someone has ethical issues with the charity
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: MrTango on May 20, 2013, 12:10:41 PM
Personally, I don't think saying "No, I will not publically humiliate myself" is at all rude.  I'd leave off the "for your amusement" part.
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Margo on May 20, 2013, 01:36:58 PM
I think what makes it potentially rude is that there are those (presumably Boss, in the case) who would quite genuinely see it as fun, not humiliation, so it turns into a criticism of their taste and judgment. Fine if someone is putting a lot of pressure on you after you've said no, but not so much as an initial response.
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: GrammarNerd on May 20, 2013, 03:40:23 PM
How about a "No, I don't think so" with the absolute biggest smile you can muster?  If you're smiling this big huge smile while you very politely refuse, it conveys that you're really good with your decision, and it makes people more hesitant to argue with you, for some reason. 

You could always follow it up with bean dip or "But you have a great time, okay?"
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Slartibartfast on May 20, 2013, 04:32:05 PM
"No thanks; I'm not comfortable doing that kind of thing."

(I suggest the "no thanks" wording because it makes it sound like you're refusing an optional offer - politely - rather than confrontationally rejecting a demand.  Even if "demand" would have been the more accurate term.)
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: bopper on May 21, 2013, 09:28:15 AM
Are you willing to contribute money to the cause?


"I am willing to contribute to <Charity>, but won't be participating in the games."
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Hmmmmm on May 21, 2013, 11:54:01 AM
Personally, I don't think saying "No, I will not publically humiliate myself" is at all rude.  I'd leave off the "for your amusement" part.

I think that satement it implies that doing the game is publically humiliating for everyone.

We've had a "Kiss the Pig" event as a fund raiser at work a few times. Bosses are nominated and who ever has the most money donated in "their name" ends up having to kiss the pig. A few find the idea humiliating and would never want to participate. I and others are not humiliated at the idea of kissing a pig. It's no different to me then being asked to kiss a dog or cat. So if someone said to me "I can't believe you are willing to humiliate your self by kissing a pig" I would be insulted as I don't find the act humiliating at all.
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: DottyG on May 21, 2013, 12:30:46 PM
LOL!  Your subject title made me think of two supervisors I once had who, when we were walking back across the courtyard to our office after a meeting, wouldn't let me go inside the building until I showed them how far I could spit.  I was humiliated.

I'd play your games over having to do that again!

Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Hmmmmm on May 21, 2013, 12:51:30 PM
LOL!  Your subject title made me think of two supervisors I once had who, when we were walking back across the courtyard to our office after a meeting, wouldn't let me go inside the building until I showed them how far I could spit.  I was humiliated.

I'd play your games over having to do that again!

Just hoping you had good aim! ;D
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: DottyG on May 21, 2013, 12:56:42 PM
Looking back, maybe I should have "accidentally" missed a bit.  But I was young, needed the job and was scared of them.

I fought it as long as I could.  I think I finally did do a half-hearted spit.  But I remember how I felt at the time - even after all these years.

Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: BeagleMommy on May 21, 2013, 02:37:31 PM
How about "I'm going to bow out of participating in the games.  They're just not my thing.".
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: CreteGirl on May 21, 2013, 02:46:41 PM
How about "I'm going to bow out of participating in the games.  They're just not my thing.".

I like this a lot.  I once had a supervisor who liked to plan team sporting events for our department.  I said I would be humiliated to have to participate.  Not because the sport was humiliating, but because it brought back painful memories of being mocked in gym class for my lack of coordination.

I thought my supervisor would understand, but she did not and it did change our relationship a bit.  And I still felt like I had to participate.  I wish I had been more vague in my reason to "bow out".
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: LifeOnPluto on May 23, 2013, 06:15:45 AM
OP, will there be consequences for you if you don't participate? Will you be marked out as "not a team player"? Passed over for plum assignments and promotions, etc? Will your boss(es) say nasty things about you?

If you don't think there'll be any consequences, then go ahead and politely decline. Eg "No thanks, this isn't really my cup of tea".

If you think there WILL be consequences, then I think you have to suck it up and play. Perhaps you can pick the least offensive game and volunteer for that?
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Venus193 on May 23, 2013, 06:44:25 AM
Do you have a cane?  If so, could you bandage your knee or ankle and go, with apologies for the inability to participate.   >:D
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: WolfWay on May 23, 2013, 06:53:16 AM
No, no real consequences. The games idea seems to have been called off due to nobody wanting to participate.  We all contributed to the charity drive anyway, and upon being asked en mass in our open plan office, nobody was all that enthusiastic about the hotdogs or the games.

In a possibly related note, boss has just resigned to join another division of our company. Apparently boss doesn't like the atmosphere here (where we would collectively rather get our jobs done, than stand around making fools of ourselves when we have work to do, and are the most profitable division in our company), and would rather go work for another division that is much more laid back but eyeball deep in debt because they're more positive people to work with.  Ooookay then...
Title: Re: Polite way to say "No, I will not publicallyhumiliate myself for your amusement"
Post by: Amava on May 23, 2013, 06:55:17 AM
No, no real consequences. The games idea seems to have been called off due to nobody wanting to participate.  We all contributed to the charity drive anyway, and upon being asked en mass in our open plan office, nobody was all that enthusiastic about the hotdogs or the games.

In a possibly related note, boss has just resigned to join another division of our company. Apparently boss doesn't like the atmosphere here (where we would collectively rather get our jobs done, than stand around making fools of ourselves when we have work to do, and are the most profitable division in our company), and would rather go work for another division that is much more laid back but eyeball deep in debt because they're more positive people to work with.  Ooookay then...

HA!!!  Your first sentence actually made say "Ha!" out loud!
Very good update!
Except that now you don't get hotdogs. I like hotdogs. :(  ;)