Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

When "NO" is not enough

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Help! I need someone to send me some quick-growth hormone for my very lately born spine! It's just a baby but needs to get strong fast!

BG: My sister and I have only recently reconnected after a two and a half year rift. We had a bad falling out around the time of the last presidential election - we are on VERY opposite ends of the political spectrum. I have no problem with that in and of itself, but she (and her husband, from whom all her opinions generate) kept trying to "convert" me to their side...and a person can only take so much brow beating, hence the falling out.

After the falling out, we hadn't spoken in quite some time, until I finally said to myself that this was stupid and called her. We "reconnected" as they say, and have been catching up once or twice a week since then. Initially, she tried to go back to the same tactics of political conversion as before, but somehow (I don't know how) I managed to convince her I wasn't going to be changing my mind....or is it because she got roped into an MLM opportunity and now is focused on that?

You see, she's unemployed and her DH has been telling her to find a job. Six months ago, when HE was looking for work, they bought financial products from a MLM company that sells insurance and financial products. He thought about joining up himself, but then found a job in his industry and told my sister to follow up and join.

This last weekend, she completed the first round of tests for the Series 7 license. Meanwhile, yesterday I returned from my state vocational rehabilitation services orientation meeting (where I signed up with the hopes to qualify for career coaching and job placement services since my industry is evaporating and I need to find a new line of work and possibly go back to school) and she called me, all excited about this "opportunity" and how I should hurry up and buy the financial products she wants to sell and then sign up to be her "downline".

I DO NOT want to do this. I am against MLM on principle, and this company in particular after doing research. Furthermore, me in the financial industry? I don't think so. Me giving financial planning is like Typhoid Mary selling pies on a street corner. Disaster would be the inevitable result. Bad idea.'s my dilemma. Given that we've had a contentious relationship in the past, and that we've only just begun to develop a tenuous "reconnection" in the last few can I put her off gently? She is a very strong personality who does not accept a simple "No" for an answer.

Yesterday, I tried to put her off as best I could by saying "that won't be possible" and her response was a whiney "but whyyyyyyyyyyy? Do you want to stay poor forever? These products are designed for people like you who don't have assets....what's going to happen to you when you get old and need to retire someday blah blah blah.."

Every. Time. I. Said. No., she came back with another angle. It was exhausting. What ever happened to accepting NO for an answer? What is there beyond no? Do I have to give her the cut direct? Should I send her the information I found out about this company and what it does to its customers and representatives? It has a very poor reputation from what I can see. Or, should I be strong and just tell her what I wrote here? That I'm against MLM on principle and that me buying/joining just isn't going to happen and I can't even bring myself to morally support her in her efforts? I'm really confused about how to handle this. I don't want to escalate this into a confrontation and feel I need to tread lightly, but then again, she doesn't seem to respond to subtleties.

Oh, I need advice...and failing that...just some support or a hug, I guess. I'm lost.

Oh Joy:
First, a hug.

Second, how about, 'I'm not interested.  Sis, I'm so glad to have you back in my life. I'd hate for this to make things uncomfortable between us,' with a 'so please drop it,' if you have to repeat yourself? 

Best wishes.

{{{mrkitty}}} Personally, I think this -
--- Quote ---Me giving financial planning is like Typhoid Mary selling pies on a street corner.
--- End quote ---
- is great, but I know MLMers are trained to see that as an opening to pitch their Patented No Fail Training Techniques.

How about, "Sis, I need your help. I need to know what I need to say so that you understand that I am not interested in this. I was so glad that we were able to reconnect, but lately it's like you don't even see me as family anymore - just your next potential "downline". It's hurtful; I'm starting to dread picking up the phone when it's you because I know you're going to be so busy pitching your product that you won't even care about anything I have to say."

Yeah, it's a bit of a guilt trip, but you can't always fight clean when you're dealing with the recently converted.

"Sis, I don't do business with family. Too much chance of something going wrong and ruining our relationship."

Or just, "Sis, I've thought about it and no, I do not want to do it. Keep pushing this on me and you *will* destroy our relationship."

Pick one answer that you like and stick with it. Use it every single time she brings this up.

And if she continues to badger you, hang up the phone, walk out of the room, get in the car and leave. Continuing to argue with her only gives her hope that you will change your mind.


--- Quote ---What ever happened to accepting NO for an answer?
--- End quote ---

Remember, that is how normal social etiquette works.

Business etiquette allows you to be a little pushier. And there are shady companies that don't give a hoot about etiquette in any form. Unfortunately, your sister has accepted the company's mindset that all's fair when it comes to selling their product. She probably really believes that she is doing this for your benefit - I've dealt with these people before, and they are often sincerely deceived as to how much profit they're going to make. All you can do is treat her like any aggressive salesperson - polite, but firm.

Stop trying to give her reasons why you won't buy in. She will have been trained specifically in countering all your arguments. "I don't want to," is hard to beat, though.


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