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Old 09-04-2016, 08:23 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Neither here nor there
Posts: 12,649
Miss Manners (columnist Judith Martin) says you don't need an excuse not to do something. In fact, offering an excuse only gives the OP something to react to, attempt to work around, offer an alternative, etc. She says all you have to say is, "I'm sorry, it's just impossible." No more. And keep repeating that until the OP stops asking.

"Hey, Bob-- can I count on your to come by next weekend and help up move those cinder blocks?"
"I'm so sorry, but it's just impossible."
"Wha--? We were expecting you. We really need the help. There's lots of beer in it for you."
"Sorry, Impossible for me to make it."
"Why? What's so important?"
"No can do." <shakes head> "Just impossible. Gotta run. Talk to you later."