Is "Sorry, no" an impolite answer?

This thread has degenerated into an argument over the phrase “Sorry, no” as a response to an adult asking to pet a dog. This is not about the start of that thread which referred to a child’s question.

Several people have claimed that “Sorry, no” is curt, and therefore impolite. However that is circular logic. The definition of ‘curt’ is ‘impolitely brief’.

I think that “Sorry, no” is a reasonable answer to an unsolicited question by a stranger and does not require additional explanation for a request. A request in this case that I would characterize as frivolous, but some might misinterpret that. I am referring to a request that is unimportant to reasonable people as opposed to a request like “Please help me, I’m drowning”.

But maybe I’m wrong. So tell me, is “Sorry, no” an impolite answer to a request from a stranger for something unnecessary? You could also address whether it is polite, which is a different question entirely.

I guess if you say it dripping with contempt or something, then yes, it would be rude-- but a perfectly friendly, “Sorry, no!” isn’t rude at all.

As I said before elsewhere, IMO its a best neutral and most folks are not going to be impressed with the overall friendlyness of the response (ie they are gonna kinda think you are a curt dick). Particularly when the request is quite reasonable, the general answer is usually yes, and a short explaination of why the “no” is easily given.

Of course this is Asperger central where being socially stunted is seen as a positive and not a handicap and things like “please”, “thank you”, “have a nice day” and the like are seen as moral affront to many posters here so I’m putting my money on about 50/50 here.

And BTW if the bar you are aiming for is just “not impolite” IMO you are totally missing the point.

If it is said in response to a request to do something that is usually consented to, then it is jarring and could easily be perceived to be a sign of hostility. Even if it’s said with a smile. Maybe especially if it’s said with a smile.

Kind of like, if someone asks if they can shake your hand. 99% of the time, the answer is yes and it’s generally accepted with gratitude, since it’s a friendly gesture. So if you say, “Sorry, no”, then the person is left wondering if it’s something personal, since this is a jarring departure from how the exchange is supposed to go. But if you say, “Sorry, I have a cold and don’t want you to get it”, then it would be unreasonable to take offense. You’ve smooth over the rupture by providing an apologetic explanation.

You can dissect just about every aspect of social interaction and find numerous instances of irrational rules, because humans are irrational beings. Why is it rude to not say hello to someone when you enter a room? Why do people expect you to say “thank you” when they hold the door for you? Why is “I don’t like that question” an unacceptable resonse to “And how are you today?” There is no rational explanation. But the rules are maintained for a reason.

Are there really a lot of people with Asperger’s people on the SD? I agree this population seems to be plentiful on the internet in general, and we have had some recent discussion about AS on this board. But I don’t think being socially stunted is seen as a positive at all. Social tards are laughed at all the time here, although introversion does seem to be an esteemed quality. At least, that has been what I have noticed.

That was said half joking. Maybe not a positive per se but I sure as heck IMO have seen a heck of a lot of defending of the "but I shoullldddnntt haaavvvvve to say thank you to the 7-11 clerk " kinda things on the Dope. But I’ll leave the results of this discussion for you to decide :slight_smile:

Hell, no.

Being neutral is never rude. Yelling “Fuck no!” would be rude.

As with all things involving social cues, it depends on the situation.

In that thread, I’d say that “sorry, no” is a bit curt when dealing with a small child who has politely asked to pet your dog, and agree with the folks who said that taking the extra 2.5 seconds to say, “sorry, he doesn’t like to be pet by strangers” would have been a much better choice.

On the other hand, “sorry, no” is a perfectly acceptable answer to some random dude on the street asking if you have a cigarette.

All depends on the situation.

Absolutely impolite? Not usually.

Brusque? Yes. Likely to be taken as curt and a brushoff? Yes.

If you’re working at a restaurant and someone asks if you have Diet Canada Dry (to pick something random) then “Sorry, no” might be a reasonable answer. Because it’s not the sort of thing that you explain, it’s just a yes or no.

But when it’s the type of question that is more socially interactive than that, then shutting down the conversation is usually going to come off as brusque at best.

Talking with people generally shouldn’t be about saying the fewest words possible. It should be about social context and cues and an attempt to communicate necessary ideas with tact so that everyone feels positive about an encounter. Doing so is nicer for everyone, and easier in the long run.

What Johnny Bravo said. Little kids usually seem to be taught that if you’re polite, those are “magic words” (please, thank you, excuse me) and therefore seem to expect that their wish will be fulfilled, especially if it’s a reasonable-sounding one. Petting a dog really falls into that category from a kid’s point of view - it doesn’t hurt anything, you’re asking permission, you’re not sneaking up on the dog, etc. If you just say “sorry, no” to a request to pet your dog, the kid may just be left wondering why you were “mean” - after all, they were polite and said the magic word, and… nothing! If you say, “sorry, no, Fido is kind of scared today/Fido doesn’t like strangers touching him” (or something), kids can relate to being scared/strangers/etc, and you’re giving them a plausible reason that the magic word didn’t work for a reasonable request.

(Extreme example: Saying “sorry, no” is douchey if you’re being asked if you can call 911 by someone emerging from an auto accident. If you’re traveling in a foreign country and don’t speak the person’s language and can’t understand what they need, being able to say “Sorry I don’t speak (the local language)” in their or your language is polite.)

In response to being asked if you have a cigarette/want to sign a petition/have time for a facial consultation, etc., then it’s fine. People in that situation expect to be told no frequently. You don’t have to explain.

To quote what I said in the other thread:

“Sorry, no.” is not impolite.

It was fine in the other thread, and unless it’s said with a poor tone of voice, or there’s some bizarre circumstance, it’s never impolite.

Wasn’t he a shortstop for the Dodgers in the early 60s?


This is my opinion, too.

If I walk up to a person with a watch and I ask: “Could you tell me what time it is?” and he says “Sorry, no”, that would strike me as cryptic at best. Same thing if I went up to a person holding a lighter and asked for a light.

I don’t see how such a simple statement could possibly be misinterpreted. It is polite and then some. A mere “no” is perfectly adequate and not at all rude. Tacking on the “sorry” indicates a full attempt at politeness.

Being offended by this is something going on entirely in the listener’s mind.

Agreed with everyone else. On the one hand, we should all learn to be able to say, simply, “Sorry, no,” for when the request is impolite. “Can I come and stay at your house for three and a half weeks [even though I can totally afford a hotel]?” “Sorry, no.”

On the other hand I firmly believe that whatever may make the world go round, civility greases the wheels. “Can I pet your dog?” “Sorry, Jasper’s not feeling friendly today.”

If you’d lost as many pens as I have to people who deliberately chose not to carry a pen, then wanted to borrow one, you’d think “Sorry, no” would be just fine, thank you.

“Sorry, no” is rude in context, but my interpretation is different. I don’t think it’s rude as a response to anyone requesting something from me purely for themselves, including beggars accosting me outside the Metro station. I would find it rude if I was clambering into a lifeboat swinging from davits on the Titanic, and some starched-shirt “gentleman” tried to tell me, “Sorry, no.”

Yes, as would “with all due respect, you’re full of shit.”

It isn’t being “misinterpreted.” The fact that it’s a denial is abundantly clear. What’s not clear (as numerous posters have explained) is the reason, because there’s no hint given. Which isn’t owed, of course, and nobody should feel compelled to give if they’re comfortable with others assuming they’re an unfriendly dick.