How to Decline Work Requests in a Professional Manner

Learning how to decline work requests in a professional manner is essential for work-life integration. Since there are a limited number of hours in a day, you likely cannot fit in everything you are asked to do.

Knowing how to turn down work requests professionally helps maintain boundaries at work. You can take on projects and activities that interest you, fit your schedule, and turn down the rest.

Choose among these email templates to decline work requests in a professional manner.

You can tailor these email templates to fit your situation:

When a Colleague Asks You to Take on Additional Work

Hello [colleague],

Thanks for reaching out about [project]. Unfortunately, I must turn down this request.

My goal is to continue to do my best with my current workload. My plate is too full for me to take this on now.

Sorry I cannot be of more help!


[your name]

When You Receive an Event Invitation

Hey [name],

Thanks for the invite! I appreciate you thinking of me.

However, I will not be able to attend [event] on [date]. Thanks again for sending me an invitation.

Hopefully, we can get together soon.


[your name]

When Someone Requests a Favor

Hi [name],

I’m happy to hear from you!

Due to [clear, concise reason], I cannot help you with this right now. However, I wish you the best with [what you turned down].

Have an amazing week, [name]!


[your name]

When Someone Requests a Recommendation

Hey [name],

I am honored you thought of me for this! Unfortunately, I do not believe I am the right fit to provide a recommendation for [opportunity] due to [concise reason].

Know that I am rooting for you, [name].

All the best,

[your name]

When Someone Asks You to Meet for Coffee

Hi [name],

I appreciate you reaching out!

Although I would love to meet for some caffeine, my schedule is packed, and I cannot make room for these kinds of casual chats.

If you have specific questions to talk about, feel free to email them. I will do my best to answer when I have downtime.

I hope to connect another time, [name]!

[your name]

When You Are Asked for a Networking Introduction

Hey [name],

I am happy to hear from you! I hope all is well with you.

Although I do know [person], I am not comfortable sharing their contact information. I trust you understand.

Feel free to reach out if I can help in another way, [name].

Have a great day!

[your name]

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