It may sound counter-intuitive but people really will like you better when you tell them no. “Do you want to go to Red Robin for lunch?” If you don’t really want to, be nice and say “Not really. But I would love to go to ….” When people know you are not afraid to be honest with them they end up trusting you more. They don’t have to second guess you or themselves.
Last week a friend asked me if I would help her do something. I was not able to even though I wanted to so I told her no. A week later we were doing something together and she told me how thankful she was that I told her no. She’s has a hard time asking people to help her and felt more comfortable simply knowing where I stood.
Helpful hint—When you tell someone no via email or voice mail, say no in the first sentence. Then use no more than three more sentences explaining why you said no.