Q:

How can I write a sensitive refusal letter?

A:

Quick Answer

The key to writing a sensitive refusal letter is to strike a balance between your regret over the refusal and your confidence in your decision. Write a sensitive refusal letter to decline a gift, refuse to write a letter of recommendation or turn down a promotion or a request.

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Full Answer

Since the letter is delivering unwanted news, and you want it to be sensitive, it needs to convey a sense of empathy. It needs to be as brief as possible, but not to the point that it seems like an afterthought or you wrote it in haste. Be sure it conveys a certain amount of emotion.

Start the letter by stating your regret and what you are refusing. Explain the reason for your refusal, and cite specific examples if appropriate. If your refusal was due to something the other person could improve and might be possible in the future, include this in the letter. For example, "If you are able to increase your production to …, we may be in a position to reconsider your request at a later date."

Consider offering a suggestion to the rejected party to pursue the request elsewhere. Express a sincere wish for the person's success in the future, and close the letter. Be sure it is free of any punctuation, spelling or grammatical errors to avoid making it seem like you did not compose it thoughtfully or consider it carefully. Re-read the letter to make sure it conveys the desired amount of sensitivity,

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