Lukewarm Response Is A “No”

I sometimes ask my sister out for badminton, and her reaction falls into two categories: “Holy shit, let’s go!” or, “Meh, yeah, let’s see.” If her response is lukewarm, I see it as a “no” from her.

Lukewarm response is a “no” without the offense. The thing being offered could be anything: your music, your painting, your business proposition, or even yourself (when dating). Some people are comfortable with saying no directly, but most prefer giving lukewarm responses to avoid rocking the boat—it’s a polite, socially acceptable way to reject something.

Think of the time when you rejected a salesman by smiling, nodding, and saying, “Ah, yeah, maybe later.” What would happen if the salesman persisted in peddling his wares? Your lukewarm response would probably morph into a deep annoyance—your “maybe later” would turn into “just fucking leave!” Pestering a lukewarm response won’t turn it into an excited enthusiasm; a polite no is still a no.