How to Refuse if You are an Indonesian

Not like common refusing, people in Indonesia prefer to shows more indirect refusal. Indonesian people

would be offended or upset when people directly refuse their request for the first time. Hence, if we are to

refuse someone request, it is suggested that it would be indirect refusal.

To this extent, types of common refusal of Indonesian people will be explained.

Long winded refusal:

This refusal is done by asking the detail information of the request as if we would grant the request but in

the end still refuse it with considerably undisputed excuse.

A: bisa minta tolong gak?(Could you help me?)

B: apa?(What is it?/ What can I help you?)

A: besok bisa jemput aku gak?(can you pick me up tomorrow?)

B: dimana?(Where is it?)

A: di Delta (in Delta)

B: jam berapa?(What Time?)

A: sore, sekitar jam 5(At noon, about 5 o’clock.)

B: ngapain emang di Delta?(what do you do in Delta?)

A: aku ada acara di Delta, ulang tahunnya temenku (I have something to do there, my friend’s birthday)

B: oh… siapa emangnya?(oh, who is it?)

A: itu si C kok yang ulang tahun (it’s C that having the birthday party)

B: em…. Ya gak janji sih besok aku bisa apa enggak, tapi kemungkinan besar sih gak bisa. Soalnya

aku besok harus jemput Mamaku juga sih jam 5 sore itu. Jadi jangan andalkan aku ya. (emm.. I cannot

promise you i could, but big chance that i cant pick you up, because I must pick my mom too at that time.

So, don’t count on me)

Direct polite refusal

This kind of refusal is done just like all ordinary polite refusal. The refusal of this type is always started of

apologizing words that shows how sorry we are to refuse the request.

A: eh besok bisa jemput aku gak?( Could you pick me up tomorrow?)

B: aduh, maaf, besok aku gak bisa. Soalnya aku besok mau jemput Mama ku. Maaf ya. (oh, I’m sorry i

couldn’t. I have to pick my mom up at that time too, really sorry.)

Direct impolite refusal

This kind of refusal is showing either how close they are or how bad their relationship is. It always shows

their social intimacy to the extreme.

A: besok bisa jemput aku gak?(Could you pick me up tomorrow?)

B: wah, aku gak bisa, cari orang lain aja deh. (Nope, find somebody else.)

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