Wendy Lee, is a highly sought-after BrandImage Consultant, international speaker, master trainer and prolific author.  For the past 18 years, she has dedicated her life to helping thousands of corporate executives define and refine their BrandImage through appearance, behaviour and communication.

To date, Wendy, an Adjunct Professor and the Director of Chapter One Asia and BrandImage™ International Institute, has trained more than 250,000 corporate executives from over 45 countries worldwide and has certified over 150 BrandImage Consultants.

Believing in continuous education, Wendy sits on board as the Associate Editor of AICI (Association of Image Consultant International) Global Magazine and is also a board member of Virtual Speaker Association International. She has also won several coveted awards and has written more than 150 articles on Image, Brand and Etiquette. Wendy is currently pursuing her PhD in International Business.

Today, with the start of her Miss Behave Column, Wendy hopes to bring more awareness in the areas of Appearance, Behaviour and Communication that will bring out your Best Personal Brand!


Is there any excuse that I can make to politely say NO to them?

Dear Miss Behave,

My girlfriends and I have this ritual biweekly hang-out thingy that we always do pre-pandemic, taking turns visiting one another at our homes. During RMCO, they still do as all of us stay not far from one another. However, as I have 2 elderly parents staying with me, I’m not comfortable having any visitors just yet; and neither do I want to do any house visiting. This has put a strain in our relationship, with them say I’m just over-reacting, fussing over nothing and insisting that they are all ‘clean and safe’. Is there any excuse that I can make to politely say NO to them? How do I tactfully tell them, ‘Visitors are not allowed”? This is getting into my skin, short of me saying, ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted!’

Sincerely, Kok Li Suen

Dear Li Suen,

Thank you for bringing this up. I’m sure many of us are facing the same predicament – how to let people know of our discomfort of having visitors over at our house; how to tell people without offending them.  So, before you hang the sign of the little black guy with a guy shooting trespassers, here are 3 ways you may want to try first.


1)    Say No and Give a Reason

A simple statement like, ‘You know I’d love to see all of you again, but I have 2 elderly parents at home. My dad just recovered from a lung infection, and my mom has been feeling under the weather lately. I really do not wish to put them at risk. I’m sure you’d understand.” And if they are your friends, they’d understand.


2)    Say No and Give a Suggestion

People do not like being said “No’ to. The rule is always – ‘Say Yes to the person, but No to the task’ In this case, the task would be to have a get-together. So, your response could be: “I’d love to see all of you again, and I’m sure my parents would love to have your company (Yes to the person), but they too are not ready to receive any guests at our house yet (No to the task). Perhaps we can do a virtual meetup first? (Suggestion).


3)    Just Say No

There is no need to find any excuses as you already have a valid reason not to put your loved ones, in your case, your parents, at any unnecessary risk. So, just smile and say firmly, “Thanks guys, you know I’d love to come over to see you all again. But just not yet. I’ll let you know when that is possible.”


How can I say to let them know I have no interest to get back together with them after how they treated me?

Covid-19 has had a bad impact on me. I was down with both health and financial problems. And just when I needed help the most, my family and friends turned a blind eye. Now a year into MCO, somehow, miraculously I managed to pull through. Now that I’m in a more stable situation, suddenly friends and family members, miraculously started to appear again. What and how can I say to let them know I have no interest to get back together with them after how they treated me?

From: Joshua Michaels


Dear Joshua,

It is certainly a trying time for most of us, if not all. Just as we thought we were on the road to recovery, we are hit by another wave which sent us all into MCO again. We see people financially and emotionally drained, struck with illnesses, losing their jobs, losing their family members, and a barrage of other problems which probably you and I would never have thought of.

I know you feel a sense of betrayal as friends and families were supposed to be there when you needed help the most. However, they too might have been in a situation where they were helpless, and they too were hoping that you would be there to provide some support, but you were not there. The image of others having a good time, while you were suffering might have existed only in your mind. Remember we are in the same storm, but we are all in a different boat.

And so, I’d advice for you to be the bigger person. If you are to see them again, take the initiative to ask about their welfare. You may never know what stories you could uncover. This might lead you to seek the answers that deep down you were looking for. Of course, this will also give you an opportunity to learn if anyone is genuinely interested in you. If they show lack of interest, then you should revaluate your ties with them.