How many times when you were younger did you use the excuse 'Oh I can't go with you tonight because my mom wants me home at __o'clock' to get out of something you didn't want to do???? This is by far my favorite piece of advice from Maria Theresa!
"Answer everyone pleasantly, with grace and dignity: you can if you want to.
You must also learn how to say no. In my states and in the Empire, you cannot refuse to accept pleas, but you will give them all to Stahremberg and will tell everyone to speak to him...; tell everyone that you will send their requests to Vienna, since there is nothing more you can do.
From Strasbourg on, you will accept nothing without first consulting M. or Mme de Noailles, and you will send them all those who talk about their business to you, telling them pleasantly that since you are a foreigner yourself, you cannot undertake to recommend anyone to the King. If you wish, you can add, to make your point more strongly, 'the Empress, my mother, has forbidden me to take on any recommendation.'"
MARIA THERESA, 21 APRIL 1770