They give you a lot of excuses for not doing it but never actually say they won't do it.

  • Asian 😂 ...j/k
    – JJrussel
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 6:31

8 Answers 8


Stalling could work here:

to delay, especially by evasion or deception.

I asked him to do it, but he keeps stalling.

To procrastinate means to put off, so it could work, too, in some circumstances.

There are many other synonyms, each with different nuances of meaning. Thesaurus.com presents many choices.


Dragging one's feet is another such phrase.


Hemming and hawing:

hem and haw hesitate; be indecisive : I waste a lot of time hemming and hawing before going into action.

ORIGIN late 15th cent.: imitative.

  • Interesting. Is this common in the UK? I've never heard it in the US (west coast)...
    – beatgammit
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 15:31
  • @tjameson: Not sure about the UK, but I'm familiar with it over on this coast. Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 11:24

Temporize would work. The OED defines it thus:

†2. intr. To let time pass, spend time, ‘mark time’; to procrastinate; to delay or wait for a more favourable moment.


Dawdling could be appropriate here, especially sense (2): to move lackadaisically

  • But that doesn't imply that someone isn't following through on a promise. I think of someone dawdling if they're wasting their own time
    – user10893
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 3:24

I would call the action of someone not doing something for me quickly, simply delay. But if, over time, lots of excuses are given for not doing it, but "Not going to happen" is never said, I would call that being strung along, or being taken for a fool, or messing with my head, depending on what motives I attribute the delay to. (The previously-mentioned stalling, temporizing, and foot-dragging are other terms I might use, but my primary choice is being strung along or stringing me along.)


I'd probably call it inaction.


Not to put too fine a point on it, pain in the arse.

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