A soft refusal is not always taken, but a rude one is immediately believed.
Alexander Chase must have had children, at least, for the first part of the quotation. As far as the second part goes, rude can also mean firm. When one answers timidly and not at all assertively, then one is taken advantage of. But, when one answers confidently, the listener believes them.
If any of you have ever dealt with children, you know of what I speak. The child is doing something he shouldn't be doing, moreover he knows he shouldn't, and you try to intervene. You intervene several times and each time goes along the same lines. "Johnny, why don't you play with the ball outside?" "No, Marie, you shouldn't be hitting your sister." Shouldn't? Why don't you? What type of commands are these? If the child is repeatedly ignoring your instruction, you need to kick it up a notch. "Johnny, I've told you several times to play outside. If you do it again, you can't have that ball for the rest of the evening." The good overseer will follow through with that punishment, not just make empty threats.
In no way am I saying punishment is the only option. But, I think several people are scared of their children and won't discipline them for recurring wrong. A firm answer is needed. The word 'no' doesn't have to be used; use the right tone and express your wishes so the point gets across.
This quote can also be used in relationships between adults as well. I've been in numerous conversations when my friends try to get me to do something I don't want to do. An example would be when we went to Cedar Point this past summer. I don't care for rollercoasters, especially ones with corkscrews and loops. My friends asked repeatedly for me to go on a ride with them, and all my responses were weak. I got pulled onto the Millenium Force, which is the tallest one in the park, for my first roller coaster ride EVER!!! Needless to say, I was a little shaky after the ride. I enjoyed the ride, but then realized the importance of a firm, if not rude answer. I did NOT want to go on The Dragster!
Rude replies give the answer, but don't get the desired response. When asking someone if they wanted to go watch a movie, they replied in the negative- with a negative attitude. I thought, "Whoa, ok, I won't ask you again! Sorry for bothering you."
I definitely see several ways to take this quote. I know my post hasn't included all the possibilities, but that is on purpose. My hope is that my thoughts are not the only way to delve into this quote. This coming week I have purposed to be assertive in my answers. Maybe I'll see other ways this quote is carried out.