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Declining invitations
Old 12-08-2021, 07:33 AM   #1
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Declining invitations

Obviously this is not about FIRE.

DH and I are fortunate that we have a nice life together. Now that we are retired, DH does some volunteer work with different groups. We sometimes get invitations for social events that we really don't want to attend. I do not really like to dissimulate (!) but it is almost impossible to tell someone: we really just don't want to go.

Even being honest and saying something like "we just don't go out much" feels awkward.
I normally feel that 100% honesty is usually best no matter how difficult.
But we have no interest in hurting people's feelings!

Has anyone felt this way? How do you handle this?
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Old 12-08-2021, 07:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmom View Post
Obviously this is not about FIRE.

DH and I are fortunate that we have a nice life together. Now that we are retired, DH does some volunteer work with different groups. We sometimes get invitations for social events that we really don't want to attend. I do not really like to dissimulate (!) but it is almost impossible to tell someone: we really just don't want to go.

Even being honest and saying something like "we just don't go out much" feels awkward.
I normally feel that 100% honesty is usually best no matter how difficult.
But we have no interest in hurting people's feelings!

Has anyone felt this way? How do you handle this?
We are very cautious still with covid and generally will use that as a reason. It's honest and people around us understand completely. Just turned down an invitation to a neighbors 70th birthday party for this weekend, complete with a live music act. She had no problem with it at all.
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Old 12-08-2021, 07:48 AM   #3
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A pretty common question https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-pol...tation-1216776. It’s not hard to politely decline, but there’s no way to mask you’re still rejecting their invitation. Having other plans wears thin if you use it often. We find it’s easier to accept if it’s a host we care at all about, sometimes we enjoy the gathering more than we expect (it does happen) and if not, we make an appearance and leave early.
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Old 12-08-2021, 07:53 AM   #4
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We only accept invitations from a small handful of friends now. We simply say thank you but we have other plans for that time. Not a lie, we do, an evening with our honeys and a nice bottle of wine. One typically does not have to give an excuse, and this rarely upsets anyone.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:05 AM   #5
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“We have other plans” is a good one. Most important is that you are honest in that you will not attend. I used to tell people I would attend and then I’d either just not go or stress about going during the time leading up to the event. Neither are good. Thankfully, most of the time it is with someone I knew well enough that I could say something “funny” like - ‘You know I’m too anti-social for something like that’, and laugh it off. By the end of my career, most people knew that I didn’t go to after work events unless something really important was going on - like a funeral. The main thing is make it short and to the point.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:13 AM   #6
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Thanks all! We often do think of it as "we have other plans", even if those are just to watch a movie together. The problem with going is that it often reinforces the idea that you want to participate... not the signal we want to send.
I think that most people, being mostly social, really do not understand people like us. Perhaps it is because we don't have children that we are this way?
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:20 AM   #7
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"Sorry, we can't, hope you have a lovely party/event/thing"

That response offers no false reason, and more importantly, redirects the focus back on the event, vs. you.

Only someone who really wants to pry will force a "but why can't you?" - in which case then you can fall back on the other plans or whatever, with no guilt whatsoever from having to fib to someone who can't be gracious enough to take a simple No.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:38 AM   #8
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"Sorry, we can't, hope you have a lovely party/event/thing"

That response offers no false reason, and more importantly, redirects the focus back on the event, vs. you.

Only someone who really wants to pry will force a "but why can't you?" - in which case then you can fall back on the other plans or whatever, with no guilt whatsoever from having to fib to someone who can't be gracious enough to take a simple No.
That reminds me of something I learned from Miss Manners many years ago. Never be forced to give a reason if you don't want to. As you said, after once or twice, any decent person will stop prying. Just smile (Miss Manners would of course said that) and repeat "Thanks for the invitation, but we can't".
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:42 AM   #9
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With the exception of the DD we just don't participate if we don't feel like it... I "usually" try to decline as gracefully as possible, (we're busy, we have an appointment, we aren't feeling well, covid concerns , etc...) If they don't accept that, it's just too %^$*&@# bad.
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:56 AM   #10
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We always just say “Sorry we can’t make it - have a good time” and that usually ends it.
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:02 AM   #11
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We always just say “Sorry we can’t make it - have a good time” and that usually ends it.
This. No is a complete sentence and there is no reason to offer an explanation. If someone pries you can simply say we have other plans - even if the plan is to stay home.

Don't be surprised if the invitations dwindle down over time though - so don't hold it against them if they don't invite you to next year's event.
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:26 AM   #12
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"Sorry, we can't, hope you have a lovely party/event/thing"

That response offers no false reason, and more importantly, redirects the focus back on the event, vs. you.

Only someone who really wants to pry will force a "but why can't you?" - in which case then you can fall back on the other plans or whatever, with no guilt whatsoever from having to fib to someone who can't be gracious enough to take a simple No.
I like this. I don't like people who give false excuses. False excuses confuse me, because sometimes what they say makes no sense. I have one friend who almost never attends any get-togethers and her response usually is "I'm a homebody. I don't like going out." or "I'm antisocial." We're OK with that. Having said that, if the reason you don't want to go is that you don't like the person, then, I guess you could say, "I'm not into that..." or something like that. Not exactly lying, but not exactly telling the truth.
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:28 AM   #13
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This. No is a complete sentence and there is no reason to offer an explanation. If someone pries you can simply say we have other plans - even if the plan is to stay home.

Don't be surprised if the invitations dwindle down over time though - so don't hold it against them if they don't invite you to next year's event.
>>>>Don't be surprised if the invitations dwindle down over time though
I feel there is probably no way to avoid that people will eventually "take it personally". I don't mind not getting subsequent invitations, but still would prefer not to hurt their feelings.
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:35 AM   #14
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It’s hard for a lot of people to say no, but having the ability to do that usually gives you more of what you want. I used to say when I had my business that “no” gets you to the next level.
The earlier in the process you can say no to something, the better. My wife hesitates and that makes it harder. As soon as the invite or verbal offer comes decide if you want to do it or quickly respond with a polite, “oh, sorry, thank you, but we have plans.” You’ll feel better.
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:47 AM   #15
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Sometimes you have to be blunt. I had a former employee who pestered me to go out to lunch. I got by with being busy a couple of times. Then he escalated to “let’s plan a time that works,” forcing my hand. I can’t remember precisely how I ducked it - probably just told him I don’t like to do lunches.
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:54 AM   #16
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As someone who has spent most of his life avoiding social events, except very small gatherings with the tiny number of people I feel very comfortable with, I am thrilled to see so many like-minded people here. Gosh, you almost feel like family

I enjoy unplanned social encounters, such as chats with neighbors and acquaintances who I run into. Scheduled events with anyone outside my (very small) inner circle though, are another matter. Like Jerry1, I spend the time leading up to the event stressing out over the whole thing, which takes all the enjoyment away. There's nothing for me to add that hasn't already been said in this thread. The key, I think, is to be completely honest, and comfortable, with yourself about your social inclinations (or lack of them). That way, you will be happy, kind, and decisive, when you convey your wishes to others.

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I don't like people who give false excuses. False excuses confuse me, because sometimes what they say makes no sense. I have one friend who almost never attends any get-togethers and her response usually is "I'm a homebody. I don't like going out." or "I'm antisocial." We're OK with that.
I spent years giving false, or ambiguous, excuses. All it did was create misunderstanding for others, and stress for me. I am still apologetic when declining invitations, but am moving towards my ideal response, which is to completely own my idiosyncratic personality with a reply that indicates, unequivocally, that I am very comfortable with my own personal brand of happy quirkiness.

"Thank you so much, but I have to put some air in my bicycle tires and hang out with my cat "
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:58 AM   #17
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Sometimes you have to be blunt. I had a former employee who pestered me to go out to lunch. I got by with being busy a couple of times. Then he escalated to “let’s plan a time that works,” forcing my hand. I can’t remember precisely how I ducked it - probably just told him I don’t like to do lunches.
See, that's why lies confuse me. If someone said "I'm too busy," I take it at face value, so I will probably ask you again another day. I will probably realize that you're lying after a few more invites, but I will not have the same respect for you as I would for someone who would have just told me "I don't do lunches" from the beginning because you lied to me (disrespected me) and wasted my time.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:00 AM   #18
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"Thank you so much, but I have to put some air in my bicycle tires and hang out with my cat "
I like your line! Your statement conveys the right message IMHO.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:12 AM   #19
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We always just say “Sorry we can’t make it - have a good time” and that usually ends it.
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Don't be surprised if the invitations dwindle down over time though - so don't hold it against them if they don't invite you to next year's event.
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I feel there is probably no way to avoid that people will eventually "take it personally". I don't mind not getting subsequent invitations, but still would prefer not to hurt their feelings.
IMHO, there is no way to "firmly but politely" decline invitations to social events, repeatedly, and not hurt people's feelings. But you have to realize that you can't control how people will react and what they will think about you, and you shouldn't be bothered by that. You should be as honest as possible while still being pleasant and polite, and let the chips fall where they may.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:55 AM   #20
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Don't make an excuse if you have no intention of accepting an invite in the future. As others have said, that just creates confusion and you'll continue to get other invitations until they figure out that you were lying all along. Then it ends with hard feelings.

If the truth is that you really prefer not going out then tell them that. If it's not a lie then you won't get "caught" at another outing right after you told them that you don't like going out.
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