How to Turn Down Invitations Gracefully

All of us occasionally receive social invitations that we don't want to accept.

How do we handle turning down these invitations without hurting or insulting the person who invited us?

If you are turning down an invitation, first be very clear in your own mind whether you are turning down the particular event, the person who issued the invitation, or both.

Sometimes we would like to accept the invitation, but we have a previous commitment that conflicts with the timing of the event.

Sometimes we want to attend the event to which we have been invited, but we don't want to go with the particular person who asked us. Sometimes we want to go out with that person, but we don't want to attend that particular event.

If the only reason that you are turning down the invitation is because it conflicts with your schedule, make this very clear in your reply, and if it is feasible, suggest an alternative that works better for you.

You can say something like, "Greg, I would love to see that new movie with you, but unfortunately, I'm already scheduled to do something else on the 29th. Would another evening next week work for you?"

This reply makes it very clear to Greg that his invitation is appreciated and another date is being suggested instead. If Greg had simply received a "no" to his request, he would not know whether it was the time period that was being turned down, the activity, or himself.

If you really want to go out with Greg, and you are available that particular evening, but you want to turn down the invitation because you don't want to see the movie he has selected, you can say, "I'd really love to go to a movie with you next Saturday, however, I don't like war movies. I prefer comedies. Is there another movie you would like to see with me that night, or perhaps on a different evening?"

This reply makes it clear you don't like the particular movie selection, but everything else about the invitation is fine with you.

What if you don't really want to go out with Greg because, although you like war movies, and you are available on the 29th, you don't want to go out with him?

Most likely you don't want to hurt or insult him, but you also don't want to be pressured to go out with him.

If you don't want to accept, you can simply say, "Thanks for the invitation but I'm already seeing someone," or, "Thank you but I'm not interested in going out at the present time".

You do not need to explain yourself, or your reasons. If the other person starts to ask you badgering questions, or becomes abusive, be as polite as you wish, but leave immediately.

Sometimes we receive ambiguous invitations when we aren't really clear whether the invitation is meant as a romantic date, or if the other person is simply suggesting a shared activity with you as a friend.

In such a case, it's best to ask the other person outright.

Although it can be embarrassing to ask the other person to clarify his or her intentions, it will be even more embarrassing if you make an assumption about the evening that turns out to be wrong.

Sometimes we would accept the invitation if it meant that it was a romantic date, but we would turn it down if the other person only wanted to be "friends", and sometimes we are the one who only wants to be "friends" and we want to avoid a romantic entanglement.

In such a case we need to know exactly what is being offered before we decide whether to accept the invitation or to turn it down.

This article by Royane Real is taken from her new book "How You Can Have All the Friends You Want ? Your Complete Guide to Finding Friends, Making Friends, and Keeping Friends" Sign up for her free newsletter filled with Life Improving tips! http://www.royanereal.com

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