Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

What's the politest way to decline an invitation?

Asked by nikipedia (27481points) February 23rd, 2010

Honesty seems so harsh sometimes.

Want to [see horrible movie / eat horrible food / do boring activity]?

The honest answer—nope, that’s totally unappealing—doesn’t come off very nicely.

Is it better to make up an excuse? That seems even worse.

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28 Answers

Sampson's avatar

No thanks, I have to wash my hair that night.

gailcalled's avatar

“Thanks but I have plans.”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No thanks,I have plans.
No,thanks,I am busy
No,thanks.Ask me again and I’ll kick your @$$...Sweetie-pie :)

nikipedia's avatar

Okay, I know this is more complicated, but let’s say the other person knows for sure you don’t actually have other plans.

kevbo's avatar

The sandwich method…

1. That sounds great.

2. I can’t/don’t want to/am busy.

3. Thank you for thinking of me.

4. I’m sure you’ll find someone else to go with.

I can’t remember if 2 and 3 are flip flopped.

erichw1504's avatar

“Sorry, I promised my leopard gecko a massage tonight.”

gailcalled's avatar

@nikipedia: You can have plans to meditate, spend time alone, don nothing, do laundry, talk to your mother, or simply daydream.

SeventhSense's avatar

Honesty is difficult but dishonesty is excruciating and drags it out a lot longer.

Trillian's avatar

Maybe a simple “no thanks” with no explanation? If someone were to pursue the issue, one could just say “I have plans.”

erichw1504's avatar

@gailcalled “don nothing” OoOoohh, baby!

Cruiser's avatar

“Oh Dangit!!! I wish you asked me last week but I already promised my (Brother, cousin, nephew) I would attend their grade school’s opening performance of Red Riding Hood that night!!”

They will feel sorry for you and offer to bring you left overs…

neverawake's avatar

i don’t really know. i usually just blow them off if i don’t feel up to it, even if it’s blunt or not.

dpworkin's avatar

“I’m sorry, I have a subsequent engagement.”

gggritso's avatar

Four words that have worked for women all over the world for centuries: “I have a headache.”

ChaoSS's avatar

Ask yourself, whats more polite?

Being lied to, or getting the truth?

DominicX's avatar

Honestly, I don’t usually decline invitations unless I really do have something else going on (and that include being tired or watching Lost or something). If the invitation sounds bad, then I’ll tell them the truth. I was invited to go see a movie I wasn’t interested in and I said “I’m not really interested in seeing that movie” and then we ended up deciding on another movie to see and it ended up being really good (that was District 9).

chyna's avatar

All I say is “I don’t really feel like going to the movies tonight.” Or variations of that by saying “I’m not really in the mood to go out tonight.” No other explanation is necessary.

Jeruba's avatar

To me, it depends on to whom. If it’s someone I feel at ease with, such as a family member or close friend, I’ll reflect interest in the category of activity (“I’d love to {see a movie | go out to eat | do something with you}...”) and propose an alternative (”...but how about {a different movie | another restaurant | a different event} instead?”). I might add an explanation: “That one doesn’t turn me on so much” or “I had Ethiopian three times last week” or “I’m not a big fan of miniature golf.”

Actually I’ll do about the same thing if it’s someone I don’t know too well but would like to know better.

Of course, if I simply don’t feel up to it, I’ll say so.

If I just don’t want to socialize with the person, I try to keep it breezy but cool: “Oh, thanks, I think I’ll pass on that one. Maybe some other time.”

I never make up phony excuses. I think that just insults the person and may also end up trapping you.

faye's avatar

I’ve used,” Thanks but I have something really personal I have to do”. What can they say? If it’s a good friend I talk more about doing something else or say I’m too blah, etc.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I agree with @Jeruba more or less. If I actually want to spend time with the person, just not do that particular activity, I’ll suggest a different activity.

If I don’t want to see them at all, then sometimes I’ll say ‘maybe, I’ll check my schedule’ or give another non-committal answer, “Who’s the director of that movie again?” “Yeah, I saw this other movie she did. Did you see that one?” and kind of avoid answering the question. Or I’ll just say I can’t that night, and change the subject.

derektherock42's avatar

“No thanks.”

jealoustome's avatar

I like to think of something that I know sounds equally terrible to the person who invited me and add it on to their idea, like this: Oh, yeah, that movie sounds great and I really wanted to go to the new exhibit at the Museum, “Famous Yarn Enthusiasts.” We could go on the way. Should I pick you up at three? The movie’s at seven, so that should give us plenty of time. And, afterwards, there’s this wonderful new vegan dessert cafe…

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m almost totally with @Jeruba on this one except that she is basically a better person than I am. :) Do the best you can to follow her advice, but, sometimes, really, your best out is to lie. O.K., maybe it’s wrong but I think that a lie that keeps you from hurting someone’s feelings is better than a truth that injures someone’s feelings. But social lies should be used judiciously, and only when necessary. Don’t get into the habit of getting out of things you don’t want to do by lying. You can always remember the truth, but when you lie, you have to file that lie away somewhere and cross-reference it with the truth and cross-reference it with the other lies you have told and that really, really can get difficult and complicated. So, even if you don’t find lying objectionable, the logistics of maintaining a lie can be difficult and not worth the effort.

Peinrikudo's avatar

“Thank you, but I would prefer not to.”

Simple, easy to understand, hard to argue with. :)

augustlan's avatar

I’m with Jeruba on this one.

ucme's avatar

“Shit! You know what? I have colonic irrigation that day.Call me.”

thriftymaid's avatar

Thank you for the invitation, but I must decline.

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