Parties & Entertaining

How to say no to a party

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How to say no to a party without offending your host or hostess and your friends

On paper, parties sound like a great time, a chance to socialize with peers and get to know them sans shop talk. But in reality, parties always come in clusters and after a while they feel like work. Regardless of the occasion, learning how to say no to a party will help you stay home guilt-free without hurting anyone's feelings.

If only we could say, ďWell I would go, but I donít want toĒ without straining for a reasonable excuse. The situation calls for a little finesse. Just because you donít want to go to this party doesnít mean that you donít want to be invited next time.

Some people can pull off the simple, no-excuse decline by saying ďI wonít be able to attendĒ. Most of us feel guilty when weíre not up to a party so we over compensate or give wishy-washy ďIíll try to comeĒ or 'Maybe" RSVPs to thoughtful Save-the-Dates.

Letís look at a few common scenarios to find the best ways to avoid over committing.
Declining the Office Party

Itís no surprise that youíd rather skip the annual office party. Even people who love their job donít relish the thought of spending even more time with the people they work with five days a week. On the other hand, employees are expected to at least show their smiling faces for a little while, especially if clients will be in attendance.

Unless you have a real reason for not going, like your best friend is getting married on that day, itís a good a idea to trick yourself into going and having a good time. However, if you really donít want to go, fall back on the truth-ish. Keeping your reason vague is a good way to avoid lying. Everyone can empathize with a busy schedule so the boss is less likely to hold it against you

ďLast year was so much fun, but my calendar is already jam packed.Ē

How to say no to a party for a friend

Thereís at least one person in every circle of friends that loves to throw get togethers. For whatever reason you donít feel like going, but your buddy expects you to be there. Let her know you canít make it, and try making plans to hang out during the day, just the two of you.

Make the reason for your absence about you, not her party. Say youíre tired and need a break from going out if she prods for a concrete reason.

The Celebration 

Life celebrations are a fun reason to get together with friends or family. From graduations and a job promotion, to a baby on the way, raising a glass is a natural way to show your support and shared joy for a friendís good news. These are the occasions where you may feel super guilty about not attending, but itís also easy to get burned out on one-too-many good times.

Donít hesitate to let the host know you canít attend. Often they use the number of RSVPs to plan how much food and other supplies to buy. Be considerate! Thank the host for inviting you, but unfortunately you already made a commitment. Say ďMaybe next timeĒ and leave it at that. Being overly sorry will make them uncomfortable. 

If itís a close friend, be honest. If you dread small talk with strangers, say it. Youíre important enough to your friend to be invited. Give them the same respect by being honest Ė just donít make it too personal.

Once you tell someone you have plans for a specific night, make a note on your calendar lest you slip. Thereís no need to lie about going somewhere you didnít go. The number one rule of how to say no to a party is to keep your response clean and simple.

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