How To Decline An Unwanted Dinner Invitation

David Reinstein,LCSWStarred Page By David Reinstein,LCSW, 18th Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Social Trends

Not every invitation is welcome. Turning one down can be awkward. Here are some options for declining an invitation that is unwelcome and unwanted.

Turning Down A Invitation

Not every invitation is welcome. There are times for all of us when we need to come up with some reason - some excuse - to decline one.

There are always several options running a gamut from creative fabrication to cold, honest truthfulness. There are ALWAYS choices about how to do it.

Everyone is invited to things they don’t want to attend. Saying “No thanks” with grace and dignity is of the essence. Honesty is a bonus.

You always need to have an easily available repertoire of excuses when you find yourself, unexpectedly, invited to a meal with someone you would rather not go with.

From the best to the not-quite as good:

Medical Reasons

These reasons are unarguable. They are simply statements of fact to which there can be no reasonable retort. They are conversation (and invitation) enders.

- I just had my gallbladder removed and can’t eat anything fatty or even good tasting for the next several weeks, or
- I’m having some major dental work tomorrow and have lost my appetite just thinking about it.
- I am allergic to additives common in restaurants and can only eat at home these days.
- I have developed an unusual case of intermittent projectile vomiting (IPV) and wouldn’t want to embarrass you in public.
- I suffer from a Social Phobia which keeps me from being able to enjoy myself eating in front of others.
- Or, make up one of your own!

Other (Possibly) Plausible Reasons

These may sound somewhat unbelievable to the inviter – but are just plausible enough as to silence all but the most insistent, obnoxious people – Those who cannot/will not take “No” for an answer.

- I’m sorry, but I have already committed myself for another engagement.
- I have preferred eating alone since my mother died at the dinner table when I was a child.
- I am a vegan-rawist, so can eat only while grazing through a Farmer’s Market.
- I never eat with people I really like. Seeing food inside of another person’s mouth makes me ill and tends to spoil a relationship for me. I’d rather remain your friend that eat with you.

Honest And Not-So-Honest (but harder to say) Declines

- I belong to a religious group and am only permitted to eat with them.
- I, honestly, do not like you well enough to want to break bread with you.
- Feigning deafness. Simply keep saying, “What???” repeatedly until the person stops asking and goes away.
- I don’t plan to be hungry enough to eat again until sometime in early 2010.
- Then, of course, there is the ultimate basic decline: “No thank you.”

This last category is useful only if you don’t really care if the inviting person goes away from the conversation wondering if you are truly mentally ill. If you don’t care what they think, making excuses becomes far easier and more open ended.

The Shortest Answer Of All

You can make your own list, but the rule of thumb is something like this: Never accept an invitation you really don’t want to. It will never work out well and you will live (with a little luck) to regret having talked yourself into going. Hurting the other person’s feelings is, if necessary, ultimately less important than jeopardizing your own sense of personal well being and self control.

Tags

David Reinstein, David Reinstein Lcsw, Declining, Excuses, Invitation, Lying, Medical Reasons, Plausible Reasons, Telling The Truth

Meet the author

author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
Clinical Social Worker (Psychotherapist), humorist, poet and musician, Born in Boston and a relatively unscathed survivor of the 60's.
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David Reinstein, LCSW

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Comments

author avatar Steve Kinsman
18th Aug 2012 (#)

Thanks for the ammunition.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
18th Aug 2012 (#)

Hope you don't need it very often!

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
19th Aug 2012 (#)

David! I was laughing as soon as I began to read this page. You have some wonderful excuses, so if I ask you to dinner I will know what to expect!
As soon as I begin to hear an oncoming unwelcome invitation, I interrupt with an enthusiastic acceptance, and while I am actually talking, I cut the phone off and leave the receiver off before any arrangements are made. This is believable because the phone "breaks down" while I am asking for more information, i.e., time, place, etc..

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author avatar akram saqib
19th Aug 2012 (#)

Try to accept the invitation if you have no genuine reason to decline,it will help you to make friends with others.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
19th Aug 2012 (#)

But, what if the invitation comes from someone you have absolutely no interest in having a friendship with ?!?!

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author avatar Buzz
19th Aug 2012 (#)

Geez, how heaven-sent your invitation is! It's a golden opportunity for you to lend me some money to pay the rent...lol

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
19th Aug 2012 (#)

I need to add that one, Buzz!!!!!!!!!!! I know some people who have tried to make their living out of using it :-}

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author avatar stevetheblogger
19th Aug 2012 (#)

David great piece I am afraid I don not get invited to dinner that often so I normally say yes. My agenda is free if anyone wants to invite me.
Best Wishes
Steve

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Aug 2012 (#)

I do worry who else has been invited. I had a terrible time years ago when another guest had a long, private conversation with the host leaving me staring at the wall. So I make it a point to ask who else will be there and then accept or decline the invitation, politely of course - siva

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
20th Aug 2012 (#)

Good thinking, Siva!

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