how to decline an invitation
Walk straight past your favourite hang-out spots and straight home. Source: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

If you stayed home with the rest of the world this past weekend, chances are you know how to decline an invitation. 

But the more social students out there may be conflicted. Some may even feel pressured to stick to plans made before COVID-19 struck.

Just how far does this social distancing go, anyway?!

For all those who want to stay in quarantine but are unsure how to decline an invitation, fret not. Here are three steps to turn down invitations to events and gatherings politely – and still keep your friends.

Decline gracefully

You may have to miss a friend’s birthday, a BFF’s farewell party as they pack up to leave campus to go home, or a wedding even, and those are bridges you do not want to burn. Therefore, how you say no matters. 

Write a sincere message thanking them for the invite, and wishing them well during these trying times. Send them your best wishes for whatever they’re off to doing. If you already got a gift, send it to them. 

When cancelling plans you had agreed to before, make clear what influenced your decision.

Times of health crisis sometimes call for drastic social measures. Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Let them know why 

Not everyone may understand your social distance boundaries, so explain them in a polite but firm way. 

Express why you’re concerned: Large gatherings increase the risk of COVID-19 spread, which is dangerous not just to the sick, but elderly and vulnerable around you. 

You may also be observing domestic lockdown or movement control orders. Depending on how close you are, you could encourage them to do the same. 

Now, how to decline an invitation to smaller gatherings? For one, you could suggest postponing plans to a more suitable time. You could also get creative and come up with a way to catch up without physically meeting.

Offer quarantine-friendly alternatives

Thankfully, we remain connected by our phones. Instead of dinner, drinks, or the cinema, you could catch up with your friends over a video call, simultaneously watch a movie on Netflix Party or play the latest Call of Duty multiplayer-style.

On social media, people have also been hosting live sessions to showcase talents or simply pass the time interacting with followers. You can host a live cooking session, perform a song, or do your make-up with your friends even while isolated. Find new ways to have fun.

how to decline an invitation

“Sorry I can’t make it to your birthday party, I’m learning how to decline an invitation politely.” Source: Presley Ann/Getty Images North America/AFP

With all that said, remember to remain calm and understanding about the decisions of others while staying firm in yours. This quarantine period may test bonds of family and friendship as everyone learns to adjust to social expectations in this new reality.

After all, there are several perks to staying in that we can totally take advantage of. Staying at home can be a major financial win. Plus, you get to read books, watch movies, make art and play with your pets in all that spare time.

If you’ve tried all of the above and still need to meet new people, get on Chatroulette or Omegle. We hear online chatrooms are making a comeback. 

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