How to decline a date

Despite what we see in movies, getting asked out on a date isn’t always a magical, flattering experience. In fact, chances are good that you aren’t actually interested in the person and have no interest in seeing them socially or romantically. Having said that, turning someone down is never easy either—especially if you’re caught off-guard.

When that happens, it can cause you to be awkward, say something stupid, or even hurt someone unintentionally. These tips won’t help much after the fact, but it’s good advice to keep in mind so you’re prepared to handle things flawlessly next time.

H ere are a few tips for letting people down easily when you’re not feeling a love connection.

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Be honest, swift, and direct

It’s awkward turning someone down—especially if they make some wildly romantic gesture —but honesty is the best policy when you want to keep people from getting too hurt. First, you need to be honest with yourself. Everybody deserves a chance, but sometimes you just know it’s not going to work, so i f you don’t feel any kind of connection, it’s best not to drag things on because you want to be nice. Don’t agree to a date out of pity—i t can be a waste of both your time, and the other person could get more hurt in the process.

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Don’t make up lies, but be graciously honest. If you already have a boyfriend or girlfriend, let the person know. If you don’t have a sweetheart, but you are still not interested, tell him or her the truth. It’s okay to simply say, “No, thank you.” If it’s true, you can tell him or her that you are just not interested in dating anyone right now.

You don’t owe them an explanation, but if you actually have a good reason there’s no harm in mentioning it. When it comes to turning someone down, being active is always better than being passive. Address it as soon as you have the chance; d on’t stall, avoid confrontation, or just assume that they will eventually “take the hint.” Give a definitive “ no” so both of you can move on with your lives.

Treat them how you’d want to be treated

A direct “no” can sound pretty harsh if it isn’t handled tactfully, so always try to apply the golden rule to these situations. There’s no reason to be offended or act like you’re disgusted (unless they’re intentionally being offensive or disgusting). It’s flattering to get asked out, so be polite and try to at least show some appreciation for the thought . Remember, it takes a lot of courage to approach someone, especially in person.

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Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony, suggests you show them the same respect you would want if the tables were turned. Always keep your tone in mind, stay calm and be gentle, while you also make sure you still sound assured.

Lastly, keep the situation to yourself. If you’re in a group situation or share the same friends, don’t tell everyone what happened. If you’ve turned someone down, they already feel rejected and don’t need to add embarrassment to the list.

Use “I” statements to keep it about you

If you choose to explain to someone why you’re not interested in them, try and keep the reasoning about you, not the other person. Listing reasons of why they don’t “measure up” can come off as rude, condescending, and also damage their confidence to approach people in the future. Susan RoAne, communication expert and author of What Do I Say Next?, recommends you use “I” statements instead. Here are some examples:

  • I don’t see you that way, I’m sorry.
  • I’ve really enjoyed talking with you, but I don’t feel a connection between us.
  • I’m trying to do my own thing right now so I’m not looking to date anyone.
  • I think you’re great, but I’m looking for something else right now.

You’re not bringing them down or putting yourself above them, you’re just explaining your perspective. Think of it as a pre-emptive “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. Only this way, nobody is getting nearly as hurt.

Make things clear and final

When you turn someone down, do it nicely, but make sure they know it’s final. Don’t keep people on the hook. You might think you’re being nice by saying “let’s be friends” or “why don’t we get to know each other first,” but it’s only going to blow up in your face down the line if you don’t mean it.

On her blog, author Marcella Purnama explains that there’s no need to be overly sympathetic or friendly after the fact:

After being rejected, the door is sometimes not yet fully closed and prone to be opened by the slightest friendly action.. . Don’t let him think that there’s still hope when there’s not.

There’s no need to call, text, or even be Facebook friends if that’s not something you want. As dating expert Christie Hartman, Ph.D. explains , only say “let’s be friends” if you actually want that and have a very strong reason to believe it will work. Otherwise, this can be confusing to them; they might think your initial “no” just means “not right now.” If you’re not into them, be respectful and let them know it’s never going to happen.

Ask an Expert: All About Online Dating Etiquette

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How to decline a date

Have you been dating someone who you’re not just that into? Perhaps you think they’re really great, but you’re not physically attracted to them? If so, you may be wondering how to turn them down without hurting their feelings. Rejecting someone is never easy, but you can soften the blow in a number of ways. Read on to discover how to politely decline a date when you’re just not feeling a connection.

How to decline a date

Rejection is tough to take but dishing it out isn’t a walk in the park either. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can reduce the awkwardness and hurt that can arise from turning someone down. Whether you’ve been on a few dates with them and you’ve realised they’re not right for you, or you’ve been asked out by someone unexpectedly, these tips should help you to handle the rejection as gracefully as possible. Here’s our how to say no to a date politely and spare their feelings as much as you can.

Be honest and direct

Turning someone down can be awkward, particularly if they’ve made a big romantic gesture towards you. However, it’s important to be honest and direct if you want to keep them from getting hurt. As well as being honest with the person who likes you, you also need to be honest with yourself. If you know that it will never work with someone, don’t agree to go out with them just because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. This will only drag things out and delay the inevitable. Agreeing to date them out of pity may only lead to them becoming more hurt and upset in the long-run. Whilst you don’t need to explain why you’re turning them down, being open with them may help. For example, if you already have a boyfriend or girlfriend, or you’re just not looking to date anyone right now, tell them so.

Be kind and respectful

It will no doubt have taken a lot of courage for someone to ask you out, so try to be as nice as possible when you turn them down. Rather than acting disgusted or responding harshly, show them that you appreciate their gesture. You should treat them as you would want to be treated in the same situation. Use a soft, gentle tone and stay calm. If you have mutual friends, don’t be tempted to gossip about what happened. They already feel rejected, so don’t lead them to feel embarrassed or ashamed too. Keep the situation between the two of you and move on.

Ghosting is a no-no

Ghosting is a recent term that involves a person cutting all ties and communication with someone they’ve been seeing. The theory is that the person who’s being ignored will simply “get the hint” and realise that their love interest is not interested in dating them. Ghosting is becoming more and more common, but this doesn’t make it right. It leaves the ghostee feeling very hurt and confused, and in some cases may even have a serious impact on mental health. If you want to know how to turn down a second date or let someone know that you’re not into them, don’t simply hide from them. Be courageous enough to tell them directly that you’re not interested in dating them.

How to politely decline a date via text

If you’re wondering how to say no to a guy nicely but you want to reduce the awkwardness as much as possible, don’t be afraid to turn to modern technology. Sending them a text message is a swift and easy way to let them know that you’re not interested in going out with them. Texting allows you to think carefully about what you’ll say, reducing the likelihood of you blurting out the first thing that comes to mind and hurting them unintentionally. Keep the message short and to the point whilst remaining polite and gracious. Turning someone down via text is also a good idea if you suspect that the person who likes you may not take your rejection very well. If you’re worried that they may become angry or not accept you turning them down, it’s best to keep a distance between the two of you.

Although it can be flattering to be asked out on a date, there may be occasions when you don’t want to accept the request. This is perfectly acceptable, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing so. However, it’s also important to handle your rejection politely and gracefully if you want to limit the amount of hurt and upset the other person experiences. Hopefully, these tips will give you an insight into how to reject a guy nicely.

How to say no to a date? This post discusses polite ways to refuse and turn down a guy or girl’s proposal while avoiding overused excuses that include ‘you are not my type’ and ‘let’s just be friends’.

Rejecting a proposal for a romantic relationship is all about using situation, circumstances and white lies to say no without ignoring and hurting someone’s feelings. Avoid sounding bad, rude or uptight by being nice, firm and direct at the same time.

How to decline a date

Turn down your date by pretending that you have a crush on someone else.

1) Say that you have a crush on someone else

An easy way to politely refuse a guy or a girl’s proposal is to say that you have a crush on someone else. That way you will not hurt anyone’s feelings and you will have thwarted off an unwanted advance without sounding rude.

The best part about this is that you won’t have to take any names. You can simply say that you don’t want to reveal your crush to anyone because it is a secret.

2) Use studies or work as an excuse to politely say no to a proposal

You can easily use studies, projects and work as an excuse to say no to a proposal. When someone tells you that you have a crush on you, just say that you are too busy to be involved in a romantic relationship. Below are some examples.

  • I have reached a crucial point and I am preparing to get into the college I’ve always wanted to go to. I don’t see myself dating anyone in the near future.
  • My job is my life and I hardly get time to meet my own friends. I don’t want to let someone down by giving them false hopes.
  • Don’t be curt and explain to him or her how you are completely focused on carving out your career at the moment.

3) Say that you can’t go out because your friend had a crush on him or her

You can use morality to your advantage by turning down a date because you can’t go out with your friend’s crush. Tell the guy or girl that you would be betraying your friendship if you went out. Below are a few examples.

  • One of my friends had a crush on you. I can never go out with you because it would break her heart.
  • It would be wrong if I dated you because my friend had a crush on you.
  • My friend was crushing over you and if we go out it will become way too awkward.
  • I can never do this to my friend. He had a crush on you. Sorry but this will never work out.

You may be faced with a question like ‘Who is it?’ or ‘Who is that friend of yours?’ Just be cool and say that you can’t reveal it and you would rather keep it a secret from him or her.

4) Say that you have just come out of a relationship and you don’t want to date anyone

Politely turn down a date by saying that you have just come out a relationship. Say that your heart is still hurting from your breakup, you are still not over your ex, and that you don’t feel like seeing anyone.

Don’t give false hopes by saying that you will get back to him or her. Just be direct and say that there is no chance of you getting back in the dating scene.

How to decline a date

Write a cute handwritten note to add a touch of warmth to your refusal.

5) Give the guy or girl a cute handwritten note

If you don’t feel like confronting the girl or guy who asked you out on a date, wrap up the matter by giving a cute handwritten note. Don’t turn the note into a letter by writing more than one or two lines. Here are a few examples of cute one-liners you can write on the note.

Here’s the situation: You match with someone on a dating app. You start up a conversation, but you decide that, unfortunately, you just aren’t feeling it. Then that match asks you on a date. Don’t feel bad if you’ve ever been asked out by a match and aren’t interested. It happens, and it’s awkward, but ghosting that match isn’t the only way to handle it (and it’s definitely not the nicest). It’s hard to know how to turn down a date on a dating app, but it can be done, and it can even be done without hurting anyone’s feelings. Amazing, right?

As painful as rejection can be, it’s important to prioritize your own needs over another person’s desires if something doesn’t feel right. You don’t owe anyone a date, no matter how long you may have been talking. But that match has still put themselves out there, and it’s always nice to be mindful of their feelings. There is a way to say “thank you, but no thank you” without permanently bruising any egos, and no, it doesn’t involve blocking that person and never looking back. Here are some things to keep in mind when declining a date on a dating app.

Even if you’re not into it, being asked out is still flattering. That match is saying, “Hey, I think you’re cool/attractive/smart/funny and would like to get to know you better.” (Or maybe they just want to hook up, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.) It takes some guts to ask someone on a date, and you can acknowledge this by thanking them for both the flattery and the risk they’ve taken in asking.

As Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, told Elite Daily, “Rejection is tough and it can impact your self-esteem and confidence. You don’t want to do that. We all know rejection is part of the game, but self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t take a hard hit when you turn someone down.” A simple “thank you” indicates to your date that you appreciate the offer, and your graciousness will hopefully help soften the blow a bit.

Just as you don’t owe anyone a date, you don’t need to give your match a five-paragraph essay on why you don’t want to date them. You might be tempted to offer an explanation, but brevity is key when it comes to a rejection. A brief message doesn’t have to be brusque or rude, either. In fact, providing a lengthy explanation for turning the date down might give your match the wrong idea (as well as more room for misinterpretation).

Dating coach Erika Ettin believes that you shouldn’t have to provide a reason for turning down a date. “If someone is not mature enough to handle this, that is on the other person,” she said. “You can only control what you put out there, not how people react to it.” Therefore, the less you put out there, the better, because it’s possible that offering an explanation will just tempt that person to try to change your mind.

You’re not doing your match any favors by being wishy-washy. Save them the mind games and the stress by getting right to the point. Even though it may feel mean to be so direct, you might hurt someone worst in the long run with ambiguity and false hope. If you’re not interested, say so. If they’re not going to change your mind, make sure they know that.

“We hate hurting people’s feelings, so a lot of times we try to avoid or be vague,” Trombetti explained. “It’s just not the way to go.” Evading the truth just delays the enviable, and it’s kinder to turn someone down right away than to allow them to believe they still have a chance. If you don’t have any doubt about your disinterest, then tell them that. They’ll understand that more than they’ll understand why you led them on for several weeks.

Ah, the good ol’ Golden Rule. As simple as it seems, think about how you would like to be rejected yourself before rejecting someone else. Empathy is essential when it comes to sparing feelings. While you should put yourself first in this situation, it’s important to be tactful and respectful of the person you’re turning down.

“While someone might be disappointed that you don’t want to go out again, he or she can’t really be angry at you for feeling, or not feeling, how you do,” Ettin pointed out. Your match will find it difficult to be angry with you if you treat them with kindness rather than indifference. Including well wishes, such as, “Best of luck, and I hope you find someone amazing,” will also make it easier for your match to deal with your rejection.

As Ettin said, “The two keys are tact and honesty when letting someone down.” When turning someone down on a dating app, you should try your best to be as direct and concise as possible while still being respectful. Being rejected is never fun, but it’s preferable to going on a date with someone who simply isn’t interested.

I’ve gotten very good at saying no to second dates, largely because I go on so many first dates. There are times when we both acknowledge there’s no spark and go our separate ways; there are times when they reject me; and statistically, there are a fair number of people who want to take a second run at it even though we have literally zero chemistry.

Having been ghosted or strung along by people I genuinely liked, I’ve made it a personal policy to never leave someone hanging. If somebody likes me enough to ask me out again, I will try to always respond so they’re not left wondering what happened. This is how I do it.

Make the “no” very clear

There’s a tendency in our passive, text-based communication dating world to just hope someone takes the hint. People will wait a long time to respond, they’ll say, “Sorry, I‘ve been busy!” without offering a window of free time, or they’ll claim they’d like to hang out again, but never follow up. Do not do this.

Perhaps your admirer should just understand that you’re not into them and have no intention of ever seeing them again, but it’s not fair to keep that little glimmer of hope alive. Let’s be honest: Often, part of the reason folks won’t say no directly is because they want to keep the door open a sliver, just in case. That sucks. Cut the line and let them go. If you really want them that badly in future, it’s on you to reach out, not for them to keep checking in every few months.

Say what you liked about them

Texting does make considering your words a lot easier. If someone asks you out on a second date in person, and you’re not sure what to say, tell them you will text them later. Then, text them later, and soon, as outlined in my previous point.

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I try to always say something I thought was cool and nice about them; for the most part, even if I don’t like somebody, they’re still a multifaceted human being. They talked about something interesting, they bought me a coffee, they met me in my neighborhood. Saying, “You were really interesting and I loved talking to you about beekeeping,” or “Thanks for taking the time to meet with me,” before your “No” is a little sugar to help the medicine go down.

Say why you’re not into it

This is the tricky part; there’s a huge range of reasons for why we’re not attracted to a person. They can go from the arbitrary to the offensive. In my experience, it works best to point to something fairly neutral, but true. It gives them a reason for why that doesn’t feel deeply personal, yet makes sense as a deal breaker.

The things you can list are generally very basic—for example, telling someone you don’t think you have enough common interests to sustain long-term dating. What can they say to that? You have your interests, they have theirs. Another specific example: I once told someone I didn’t think we’d be sexually compatible because he spent much of our date explaining he was into sadism. Sorry! Best of luck, though!

Folks want closure more than a dissertation, so keep it simple with, “You’re [ ] and [ ] and it was great to meet you, but I don’t feel the romantic chemistry I need for dating. Thanks for meeting with me.”

Stick with the classics

If you don’t feel like you can get that personal, don’t avoid the clichés. Saying you’re not looking for the same things is popular for a reason; it’s a staple of the gentle letdown. People just don’t use it as much now, because they’d rather let their first dates dangle in romance purgatory.

Though I much prefer to be honest, I think it’s also okay to use old favorites like “I need to take a break from dating,” or “I’m actually not ready for dating,” even if you’re just not interested in dating them. If they contact you in the future and get rejected again, it’s what they should expect—you told them you didn’t want to date.

When it comes to safety, say anything you want

All of these tips are contingent on your date being a reasonable human being. If they’re not, or you feel unsafe in their company (especially in person) say whatever you have to. Safety is paramount. But if you just don’t like someone, don’t leave them hanging.

You can be considerate and respectful – and still say no to a colleague. Sometimes, the most respectful thing for you, for your company and even for the colleague who is asking you to take on more is to say, “No.” Here are some tips for how to decline a request graciously:

Think before you respond.

If possible, don’t give your answer immediately. You can weigh your options and limitations and get back to the person later. And then be sure to do so.

Say: “To be honest, I’m not sure if I can help you this time because of my workload. I’m afraid I might not be able to give it my full attention. But let me look at my schedule and get back to you on that tomorrow morning.”

Accentuate the positive.

Appreciate the opportunity and still say no.

Say: “I’m glad that we work closely enough that you feel you could ask me this. I’m sorry I can’t help you this time—I have a couple other deadlines I have to meet.”

Give a reason when possible—not a fabrication.

You want your colleague to feel positive as he or she walks away, so the reason needs to be real. Lies will always come back to bite you.

Be straightforward about the future.

If you don’t want to leave the door open for a next ask, be clear.

State your reason and then stop talking.

Say: “I appreciate your request but I have other priorities and can’t take on the extra work.”

Listen to their response.

Sometimes when you say no, your colleague will understand; other times, he or she might be angry or annoyed. You will build the relationship by listening to their angst—and acknowledging it.

Say: “I understand you’re in a bind, and you know I’d help if I could.”

Stand your ground.

Don’t give in to flattery or bullying. You need to remember that the problem is his or hers—not yours.

Polite, but straightforward.

I am a huge people-pleaser. It’s taken some time for me to accept it and say it out loud but it’s true. There is truly nothing I hate more in life than having to do something that might hurt someone or make them upset. Even just the vague concept of hurting someone else bothers me so much that I would go to pretty much any length to avoid doing so. Needless to say, this little issue of mine made dating very difficult. In particular, figuring out how to reject someone nicely has been my Mount Everest. I mean, isn’t the concept of rejecting someone who was genuinely interested in you inherently going to be hurtful? That’s how I felt when I was single. I felt that there was no real nice way to reject someone, so I’d go to great lengths to come up with elaborate lies and ego-boosting explanations all to hopefully ease the blow. But it turns out there’s another way.

Unfortunately, when I was single, I never really had anyone to teach me how to let someone down kindly. Luckily, if you’re a single person struggling with this, I’ve got some very helpful tips to share. In a recent Reddit AskWomen thread, ladies shared their go-to methods for rejecting people politely — and they’re incredible.

“Thanks, I’m flattered but not interested/available.”

Just tell them you’re not interested. You don’t have to get into it any more than that. It’s not harsh, it’s just direct. Rejection sucks no matter how much you sugar coated so you may as well be clear.

don’t quote personal traits as reasons for rejection. it is seen as a personal attack. you can suggest that you are incompatible instead

I think this line works, saves face for everyone, is super clear, and gets the message across

“I’m sorry, I just didn’t feel a connection.”

You just say something like, “Sorry, I’m not interested.” or “No.” If you want to be extra gentle about it, you can say something like, “I’m flattered, but not interested.”, “No, thank you.”, or “Thank you for asking, but I’m not interested.” If they push for anything beyond that, they are the ones being rude.

It is best to be as honest and blunt as possible. I find that sugarcoating it too much (ex “I’m just not into a relationship right now”) won’t give the guy the right message and he is more likely to sit around and wait for you to be ready. Clear communication is best. You also don’t need to give a reason, though. Just say “not interested”. If he pushes for a reason, repeat the statement and cut off communication.

No matter what you tell, he’s going to feel upset. All you can do is reduce the impact it has on him by emphasising why you decided to leave him, and if it’s his fault, tell him about it so he can better himself and move on.

The more you sugar coat it, the longer it will hurt him. Get straight with your intention to speak with him and leave him with a positive note. That’s all you can do. What he does next is up to him and him only.

You don’t need to explain yourself. You don’t need to defend yourself.

If he presses about reasons, tell him you’re not feeling it, and that that won’t change.

If he presses more after that, he’s a rude jerk, and you can stop being nice to him.

Maybe just reject them the way you’d prefer to be rejected when you’re doing the asking, Golden Rule-style.

You’re really great, but I don’t feel we have chemistry.

Now go forth and reject your suitors swiftly and kindly!

This post was originally published on Sept. 18, 2018. It was updated on Aug. 15, 2019 by Candice Jalili.

How to decline a date

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How to decline a date

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Have you ever received an invitation that you couldn’t accept? Chances are, you have more than once. You’ve probably even sent invitations to people who had to turn you down.

Do you struggle with how to decline an invitation without hurting someone’s feelings or causing conflict? Does it bother you to turn someone down? There are ways you can decline any invitation if you do it with sincerity and etiquette and show respect for the person who sent it to you.

Remember that this is an invitation, not an order to be there. Of course, the person wants you to go, or they wouldn’t have asked. However, if you have other plans, or something else prevents you from attending, there is nothing wrong with declining.

Even though you may think you’re letting someone down when you say no, that’s probably not the case. Unless you’re involved with the planning, or you’ve already committed to going, you won’t be letting anyone down.

It’s fine to decline an invitation if you are unable to attend. The key is to let the person know whether or not you can accept the invitation as soon as possible and in a polite manner. The person who sent you the invitation will appreciate a quick response.

How to Graciously Decline an Invitation

Here are some tips on how to turn down an invitation in the most polite way:

  1. Don’t ignore the invitation. Putting the invitation aside to deal with later isn’t good for you or the person who sent it. The host needs to know whether or not you’ll be there. Ignoring the invitation shows that you don’t know proper manners, and you might be left off the guest list for the next party.
  2. Don’t wait. As soon as you know you’ll be unable to go, let the person know. Most events require planning and budgeting.
  3. Be thankful. Always sincerely thank the person for inviting you and let them know that you’re honored that they think highly enough of you to send the invitation.
  4. Be honest. You don’t ever have to come up with false excuses for why you’re unable to go to the event, but you also don’t have to go into detail. Let them know that you already have plans. That should be enough.
  5. Ask for a different time. If the invitation is exclusive to you, let the person know you’re unable to make it at the time requested, but you’d love to get together at another time. This is obviously not an option if it’s a group get-together.
  6. Don’t over-explain. If you can’t make it, keep your explanation short and to the point. Doing otherwise will make it sound like you’re just trying to come up with excuses.
  7. Send something. If you would typically bring a gracious gift to whatever event you were invited to, such as a birthday party or baby shower, go ahead and send something with a card attached. Mention something about wishing you could be there and add that you look forward to seeing them soon.

How to decline a date

Proper Tone and Wording for Declining an Invitation

Sometimes you can state your response in person, on the phone, or simply a check mark on an RSVP card. However, there may be times when you need to write a note. The tone of your letter should reflect your relationship with the person who invited you. If it is a close personal friend, it will be much less formal than one for a business acquaintance.

Below are some examples of how you can decline in writing.

Example #1

Thank you so much for inviting me to your birthday party. Unfortunately, I already have plans for that night, so I won’t be able to attend. I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating this special occasion.

Example #2

Congratulations on your new position! I wish I could attend your promotion party, but I’ll be out of town that weekend. Maybe we can get together for drinks soon, and you can tell me all about your new job. I wish you the very best.

Example #3

Thank you for the invitation to your daughter’s graduation party. I know how proud you are. If I could make it, I definitely would, but I’ve already booked my flight out of town to visit my parents. Please congratulate her for me and let her know I’ll be there in spirit.

Example #4

I received your invitation to your company’s luncheon. I regret to inform you that I won’t be able to attend due to another business commitment. Thank you for thinking of me.

When You Must Decline an Invitation

As much as you’d like to go to everything you’re invited to, there are times when you simply can’t. Perhaps you already have plans for that particular time, or you have to work. Or maybe you’re exhausted and need to pull it in for a while. Overextending yourself can cause you to get your wires crossed, making you appear flaky and unreliable.

You might be tempted to not respond because you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, or you worry that you won’t get invited to their next event. Maybe you think that if you ignore the invitation, it won’t be a big deal to simply not show up. That’s flawed thinking because ignoring it is rude and inconsiderate.

Even if you’re the kind of person who has a difficult time saying no, you need to dig deep and do the right thing by politely letting the host know that you are unable to attend. You don’t have to draw out an excuse. In fact, it’s better to be brief but polite. And you need to do it sooner rather than later so the person can do a better job with planning.

Remember that sending regrets to an invitation doesn’t mean you’re rejecting the person who sent it to you. It’s simply a statement that you are unable to attend whatever you’ve been invited to.

Follow Up Later

After the event, it is fine to call the person and ask how the event went. You may want to express your regrets about not being able to make it, but if you do that, have a positive attitude. You might want to say something like, “It sounds like you had a wonderful time.”

I only wish I’d learned this earlier.

Remember that super-awkward moment in Pride and Prejudice when the awful Mr. Collins corners Elizabeth Bennet and asks her (well, more like tells her) to marry him? She rejects him politely but firmly and then has to repeat that rejection at least four times before she can escape the room, but even then it’s clear he still hasn’t got the message. As she restates her rejection of him, it gets blunter and blunter, until she finally says, “My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer?” Now that I think about it, that’s got to be one of the most awkward fictional moments ever written.

Thankfully, the world is not full of men like Mr. Collins—in fact, quite the opposite. People like Mr. Collins are rare; it takes guts to express a romantic interest in someone, and most people have enough self-awareness and humility to know a rejection when they see one. That doesn’t mean that rejecting someone is ever easy, or free from awkwardness entirely, but it doesn’t have to be that hard.

I still cringe when I think about the first time I rejected a guy: I was an immature teenager, and needless to say it involved some evasive text messages and a couple of very awkward speedy exits from rooms (yes, I quite literally ran away from the situation). To a neutral observer, my behavior probably implied that this guy had proposed marriage Mr. Collins-style, when in reality all he had done was ask me on one date.

It didn’t feel good or right, but my approach to romantic rejections continued more or less as miserable variations on this theme for the next six or so years of my dating life. Sometimes, like Monica, Verily’s relationship editor, I would find myself on what my friends and I dubbed “accidental dates” because I either didn’t realize that I had been asked out on a date in the first place, or because I just didn’t know how to turn a guy down kindly.

It wasn’t until I was on the receiving end of the most graceful and kind rejections of my life that I realized what I’d been getting wrong all that time. This impressive rejection taught me that the secret formula to a mature approach to relationships and casual dating is a lot simpler than I had realized: Be open and clear about your feelings, be kind and complimentary, and unless they really did just declare their undying love for you, don’t act as if they did.

So what exactly did this guy do that I found so revolutionary? Without a trace of awkwardness he thanked me, saying that he was hugely flattered because I was great, and then he said that he didn’t think of me as anything but a friend. The most striking thing about his rejection, though, was that he was true to his word and continued treating me like a friend afterwards, as if what had just happened wasn’t a big deal at all. His actions confirmed what he had just told me, making it easy for me to believe that he enjoyed my company and wanted to remain friends. His feelings were clear, but instead of feeling bad about myself I felt empowered; it was then that I realized that asking someone out doesn’t have to be a big deal after all—and perhaps more importantly—turning them down doesn’t have to be a big deal either.

Casual dating done right can be a great way to find love, but only if you do it with a mature attitude, taking those early dates for what they are— opportunities to get to know someone better, to find out if you have chemistry, and to figure out if you want to embark on a relationship together. It’s so much easier to bounce back from a rejection and work up the courage for future dating opportunities if you’ve been made to feel like the other person truly respects you, even if they didn’t want to pursue a relationship with you.

As I knew all too well, when someone asks you out it’s easy to get super awkward about it if you don’t feel the same way. But, think about how you would like to be treated if the tables were turned and it doesn’t take long to realize that all anyone wants is to leave that conversation with their pride intact. The fastest way to hurt someone’s pride is to make them feel like a crazy stalker for asking you out. That’s why the time-honored advice not to be overly-apologetic when you reject someone is so wise: Most people don’t want to feel as though you feel sorry for them, they want to feel like you think they’re pretty awesome and are bound to find someone who would jump at the chance to date them really soon.

Of course, there may be times when someone expresses really strong feelings for you or has been feeling that way for a long time before they said anything about it. In those cases, giving them some space isn’t the same thing as running away; sometimes, it’s just the most thoughtful and kind thing to do. No matter how you feel about it, though, behaving awkwardly about it will only make things worse. If you act as if everything is normal they will be able to mirror your actions, and before long they may even be feeling that way, too.

To this day, the guy who taught me the best way to reject someone is a great friend. Who knew that a rejection could turn out to be such a blessing? I only wish I’d learned this secret earlier.

by Michelle LaRowe
Editor in Chief

How to decline a dateGetting kids of a similar age together for play dates is a time honored method of introducing new social aspects to learning through play and allows parents some much-needed adult time. Sometimes, though, the best intentions run afoul of real life and make play dates a messy situation. When your child simply doesn’t like playing with a particular peer or you have trouble dealing with her parents, the idea of continuing play dates can be completely off-putting. Still, the idea of hurting someone’s feelings or causing trouble with another family by declining play dates is even worse. There are ways to politely decline a play date invitation without permanently burning bridges, though.

Offer a Reasonable Excuse

There’s a lot to be said for letting someone down easy, especially when kids are involved. Rather than giving vague reasons why a play date isn’t in the cards, try thanking the inviting parent and providing a reasonable excuse like, “Thank you for inviting us, but we’re busy that evening and can’t attend. We look forward to seeing you at the next dance class, though!” Make no reference to a rain check, and don’t leave the conversation with, “maybe another time.”

Offer to Host

If your misgivings about a play date spring from a fundamental distrust of the other parent or disagreement over parenting styles and possible influences over your own child, but the two kids truly get along, it may be better to return the invitation with one of your own. Putting the play date on your home turf will make it more comfortable for you and won’t force your child to miss out on time with a friend she genuinely enjoys being around.

Be Honest

If your child doesn’t want to play with her classmate because of a previous play date that went badly, the best and most effective solution may be to explain that to the inviting parent. Try injecting a bit of humor, emphasizing the mercurial nature of kid friendships and laughing the situation off rather than giving a laundry list of reasons why your child isn’t interested. If you’re close enough friends with that parent to honestly discuss the problem, it may even be beneficial to both children if you can address any issues at hand. Finding out why the two kids are fighting or what happened to make things awkward can be a complicated and delicate situation, but it may also pay off in the long run.

Plead Family Time

If you’re looking to minimize your child’s overcrowded schedule and there’s no personal motivation behind declining a play date, it’s perfectly acceptable to say so. Phrases like, “thank you, but her schedule has just gotten ridiculous and we’re trying to cut down on play dates for a while” go a long way, and are easy for other parents to understand in a hectic, fast-paced world. Let the inviting parent know that you’re flattered by the invitation and would love for the kids to get together, but that you’re just not spending enough time together as a family and are actively making an effort to remedy the issue. Most parents will respect a need for family time, especially if they’re feeling the same pressure.

Assert Your Child’s Independence

If your child is in elementary school, she’s old enough to choose her own friends and can’t easily be forced into pre-arranged play dates. Letting the inviting parent know that you’re allowing your child the independence to choose her own play dates and explore her own interests is perfectly acceptable. After all, you can’t force social interactions upon older children simply because two kids are in the same class or you’re acquainted with the other parent.

While tactfully declining a play date invitation can be a slippery slope, it’s important that you never tell outright lies that you’ll later be caught in. It’s far more insulting to find out that a parent has been downright dishonest than to hear something akin to the truth. Making up stories that are easily seen through makes you look dishonest and careless, so it’s best to stick as close to the truth as possible without being confrontational or needlessly hurtful.

The promposal: It ‘ s one aspect of the most momentous night of high school that we dream about over and over again.

That is, unless it comes from the wrong person.

If you ‘ ve been asked to prom by someone you aren ‘ t interested in, you ‘ re now in the uncomfortable position of letting them down easy.

Continue reading for our advice on how to kindly reject an invitation to prom:

Don ‘ t Lie

Let ‘ s begin with what not to do. When we deliver a rejection, we often feel like we need a concrete reason as to why we ‘ re saying no… even if it isn ‘ t true. For example, you may feel compelled to lie and say that you already have a date when you don ‘ t, or that you aren ‘ t going to prom at all. Lying is never a good option, for a number of reasons. For one, you may get caught, which blows the whole situation out of proportion. Secondly, when this dishonesty eventually comes out, you ‘ ll just end up hurting that person twice. Honesty is always the best policy.

How to decline a date

(The Fosters via Freeform)

Keep Your Excuse Vague

If you aren ‘ t able to lie, you may wonder how you can get out of this promposal without simply replying with a hurtful no. We ‘ ve got a trick for you. Rather than going into detail with reasons why you ‘ re rejecting their invitation (especially if those reasons aren ‘ t true), say you ” already have other plans. ” These plans could be anything from a different date to a decision to attend with friends. You don ‘ t need to go into specifics with this rejection, and quite frankly, we suggest you don ‘ t.

Make Light of the Conversation

Don ‘ t make this situation more dramatic than it needs to be. Keep the convo light by acknowledging how sweet it is that they thought of you, but that you unfortunately must decline. Getting quiet or awkward when the person pops the question is only going to make the rejection seem more dramatic and heartbreaking. Instead, keep your spirits up and you ‘ re likely to keep theirs up as well. This help them feel brave for trying, rather than embarrassed for asking.

How to decline a date

(The Fosters via Freeform)

Make Your Decision Immediately

If you truly need time to think about your answer, then by all means take your time. But if you know right off the bat that you ‘ ll be rejecting this promposal, be upfront. Tell the person on the spot that you can ‘ t accept their invite. Making them sweat bullets while you get up the courage to let them down is just plain cruel.

Never Say Yes Out of Pity

Accepting a promposal only to reject it later via text is a pretty harsh way to play with someone ‘ s emotions. Of course, it is absolutely your right to change your mind at any point. However, if you know from the start that this person isn ‘ t your ideal prom date, try to avoid accepting the invite out of pity. It ‘ ll prevent your future anxiety and their inevitable heartache.

Neither of you deserve to share this special night with someone who doesn ‘ t actually want to be there. But if you do decide to go with this person just as friends, then make sure they ‘ re aware of the label. You also don ‘ t want to go into the night with two different ideas of the term ” prom date. “

How to decline a date

(The Fosters via Freeform)

Let Them Down Privately

While you want to deliver your response as soon as possible, also make sure to let them down in a private setting. If they ‘ ve asked you in front of other people, try suggesting that you speak privately before declaring a very public rejection. It takes some tension off the response and allows them a few moments to collect their feelings without onlookers.

Find a Happy Medium

There ‘ s a happy medium to be found when it comes to rejecting a promposal. You don ‘ t want to simply (and a little too curtly) state, ” No. ” But you also don ‘ t want to ramble on and on with reasons why you don ‘ t want this person to be your date. Find the balance and make your words count. If this person is someone you truly care about, don ‘ t be afraid to tell them so. But at the same time, don ‘ t feel like you need to apologize for your decision. Additionally, you want to avoid being so terse that you leave your promposer feeling embarrassed or hurt. It ‘ s a tough balance to achieve, but we believe you ‘ ll get there.

If you ‘ re planning on asking someone to prom, you need to click HERE for creative and cheap promposal ideas that ‘ ll make your date swoon.

How to decline a date

There are plenty of things in adult life that get easier with time and practice — like filing your taxes or going to the doctor all by yourself — but trying to figure out how to turn someone down when they ask you out is one of those things that just doesn’t seem to get any easier, no matter how much practice you have. And as if it’s not hard enough to reject someone once, it gets even more frustrating and complicated if someone “won’t take no for an answer” (or simply can’t take a hint), putting you in a situation where you have to reject the same person not just once, but many times over.

“Being asked out repeatedly after already expressing a lack of interest is a clear sign that this person doesn’t respect your boundaries,” Dr. Tanisha M. Ranger, Licensed Psychologist at Insight to Action, tells Bustle. “As human beings, the natural response to boundary violations is anger. Depending on the setting, it can be even more stressful. For example, is this someone you have to see regularly? Someone you work with? Someone who attends your church? Knowing that you are going to, essentially, be harassed while you try to go about your life activities can definitely take a toll on you.”

In theory, the idea of someone liking you so much that they just can’t stop trying to ask you out might sound flattering; in reality, it’s disconcerting and stressful to feel like you aren’t being heard and your boundaries aren’t being respected. As a woman, this kind of scenario is something I’ve experienced countless times, and I’ve always had trouble saying ‘no’ in a firm way — but is it just me, or do other women find it particularly difficult to reject someone romantically?

“I do think it’s particularly difficult for women [to reject someone] because of the socialization we’ve all gone through that says we should be careful to protect men’s feelings, we should always be polite, we should take it as a compliment whenever a man shows interest in us, and we should always try to be accommodating,” Dr. Ranger says. “These messages leave women feeling guilty when they have to say no. And the men are also socialized: [they’re] taught that persistence is a virtue, taught that performing appropriately (doing things for a woman, or obtaining the desirables of a job, a home, a car, etc.) entitles them to the woman that they want. The combination can be toxic.”

Although this is a gendered issue in many ways, it’s important to note that being in a scenario where you have to reject a persistent suitor is something that can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. So the next time you need to turn down someone who seemingly can’t take a hint, here are six expert tips for delivering a firm, clear rejection — without being unnecessarily rude.

How to decline a date

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It’s never fun getting rejected. In fact, being the rejector is also quite difficult, especially if you’re trying to cushion the blow.

From being honest to mentally preparing yourself, our relationships expert offers seven tips to reject someone nicely.

One of the most difficult parts of dating — whether you’ve gone on just one date with someone or 10 — is bowing out gracefully when you’re no longer interested.

Rejecting someone without coming across as a horrible person is not only nerve-wracking — it can also seem almost impossible. Thankfully, there are some easier, more tactful ways of saying goodbye than simply cutting and running (or changing your phone number).

We asked Christina Steinorth, psychotherapist, relationship advisor and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships (Hunter House, 2013), to share her advice on how to reject someone nicely.

1. Be honest

They don’t say that honesty is the best policy for nothing. Whether you’ve been on one daytime coffee date or several more serious outings, parting ways tactfully requires the truth (even if it’s going to hurt).

“The best thing to do is to not be hurtful, but be honest about it,” says Steinorth. You might be tempted to sugarcoat what you have to say, but that approach will just prolong the process and make things more frustrating for both parties.

The key is to be direct, but gentle, she advises. “Be direct in your communication, be gentle with your word choices and show kindness by staying away from blaming or otherwise inflammatory language,” she says.

2. Prepare yourself

As nice as you try to be, when you reject someone what you have to say has the potential to make the other person feel badly.

“Be mentally prepared to not have the words you’re about to say be well received and approach it from that perspective,” says Steinorth. “If the other person gets upset, don’t feed into it or argue back, as nothing good will come of it. And really, why would you want to continue to engage with a person you’re not all that interested in?”

The best thing you can do is to let things go and, if need be, let the other person have the last word, because let’s face it, “it’s not like you’re going to see them again anyway,” she says.

3. Do it face to face

In this digital age where we communicate more often via text and phone than we do in person, it can be tough to figure out just how to tell someone that you’re not interested. As tempting as a quick text-rejection might be, though, it’s just bad form, says Steinorth.

“Face to face is always the best option. Not only is it the most respectful, it gives the other person a chance to see by your facial expressions and body language that you’re serious in your words,” she explains.

An in-person breakup also gives you the chance to help the other person process what you’ve just told them should you feel the need to do so.

4. Stick with “I” statements

Whatever the reason for your feelings, avoid putting the blame on the other person when you tell him or her how you feel. “Don’t start pointing out all the faults or issues the person has that are leading you to make your decision to reject them. All this will do is inflame the situation and make it more hurtful,” says Steinorth.

For example, instead of saying, “I’m rejecting you because you drink too much,” or “I’m not attracted to you,” try a softer approach, she advises. Try saying something like this instead: “Over time our interests seem to have taken us in different directions. I will always treasure the friendship we shared, but I think it’s time for me to move on now.”

To avoid even more tension, it’s usually best to approach a rejection from an “it’s not you, it’s me” approach.

5. Know that what you’re feeling is normal

Being nervous before you reject someone can often make the deed seem even more daunting, but it’s important to realize and accept that it is normal to have feelings of anxiety before you tell someone bad news.

“No one wants to hurt another person,” says Steinorth. Just remember that some of the the best decisions (in this case, the decision to reject or break up with someone) often feel like the hardest ones to make, she explains. “Part of being a mature adult is being able to make sometimes difficult decisions, so don’t be afraid to do what you need to do.”

6. Avoid putting it off

It’s common to wait until what feels like the “right time” when it comes to rejecting someone, but you’re best off making a move rather than waiting.

“The more time that passes, the more difficult it’s going to be for you to do,” affirms Steinorth. “People build attachments over time and the more time and energy they invest in building a relationship with you, the more hurt their feelings are going to be when you tell them that their efforts and feelings aren’t mutual,” she explains.

Not to mention, he or she will also likely wonder why you didn’t end things sooner and may get angry that you weren’t more honest about your feelings.

7. Don’t give false hope

According to Steinorth, one of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to ending a relationship that isn’t working is giving the other person false hope.

Never give false hope,” she says. “All that does is prolong the healing process for the other person and it really doesn’t put you in a good light either, as the person you are rejecting may feel like you’re playing games,” she explains. “You need to be upfront and have a heart-to-heart conversation with them and let them know where they stand.”

No one likes being the bad guy, but dragging out a relationship that isn’t working or leading someone on who you aren’t genuinely interested in can be far more hurtful in the long run. If you feel like it’s time to move on, do yourself — and the person you’re dating — a favour and be direct, honest and gentle when letting him or her know how you feel.

If you are invited to a bidding event and for some reason, you will not attend this. Now you must have to inform the inviter that you decline this invitation for some proper reason. So to write this kind of letter here we help you by providing some sample letters regarding that topic.

While writing this letter you must have to clearly express the reason for such decision, also use some words to congratulate them for arranging such event.

Template: 1

[ Insert the Sender’s Address]

[ Insert the Date of sending the letter]

[ Insert the Receiver’s Name]

[ Insert the Receiver’s Address]

Dear Mr./ Mrs./ Ms. [ Insert the name of whomsoever it is concerned to]

SUBJECT: letter to Decline the Invitation to Bid

Greetings of the day!

I was pleased to have been invited to be a part of [ Insert the name of the bidding event] that is scheduled to be held on [ Insert the date of the event].

I understand that this event is very important to you and I am delighted with the thoughtfulness you have shown to have me be a part of this bidding event.

Unfortunately, an emergency engagement, that I was notified of today, is scheduled on the same date as your event. For this very reason, I am very sorry to let you know that I will not be able to attend the bidding event.

I wanted to be a part of this event, if it weren’t for this unavoidable situation, I would have been pleased to be a part of this bidding event. I hope you will be able to understand my circumstances. I convey my best wishes and regards to the success of the event

Thank you once again for the invitation.

[ Insert the Full Name of the Sender]

[ Insert the Name of the Organization the sender represents]

[ Insert the Contact Details]

Template: 2

[Date of sending the letter]

Dear Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. [name of whomsoever it is concerned to]

SUBJECT: Letter to Decline the Invitation to Bid

Greetings of the day!

I was very excited to have been invited to be a part of [ Insert the name of the bidding event] that is going to be held on the day [ Insert the date of the event].

I know that this event is very important to you and your institution (mention details) and I am really thankful to you for your thoughtfulness, which you have shown us by inviting us to attend this special bidding event.

Unfortunately, we have to attend another program regarding (mention the details) scheduled on the same date of your event. For this very reason, I am very sorry to inform you that I will not be able to attend this special occasion of the bidding event.

I really wanted to take part in this bidding event, if it weren’t for this situation which I cannot avoid, I would have been really happy to be a part of this event organized by you. I hope you would be able to understand my situation and support me. I convey my best wishes and regards to you and also to the success of the event.

I really thank you once again for the invitation.

[Full Name of the Sender]

[Name of the Organization the sender represents]

Template: 3

[Date of sending the letter]

Dear Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. [name of whomsoever it is concerned to]

SUBJECT: Letter to Decline the Invitation to Bid

Greetings of the day!

First of all, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to you for inviting me to be a part of [ Insert the name of the bidding event], which is scheduled to be held on the day [ Mention the date of the event].

I know that this biding event is a very important occasion to you and your institution (mention details) and I am really grateful to you for your kind attitude and thoughts for me, which you have shown us by inviting us to attend this special event of yours.

Unfortunately, we are unable to attend the event as we have to attend another program regarding (mention the details) scheduled on the same date at (mention details). I am very sorry for this situation and want to apologize to you as I cannot respond to your kind approach.

I was really happy to receive the invitation to the bidding event, if it weren’t for this unavoidable circumstance, I would have been really happy to be a part of this event organized by you. I hope you will help me by understanding my critical situation and supporting me. I heartily convey my best wishes and regards to you and also to the great success of the event of your institution.

I thank you once again for your kind invitation.

[Full Name of the Sender]

[Name of the Organization the sender represents]

[ Insert the Sender’s Address]

Template: 4

[ Insert the Date of sending the letter]

[ Insert the Receiver’s Name]

[ Insert the Receiver’s Address]

Dear Mr./ Mrs./ Ms. [ Insert the name of whomsoever it is concerned to]

SUBJECT: Letter to Decline the Invitation to Bid

Greetings of the day!

I was pleased to have been invited to be a part of [ Insert the name of the bidding event] that is scheduled to be held on [ Insert the date of the event].

I understand that this event is very important to you and I am delighted with the thoughtfulness you have shown to have me be a part of this bidding event.

Unfortunately, an emergency engagement, that I was notified of today, is scheduled on the same date as your event. For this very reason, I am very sorry to let you know that I will not be able to attend the bidding event.

I really wanted to be a part of this event, if it weren’t for this unavoidable situation, I would have been pleased to be a part of this bidding event. I hope you would be able to understand my circumstances. I convey my best wishes and regards to the success of the event

Thank you once again for the invitation.

[ Insert the Full Name of the Sender]

[ Insert the Name of the Organization the sender represents]

This example teaches you how to use data validation to reject invalid dates.

1. Select the range A2:A4.

How to decline a date

2. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Data Validation.

Outside a Date Range

3. In the Allow list, click Date.

4. In the Data list, click between.

5. Enter the Start date and End date shown below and click OK.

How to decline a date

Explanation: all dates between 5/20/2016 and today’s date + 5 days are allowed. All dates outside this date range are rejected.

6. Enter the date 5/19/2016 into cell A2.

Result. Excel shows an error alert.

How to decline a date

Note: to enter an input message and error alert message, go to the Input Message and Error Alert tab.

Sundays and Saturdays

3. In the Allow list, click Custom.

4. In the Formula box, enter the formula shown below and click OK.

How to decline a date

Explanation: the WEEKDAY function returns a number from 1 (Sunday) to 7 (Saturday) representing the day of the week of a date. If a date’s weekday is not equal to 1 (Sunday) AND not equal to 7 (Saturday), the date is allowed (<> means not equal to). In other words, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are allowed. Sundays and Saturdays are rejected. Because we selected the range A2:A4 before we clicked on Data Validation, Excel automatically copies the formula to the other cells.

5. To check this, select cell A3 and click Data Validation.

How to decline a date

As you can see, this cell also contains the correct formula.

6. Enter the date 8/27/2016 (Saturday) into cell A2.

Result. Excel shows an error alert.

How to decline a date

Note: to enter an input message and error alert message, go to the Input Message and Error Alert tab.

Tip one: Get it over with!

How to decline a date

Wondering how to reject someone? In the relationship world, rejecting people is about as much fun as reading the instruction manual to a vacuum cleaner. Which is, to say, not fun at all—not to mention awkward, uncomfortable, and painful. Sigh.

“It’s important to reject people kindly so they don’t take the rejection personally, because truthfully, it isn’t about them,” says Bianca Walker, a licensed professional counselor in Atlanta. Sure, you might not like certain things about the person you’re rejecting, but this usually just means you’re incompatible with each other, not that the other person is a monster.

“To somebody else, that same person could be their perfect package—the one,” Walker says. “Rejecting someone in a mean way says, ‘there’s something wrong with you,’ which is very different from, ‘I know what I want and I don’t think we’re compatible.’”

How to decline a date

Still, when it comes to how to tell someone you’re not interested, figuring out the right words to get the message across clearly and compassionately can be tricky, whether it’s someone you’ve only exchanged a few messages with on Bumble or a co-worker you’ve had a strong, totally platonic friendship with for years (or so you thought!).

Below, experts break down how to reject someone maturely and kindly to ease the pain on both sides.

Offer a classy compliment

“Both sides feel respected when we validate the other person’s vulnerability,” says Cheryl M. Bradshaw, a registered psychotherapist in Canada, author of Real Talk About Sex and Consent. Bradshaw especially likes the below line if you’re approached in a public place, which yes, can be awkward.

Try: “I know it can be hard to put yourself out there, but unfortunately, I’m not interested. I appreciate you asking and being respectful, though.”

An important caveat: The moment someone speaks to you disrespectfully—say, by asking you more than once or trying to change your mind—you should change your strategy. “Be firm, and leave the situation as quickly as you can,” Bradshaw says.

Don’t apologize

Whether you’ve gone on a handful of dates or are getting lackluster vibes after a series of exchanges on a dating app, there’s really no need to apologize. Just be direct and polite!

Try: “I really appreciate your interest and openness, but I’m not able to reciprocate it. I know it may be hard to hear, but I’m not interested in moving forward.”

Focus on your needs

It helps to have a boilerplate for dating apps, when neither party invested too much energy yet. “In this case, you’re want to say, ‘I’m sure you’re cool, just not right for me and I’m mature enough to recognize this and be upfront about it, essentially freeing up time for both of us to find someone more fitting,’” offers Walker.

Try: “I’m sure you’re amazing in many ways, but I have a lot of clarity about what I want at this point in my life, and I don’t see us as a good match. Wishing you luck finding your person.”

Be respectful and appreciative

There’s no point in dragging things out after a meh first date. “Be kind but straightforward,” says Gina Handley Schmitt, LMHC and author of Friending: Creating Meaningful, Lasting Adult Friendships. Remember: Even if the person isn’t your cup of tea, they might have construed the date as a sparks-flying success: “There are actual human beings on the receiving end of a rejection, and these human beings will inevitably be disappointed and hurt when their romantic feelings are not reciprocated,” says Schmitt.

Try: “Thank you for making yourself available. With that being said, I am clear that this isn’t going to be the right relationship dynamic for me. I do hope all the best for you, though, as you continue your journey.”

Don’t leave them in the dark

“One of the challenges I hear all the time from my clients is the confusion that they feel when someone isn’t clear about why they are no longer interested,” says Kindman. “When we don’t have specific information, we tend to fill in the blanks ourselves.” No need to tell every Tinder convo your life goals and values, but if you’ve gone on a few dates, you may want to offer up a few—kind!—details about your decision.

Try: “It was nice getting to know you. I’m looking for XX (a serious relationship, someone who shares my political values, a partner who likes to be in nature, etc), so I don’t think we’re a good match for each other. I hope you find who you’re looking for.”

Value your friendship

It’s never easy disappointing someone, especially when it’s someone you care about as a pal. “If this person is in your social circle or someone you’re close with, you likely don’t want to lose the relationship,” says Kaitlin Kindman, LCSW, practice director and co-founder of Kindman & Co.. “Let them know that you see and appreciate their vulnerability and give them space to show that it’s okay for them to feel let down.”

Try: “I hope you know how much I care about you and the relationship we have. I know it’s not easy to share your feelings and I admire the courage it took to let me know how you’re feeling. I don’t want to hurt you, but unfortunately, I don’t feel the same way. I understand if you feel disappointed and that this may make our relationship awkward for a bit. Take all the time you need and when you’re ready, I hope we can still be friends.”

Keep it casual

If a coworker asks you out, be clear that you’re not interested and don’t feel pressured to give any explanation as to why. Keeping a casual tone—like in the example below—will help both parties feel more comfortable during an awkward situation. (FYI, this assumes a peer is asking you out, not a supervisor or boss, which is crossing a line!)

Try: “I appreciate your confidence in asking me, but I don’t think we’re on the same page. I’m not interested in dating, but thanks for asking!”

Be firm, especially with an ex

When an old flame comes callin’, keep it short and sweet. “Let them know that your focus has shifted,” says Walker. That means, no need to recount details from the past or remind them of how terrible your breakup was! (Related: The 10 Stages Of Every Breakup—And How To Make Each One Suck Less)

Try: “Hey. While I can appreciate many aspects of our past relationship, going out again would feel like a step backward for me, and I’m committed to my future growth—in all areas of my life. Be well.”

When our people-pleasing, romantic hopes get in the way of ending it.

One of my clients met a guy online. When she met him in person, he was at least fifty pounds overweight. She said, “Hi, I’m sorry, but you deceived me with your photos. Have a good evening.” And she left. She told me her time was valuable, and she wasn’t going to spend time with someone who lied to her. The weight wasn’t an issue, but his deception was.

Would you do that?

So many modern women struggle with leaving a bad date for all kinds of reasons. Whatever your opinion is of the recent Aziz Ansari scandal, I do think The Atlantic writer Caitlin Flanagan—a woman from an older generation—has a solid point when she describes the narrative women used to be taught on how to end a bad date:

But in one essential aspect they reminded us that we were strong in a way that so many modern girls are weak. They told us over and over again that if a man tried to push you into anything you didn’t want, even just a kiss, you told him flat out you weren’t doing it. . . . They told you to slap him if you had to; they told you to get out of the car and start wailing if you had to. They told you to do whatever it took to stop him from using your body in any way you didn’t want and under no circumstances to go down without a fight.

Of course, what she’s describing here is a far more distressing situation than misleading a woman in your online profile. But her piece begs the question: Why do so many modern women struggle to leave bad dates? And more importantly, what can they do instead?

So Many Modern Women Are Conflicted

Of course, there are many women who have zero issues leaving a date before it even starts (see my resolute client, above). However, there’s a growing number of women who still struggle leaving dead-end dates. Some tell me it’s because they’re a self-proclaimed “people pleaser” and put others first before themselves, to a detrimental degree. Others just don’t want to be rude or impolite or have a hard time speaking up for their needs. Some women are so empathetic and want guys—yes, even boring, semi-offensive curmudgeons—to feel valued and happy, even at their emotional expense. After all, they don’t want to seem rude or ungracious.

Or sometimes, they believe the narrative that if they continue to hang out with this guy and put up with the bad behavior, he’ll change, and they’ll find love.

Sure, I often tell my clients that true attraction can take time to develop. Yet, it’s one thing if he’s nervous and not giving the best impression—but it’s another if he makes tasteless comments, inappropriate sexual advances, can’t stop talking about his ex, shows up drunk, or is clearly racist or sexist. Or simply, if you intuitively know from the get-go he’s just not for you.

It’s OK. Bad dates happen, but it’s imperative that you do not find yourself in a habit of devoting a lot of time to them, even if you’re genuinely concerned about your date’s feelings. Not only does this waste your time (and his), it can escalate dating burnout or, even worse, put you in dangerous situations, especially if you already struggle with saying no.

You don’t have to feel bad if you feel disappointment that your date didn’t meet your expectations. You can still end a bad date in a classy way. Here are nine ways to do so:

01. Make it short, and go in with an exit plan.

You don’t have to invest a lot of time or commitment for the first meeting. This person is a stranger, so you don’t know if they’re emotionally stable. If a guy asks if you’d like to do dinner or a concert, say you’d prefer drinks or coffee—and plan something time-sensitive afterward immediately. You can even prep your date ahead of time by telling him that you can meet for happy hour because then you have dinner plans with friends. Or keep it to coffee, and then say you still have some work to catch up on or a hair appointment.

Speak up for what makes you feel more comfortable so that you’re not feeling bad or guilty when there’s no connection.

02. Have only one drink.

You may really want that second glass of wine, but having a second round can signal to a guy that you’re enjoying his company. If you 100 percent know you don’t want to see him again, have only one. If you’re a sensitive person, you may have to challenge your beliefs that if you only have one drink, the date will be too short. Nurse your drink or tell him that you’re not a big drinker or still have work or something to do when you get home and don’t want to be tipsy—but really, a simple “no, thank you” should be enough.

03. Pay for your own drink.

This can also send the message that you’re not interested—a sign that you clearly want things to be separate moving forward. Unless the guy was a total jerk, and you need to leave immediately, try to pay for your half to make it clear that no one “owes” anyone anything.

04. Be honest.

Instead of using an excuse, be honest and say it was nice meeting him, but you’re ready to call it a night. Depending on the situation, you may want to tell him why. If he seems emotionally stable but can’t stop talking about his ex, for instance, you can let him know that he wasted your time because it’s clear he’s not over her yet. But use your best judgment as to whether you want to engage in constructive criticism—remember, you’re not his counselor.

05. Excuse yourself to the restroom.

If you’re worried about being rude, chances are you’re not going to be checking your phone on the date. Excuse yourself to the restroom, and when you come back, say that you just got a call from your friend that she got dumped and you need to be with her. I’m not a fan of deception, so try to only use this when a guy makes you uncomfortable.

06. Use an app.

Some bad dates can be downright scary. Apps such as uSafeUS and Circle of 6 not only help you contact your friends in instances where you feel unsafe, but they also put you in touch with resources to help you.

07. Involve others.

If for whatever reason you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, tell the bartender or a waitstaff member. They can walk by the table or your area of the bar more frequently to make sure you’re OK.

08. Don’t comment on future plans.

Sometimes it’s automatic to say “See you again” or “See you later” at the end of a goodbye. If you have no plans to see him again, say something like, “It was nice meeting you. Have a good night.” If he texts to ask you out on another date, be polite and say, “I had a nice time, but I don’t think we’re a match. Good luck.”

By Dr. Robert Wallace

DR. WALLACE: I have been asked out by a person I don’t want to go out with in front of a bunch of people, so I said “sure” at the time, but now I’m finding that I’m regretting it as I’d actually prefer to cancel.

For my future reference, I’d like to know what I want to say the next time this type of situation comes up.

How does one say “no” nicely to a date in front of other people when being put on the spot? — An awkward situation, via email

AN AWKWARD SITUATION: Simply say that your time is spoken for and then thank the person very much for the offer. Tell the truth politely and in a pleasant tone of voice.

It is not a good idea to feel pressured to go on a date with anyone at any time. Personal relationships, even casual dates, should always be voluntary and comfortable to set up. If they are not, then hesitation is in order. In this instance, you were caught off guard, but you can now be fully prepared going forward.

And yes, your time is indeed “spoken for” as you no doubt have many things to do each and every day or night of the week. Saying your time is spoken for is a polite way to decline an offer to get together. If persistent, aggressive follow-up requests occur, simply mention that you’re not comfortable being pressured to give an immediate answer as this should also help to consistently get your point across.


DR. WALLACE: From time to time, as a single mother, I get very busy with many multitasking responsibilities. There are times that I need my two girls, ages 9 and 11, to be left with someone for a few hours while I run errands or take care of work responsibilities.

I usually get a babysitter that I’m comfortable with down the street, but she’s not always available.

Do you think it would be OK to ask my 18-year-old high school senior neighbor to watch my two kids in a pinch? He’s a boy, but I don’t know him too well. He seems friendly enough and waves to us from time to time when we drive into or out of our neighborhood. — Very busy single mother, via email

VERY BUSY SINGLE MOTHER: Given the ages of your girls and of this young man, coupled with the fact you don’t know him too well, I suggest you pass on this idea. It’s your responsibility as a mother to plan ahead to ensure that your girls have a comfortable, well-vetted person and place to stay when you need to take care of business items on your own.

Spend some time speaking to other single parents in your neighborhood and seek to build a network of multiple babysitters who can be available at different times of day and days of the week. This way, you can provide part-time jobs to more regular babysitters and hopefully have enough flexibility overall to be able to meet your family’s needs in a comfortable way.

Imagine a colleague invites you to their house for a weekend BBQ, your neighbor asks you over for dinner, or your friend from yoga asks invites you to her housewarming party. Do you know to politely accept and decline invitations in English? Would you feel comfortable saying maybe?

It can be difficult to feel you are saying the right thing, especially when you have to say ‘no’ or ‘maybe.’

The good news is, with just a few easy steps you’ll be ready to accept and decline invitations politely and confidently in English. You’ll never have to worry about saying the right thing or finding the right words.

In this lesson, I share:

  • Three easy steps for accepting an invitation
  • What you shouldn’t forget to do if you say maybe
  • Four rules for saying no politely

Plus, you’ll get example phrases native speakers use when they accept and decline invitations.

After you review the lesson, be sure to check out my challenge questions below and get immediate practice.

Language for saying yes or no to an invitation in English.

Lesson by Annemarie

Accept and Decline Invitations in English Easily

How to Say Yes

STEP 1: Say Thank You

  • Thank you.
  • Thanks for the invitation.
  • That is so kind of you.
  • Thanks for thinking of us.
  • That sounds great.
  • How wonderful!
  • Awesome!
  • How fun!

STEP 2: Be Clear about Your Yes

  • We will be there. (Make it clear who is coming so the host is sure, by saying for example: John and I will be there, OR the kids and I will be there)
  • We can’t wait.
  • Count me in.
  • We will be there will bells on.*
  • Wouldn’t miss it!
  • Absolutely!
  • I’ll be there for sure.
  • I’d love to come.
  • I’m in/ I’m down/ Sure thing (Casual)**

* Learn more about where this expression comes from and how we use it.

** Last month, Kelly and I did a lesson on How to Make Plans with Friends with American vs. Australian English. In that lesson, we talked about using “I’m in” and “I’m down.”

STEP 3: Confirm the Details

  • So we will see you on the 10th then.
  • We look forward to seeing you there.
  • How lovely! I can’t wait.
  • It is going to be great!
  • What would you like us to bring?
  • Let me know if I can help with the preparations.
  • Is there anything I can do to help?
  • Fabulous, see you then!

How to Say Maybe

STEP 1: Start with Thank You

  • Thank you.
  • Thanks for the invitation…
  • That is so kind of you.
  • Thanks for thinking of us.
  • That sounds great.
  • How wonderful!
  • Awesome!
  • How fun!

STEP 2: Use a Polite Way to Say Maybe*

  • I’m not sure whether I can but I’ll check my calendar and let you know.
  • Perhaps I can make it. Let me check my calendar.
  • Perhaps I can reschedule something. I will see what I can do.

How to Say No

STEP 1: Start with Thank You

  • Thank you.
  • Thanks for the invitation but…
  • That is so kind of you.
  • Thanks for thinking of us.
  • I appreciate the invite but…

STEP 2: Explain You Cannot Go with an Apologetic Tone

  • But I am not able to make it.
  • But I am not able to come.
  • But I’m sorry, I’m afraid we can’t make it.
  • Unfortunately I already have plans.
  • So sorry, I’ll have to take a rain check.
  • I would love to come but…
  • That sounds fabulous but…
  • I wish I could join you but…
  • I am so sorry we can’t make it…
  • It is a shame we can’t be there…
  • I am disappointed that I can’t make it…
  • That would have been wonderful, so sorry we can’t be there.

STEP 3: Give a Simple, Clear Reason

  • It is my sister’s birthday that day.
  • Joe leaves for his trip that afternoon.
  • The children have a school event we have to attend.
  • We will be away on vacation then.
  • We have a prior engagement.
  • We already have plans.
  • We have a clash in our schedule.

STEP 4: Close Positively

  • I hope it goes well.
  • We will be thinking of you.
  • Enjoy it!
  • We will make it up to you another day.
  • I would love to catch up another time.
  • How about another time?

After you’ve watched the video and reviewed the language we use to accept and decline invitations, it’s time for you to practice.

Review these 3 situations below and tell me how you would respond.

  1. Someone in your regular yoga class invites you to a housewarming party. You’d love to accept the invitation.
  2. A parent at your child’s school has invited you and some other parents over for coffee. You’d like to go but you’re not sure about your schedule. How would you politely say maybe?
  3. Your new to your neighborhood and one of your neighbors has invited you to their annual holiday party. Unfortunately, you’ll be out of town. What could you say?

The best place to share your answers with me is in the comments section at the bottom of this lesson. Plus you’ll have the opportunity to learn from and share with others in the Confident English Community.

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How to decline a date

And, furthermore, when you check the “with regrets” box of an RSVP card, is there any reason to explain why? Does doing so provide context the host will appreciate, or more so function as word vomit that will only liken you to them even less? Clearly in need of some help in the department of knowing how to decline an invitation like a pro, I wanted called upon the only people I can really trust on the matter: etiquette experts. Below, they share everything you (fine, I) need to know so I never have to regret sending in my “regrets” to party hosts.

Your “thanks, but no can do” is all you need to offer

As it turns out, there’s no need to explain why you aren’t going to an event. “There is never a time where you have to give an excuse,” etiquette and protocol consultant Lisa Orr tells me. “The only critical thing for the host to know is that you either will or won’t be attending. Once you start making excuses, it gives others the opportunity to determine if the excuses are valid or important enough to justify missing what you’re missing.”

“Once you start making excuses, it gives others the opportunity to determine if the excuses are valid or important enough to justify missing what you’re missing.” —Lisa Orr, etiquette consultant

Furthermore, it’s not necessarily anyone’s business to know every detail of your life. “It may not be physically or financially responsible or possible to RSVP as a yes,” adds etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.

But though you don’t have to explain your whereabouts, etiquette-wise, you might find it important to give an explanation for the purpose of maintaining a relationship (like if you feel terribly about not being able to make your BFF’s engagement party). “You may want to follow up with a call and explain why you are unable to attend so that they understand that the relationship is very important to you and how disappointed you are not to be able to attend,” Orr says of this situation.

So, you know how to decline an invitation, but how can you deal with guest guilt?

Whether or not you’ve decided to tell the host why you’re not coming to a given event, you may still feel guilty about the decision, especially if it’s for something related to someone you really care about and/or something you legitimately want to attend. First, try as best as you can to keep in mind that we all have many demands on our time and finances and thus can’t always do exactly what we want and what others expect of us.

“We need to give ourselves a big of a break and also give each other the benefit of the doubt that, if time and resources were unlimited, it would be fabulous to go to every party and buy everyone the most beautiful over-the-top gift,” Orr says. “But, that’s just not realistic.”

And if you ever RSVP affirmatively out of guilt or a feeling of obligation, Gottsman warns about the accompanying stress you may be in for. In fact, she says, the stress may “outweigh the regret you will experience by doing what you know to be in your best interest.”

You can and should feel confidant in your ability to say no and also understand that if your declined invitation puts a strain on your relationship, it’s not because you did something wrong. “It’s their issue, and not yours,” Orr says.

That said, there are no excuses for not being polite

“If you know you have to send regrets, it’s always best to send them immediately,” Orr says, adding that you should focus on how sad you are to miss the event. “If you can, schedule another opportunity to connect, even if it’s just for a coffee or a workout, so they know that this is about a scheduling conflict and that the relationship and spending time together is important to you.”

“Schedule another opportunity to connect, even if it’s just for a coffee or a workout, so they know that this is about a scheduling conflict and that the relationship and spending time together is important to you.” —Orr

And whatever it is you’re doing instead of attending the event in question—whether it’s going to a different wedding, or taking a work trip, or anything else—Gottsman suggests refraining from sharing it on social platforms, so as to avoid hurt feelings. (The effect may come across as you communicating that you’re having a “better” time where you are, she says.)

And lastly, the most important aspect of saying no without breaking any rules of etiquette is—as is the rule of thumb with pretty much everything in life—not to lie. “Unless you truly have a prior engagement, don’t make up a fake excuse and then go to a better opportunity,” Gottsman says. “It’s not worth the cost of getting caught and losing someone or hurting a relationship.”

Now that you know how to decline an invitation, here’s how to say no to anything you don’t want to do. And even if you already said yes, there’s a reason canceling plans feels so good.

अगर आपके साथ किसी को डेट पर जाना है पर आपका मन नहीं है तो आप बहुत विनम्र तरीके से इस परिस्थिति को डील करें और उसे मना करें।

How to decline a date

हर इंसान अपने आप में स्पेशल होता है। वहीं आज के समय में तो लोग खुद को और इंप्रूव करने के लिए ना जानें कौन-कौन से तरीके अपनाते हैं और जब बात डेटिंग की आती है तो लोग खुद को बेहतर से बेहतर बनाने के लिए नए-नए एक्सपेरिमेंट्स को भी अपनाते हैं। ऐसे में इन तरह के लोगों को किसी भी चीज के लिए मना करना उनके सम्मान को ठेस पहुंचा सकता है। यदि आप किसी को डेटिंग के लिए मना करना चाहते हैं तो कुछ आसान तरीकों को अपनाना जरूरी है, जिससे वे बुरा भी ना मानें और आप इस परिस्थिति से भी निकल जाएंगे। आज का हमारा लेख उन्हीं तरीकों पर है। आज हम आपको अपनी इस लेख के माध्यम से बताएंगे कि डेटिंग के लिए मना करने या दूसरे को रिजेक्ट करने के लिए आसान और अच्छे तरीके क्या हैं। इसके लिए आईबीएस हॉस्पिटल दिल्ली की मैरिज काउंसलर शिवानी मिसरी साधो (Marriage Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo) से भी बात की है । पढ़ते हैं आगे.

How to decline a date

1 – बैठाकर करें बातें

चूंकि ये समय ऑलाइन प्रपोज करने का है ऐसे में किसी को ऑनलाइन मना करना सही नहीं है। ऐसा करने से सामने वाले व्यक्ति को ठेस पहुंच सकती है। बता दें कि किसी को रिजेक्ट करने के लिए सबसे पहले उससे बात करें और अपना कारण समझाएं। ऐसा करने से ना केवल सामने वाला व्यक्ति आपकी बातें सुनेगा बल्कि उसकी नजरों में आपकी रिस्पेक्ट भी बढ़ जाती है।

2 – ईमानदारी है जरूरी

यदि आपके साथ डेट पर जाना चाहता है तो उसके बारे में किसी तीसरे इंसान को बताने की बजाय उसी से इस विषय पर बात करें। साथ ही जो भी आपकी परिस्थिति है उसके बारे में उसे बताएं। उदहारण के तौर पर यदि आप पह से ही किसी और के साथ हैं तो सीधे और ईमानदार तरीके से बता दें कि आप किसी और को डेट कर रहे हैं। ऐसा करने से वो आपकी परिस्थिति को समझेगा।

3 – परिस्थिति को ना टालें

कुछ लोगों की आदत होती है कि अगर वे किसी को पसंद नहीं करते हैं या उसके साथ डेट पर नहीं जाना चाहते हैं तो ऐसे में वे उसे टालना शुरू कर देते हैं। ऐसा करना गलत हौ। बता दें कि किसी को इग्नोर करने से अच्छा है कि आप उससे साफ तरीके से बात करें और अपनी भावनाओं के बारे में बताएं। ऐसा करने से व्यक्ति आपकी बातों को समझेगा।

4 – समझें सामने वाले व्यक्ति की भावनाएं

यदि कोई आपको पसंद कर रहा है तो उसकी भावनाओं को समझें। किसी तीसरे से उसकी फीलिंग के बारे में शेयर ना करें। ऐसा करने से हो सकते हैं कि सामने वाले व्यक्ति को ठेस पहुंचे। हालांकि यदि वह आपको डेटिंग के फोर्स कर रहा है तो ऐसे में आप भी थोड़ा सख्ती से मना कर सकते हैं।

5 – दोस्ती का बढ़ाएं हाथ

यदि आप किसी के प्रपोजल को स्वीकार नहीं कर रहे हैं तो उसे दोस्ती का ऑफर दे सकते हैं। हालांकि ये उसकी मर्जी है कि वो आपके ऑफर को स्वीकारता है या नहीं। लेकिन आप उसे यह एहसास दिला सकते हैं कि आपको उस इंसान से कोई दिक्कत नहीं है लेकिन अभी आप रिलेशनशिप में आने के लिए तैयार नहीं हैं।

नोट – ऊपर बताए गए बिंदुओं से पता चलता है कि यदि कोई व्यक्ति आपसे डेट के लिए पूछ रहा है और आप उसके साथ नहीं जाना चाहते हैं तो आप बेहद आसान तरीकों को अपनाकर उसके सम्मान को बिना ठेस पहुंचाए मना कर सकते हैं। ऊपर दिए तरीके आपके बेहद काम आ सकते हैं।

How to decline a date

Here at Think Productive we feel strongly about making meetings as productive as possible. So much so, that we offer Workshops such as effective meetings training. We know what it’s like, the numerous invitations that land in your inbox that you really would prefer not to attend. Now, this may be because of many reasons. Whether it is because the meetings are always boring or more legitimately, you’re up to your eyes in work and just don’t have the time. We all have to say “No” sometimes, and we are here to look at how you can do that, politely. Let’s start with looking at the meeting itself.

How to decline a date

Gauge Importance

Firstly, not all meetings can be declined. A lot of them are important, but there are generally plenty of meetings which don’t need your attendance.

So, deciding if the meeting itself is of value and worth attending for anyone should be the priority. What’s worse than wasting your time is wasting the whole team’s time. There are certain questions that can gauge whether the meeting is valuable or not.

  • Is the meeting set up with an organised structure that has a clear purpose and agenda?
  • Is the topic of conversation important and timely?
  • If progress is going to be made, are the right people going to be in the room?
  • Is there contextual information available to attendees in advance?

Can you add value?

If it’s decided that the meeting is indeed important, the next question should be if you are important to the meeting. Our Productivity Ninjas know that you can get invited for the sole purpose of making you ‘aware’ of what’s going on in a certain area or to update you on the progress of a project. These can be described as ‘For your information’ meetings. Ones in which you cannot, or are not, expected to contribute actual value but to only listen to updates. In these situations it is much better to spend the time on other work and get those involved to email you the latest action plan or even possible questions. A method that is discussed in our Email Etiquette Training.

The Ideal

Great meetings are when a problem has occurred and as such, a group is required to work together to create value and produce a solution. If the meeting is just about updating someone on the latest information, it’s likely to be more productive to email them or at least keep the meeting short and brief.

How to decline a date

Ways to say no

You realize that for whatever reason, you can’t or don’t want to attend the meeting proposed. Therefore, you’re going to have to reply saying no. Saying No, as we know, isn’t the easiest job to do, so here are some tips on how to politely decline your next meeting:

1) Be clear on your schedule

It’s common, especially when you hold a leadership position, to have a schedule of meetings outlined in advance. For example, sales meetings on a Monday, content meetings on a Tuesday, etc. By letting people in the office know you have a schedule outlined, they are less likely to ask outside of those times unless it is a pressing matter. This way you can always deflect meetings by replying
“Yes, I’m happy to discuss this with you. Can it wait and be included in the meeting we have scheduled on Thursday?”

How to decline a date

2) Just say no, kindly

There’s nothing wrong with saying no. More people should be saying it. It shows that your time is important and your co-workers will understand that. This way of rejecting a meeting is more direct, best used for meetings which do not require you or are not of relevance. This can be combined with the other methods however. For example, “Unfortunately, I am an unable to make that meeting because of existing commitments. However, please feel free to email me the report afterwards as well as any questions you may have.”

3) Suggest a different option

A meeting takes time out of people’s days, if there is a way to get the same result through a more efficient method, then that surely should be done. For example, they could email you questions in advance. An alternative to email could be arranging a 10-minute phone call to talk through it rather than spending an hour in a meeting. It could even be possible to send someone into the meeting instead. If you feel they are qualified and you’re confident they can add sufficient value. Chances are, everyone else will be thankful to cancel a meeting and catch up through a different forum.

4) Ask for a meeting report

This is probably the most common method when declining a meeting. Saying that unfortunately you’re not going to be able to make it, however you are interested in how the project is developing, so could they email you a report of what was discussed and concluded?

How do you decline a meeting invitation politely? Let us know in the comment box below or tweet us @thinkproductive

By Miles Singleton
Miles is Think Productive’s Editorial Content Producer.

How to decline a date

Accepting an invitation in English is easy. All you need to do is to let the host of the event know that you are able to attend. Sometimes, though, you might need to decline an invitation. Whether it’s because you already have another commitment or simply that you don’t want to go, you need to let the host know in a way that won’t upset him or her. It sounds tricky but it’s actually quite simple as long as you follow these guidelines.

Thank the host

Start by thanking the host for the invitation using a phrase like “Thank you so much for the invitation, I really appreciate it and it means a great deal.” It’s important to let the host know that you appreciate the invitation, even if you are going to decline it later.

Apologise for declining

You can say something like “Sorry I can’t attend” or “I’m afraid I’m not able to come.” These expressions work equally well in spoken or written English so you could use them on the phone or in an email.

Explain why you can’t attend

There are lots of reasons why you might not be able to attend an event. If have already accepted another invitation to an event at the same time, you can say “I’ve already got something on” or if you are too busy to attend, you can say “I’ve got too much on at the moment.” If you are in another city or country at the time of the event, you could say “I’m not in town on that day.”

Offer another time to meet

For informal invitations that you are unable to accept, you could offer an alternative time to meet. For example, if your friend asks you out for drink and you are unable to attend, you could say “I’m afraid I can’t make it on Friday. I’m available next week, though.” Don’t use this for formal events, though, as it would sound rude.

How to decline a date

Send a gift or card

If you need to decline an invitation to a formal event such as a wedding, it’s polite to send a card or gift anyway. A gift with a note explaining how sorry you are that you can’t be present lets the host know that you still care about his or her special event.

Remember, the main thing when declining an invitation is to be polite and tactful. Even if the event isn’t important to you, the fact that you have been invited to it shows that the host would like to share the event with you. Show your respect to the host and use these simple guidelines to make sure everything goes smoothly next time you need to decline an invitation.

Post related: Inviting someone over in English

I can attend some of the meetings I have been sent, but beyond a point in time, this will not be possible. Therefore I would like to remove all the meetings beyond this date.

Seemingly the only options are

  • decline all
  • decline one

The only solution I can think of is to wait until the last meeting has occurred, then remove the series, but why should I have to do that?

EDIT: some people seem to have not noticed that I am asking from the point of view as an invitee and NOT a meeting organiser

6 Answers 6

How to decline a date

Had the same issue (as attendee who did not organize it). In Outlook 365 app, I clicked on the Appointment in calendar view and at the ribbon bar a new tab Meeting Series occur with Recurrence where I can set the End Date.

How to decline a date

BUT I think in this case the meeting organizer is not informed, it’s just removed from my calendar!

You should be able to change the “End By” date within the recurrence settings of the series.

  1. Open the entire series of the meeting(s) in question.
  2. Open the Recurrence dialogue box. (see screenshot below)
  3. Select and change the End By date.

I’m using Outlook 2013, but you can Google “Recurrence tab + Outlook version” to work out where it’s located if your Outlook differs.

How to decline a date

How to decline a date

As the invitee (the person invited, not the organizer) it is still not possible to decline future meetings in MS Outlook / MS Office.

If you’re not the meeting organizer, you can’t edit the meeting details, so to remove all future meetings in a series from your calendar, you’ll need to delete the meeting series.

It worked on my mac book pro by going to outlook 2011 version 14.5.7, go to calendar. Open calendar-> see Home-> appointments series-> organize-> tools. Click on appointments series. Go onto the specific meeting/appointment/class, etc. You want to start by higlighting it then open your appointment screen and you have subject, location, starts, ends, and below that you have : recurrence :

For example: I have in my case a specific class every two weeks starting jan 09 /2014 and at the end of this line you have two little arrows (looking like they turn like a wheel). Click on it. You will have a pop up screen, then you choose from there the starting and ending times. (I had put unlimited) so I finally put an :”end time”

Hope it is clear and helpful ..(this is for outlook for mac)