Guest Post: How to Decline an Invitation without Hurting Feelings

I was financially compensated to publish this guest post. Please read my Full Disclosure Policy here.

sad inviteeWe all love getting invitations to help our friends and family celebrate special occasions, but there are times when our schedules just will not allow us to accept every invitation we receive.  When those times happen, it can be difficult to decline the invitation without hurting someone else’s feelings.  However, there are ways to lessen the sting when you have to decline.

When you receive an invitation that you need to decline, you should pay attention to whom the party is for.  If you are quite close with the person, you may need to find a way to attend because declining in any way will hurt your loved one’s feelings.  If the event is for someone you do not really know, or have never been close to, simply respond politely letting them know you cannot attend as soon as possible.  People plan their events around those who respond, and it is common courtesy to let them know on time.

The first step in declining an invitation is to respond in kind.  If you receive an invitation for a special, infrequent event such as a baby shower, it’s important to pay attention to instruction.  Most of these invitations will that include an RSVP card, so make sure to send the card back as requested.  While you may feel better calling to try to explain why you cannot attend, there is the possibility that your message may be forgotten if it is not included with the other guests’ RSVP’s.  If the invite was issued verbally in person or over the phone, you should let the host or hostess know in the same manner.

You also need to be prompt in your response.  It is very inconsiderate to wait until the day before, or the day of an event to decline the invitation.  A prompt response allows the host to replace if necessary.  When sending your response, you need to tell the truth.  If your schedule is already crammed full, simply respond with a note saying that you regret not being able to attend, but you have a prior engagement.  If you cannot attend due to financial or other personal reasons, a short note explaining that you have personal engagements is acceptable.

We all love attending special occasions, but sometimes our busy schedules will simply not allow us to accept every invitation we are given.  If you take the time to respond as soon as possible, and be gracious about receiving the invite, most people will understand.

Heather is an amateur party planner – the self-proclaimed ‘binder ninja’!  She occasionally consults on invitation etiquette and use for PaperStyle, and recently started her own party planning blog, Party Smarty Online.

I was financially compensated to publish this guest post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment to Guest Post: How to Decline an Invitation without Hurting Feelings

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