How to politely decline social invitations to events during COVID-19
For weeks now, many people have been sheltering in place and limiting social contact with others to help curb the spread of the coronavirus during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Give yourself permission to decline. You’re allowed to make your own decisions about what you’re comfortable with. If you decide that a social gathering involves too much risk for you, it’s OK to say “No thank you.”
- Try to distance yourself from the need to be “right.” Your personal risk factors, as well as your perception of the level of risk, may differ from someone else’s. That’s OK. If your goal is to preserve the relationship, it’s best to begin from a non-judgmental place. Try to assume that everyone is just trying to do the best they can with a really challenging situation.
- Be polite, but assertive. It’s not necessary to go into detail about your reason(s) for declining, unless you want to. You don’t have to convince anyone else that you’re making the best decision for you.
- Give yourself permission to feel disappointed. Many of us are yearning for in-person interactions and social outlets. Feeling sad that you’re going to miss out on an opportunity to see people that you care about makes sense.
- Be upfront about your feelings. Let folks know that you care about them and you miss them. And, while you’re looking forward to being able to see them in person, you’re just not ready yet. Acknowledging your genuine desire to attend, while also maintaining fidelity to your own needs, will help you keep the lines of communication open.
- Offer an alternative idea. If you’re not comfortable engaging in one kind of social interaction, but you might be open to something else (smaller scale, a different setting, an alternate activity, etc.), let them know and try to arrange something else.