How to Politely Turn Down Invitations in a Pandemic

Socializing has never been the same since the pandemic. Despite the increasing number of people getting vaccinated and cities easing on travel restrictions, some people are still not comfortable stepping outside their homes, and that’s completely valid.

But how do you politely turn down an invitation to weddings, birthday parties, and other social activities during these times?

How to Politely Turn Down Invitations in a Pandemic
Photo by cottonbro on

Say, “No, Thank you.”

It’s okay to decline an invitation. You shouldn’t feel bad about saying no, especially when health and safety are a concern. Thank them for inviting you, nonetheless, and affirm that you would attend if not for the pandemic. And if you’ve already said yes earlier on, inform them ASAP, so they aren’t too troubled about the last-minute changes.

Set Boundaries

“Anticipate receiving a negative reaction from the other person, especially if [they have] previously benefited from you not having boundaries,” Siobhan Flowers, Ph.D. told SELF. Without sounding offensive, explain to them why you aren’t comfortable attending and be honest about your reasons. Naturally, there will be some disappointment, but they should respect your decision.

Suggest other ways to reconnect

Large gatherings are out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid socializing altogether. You can’t criticize people for wanting to get back out there after being cooped up for so long.  And while nothing beats hanging out in real life, phone calls and video chats should suffice for the time being. Schedule a virtual hangout where you can catch up over drinks or watch a movie together.

Send a Gift

You might not be physically present at the occasion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your loved one a gift. Just as if you were attending, send them well wishes, as well as a thoughtful parcel. Thanks to online shopping, you can have it delivered straight to their doorsteps. It’s flattering to know you thought of them on their special day, and they’ll surely appreciate the gesture.

Navigating the new normal is not easy, and we’re all coping with the pandemic fatigue in our own ways. Until you feel safe to start seeing more people again, feel free to decline invitations.

Art Daniella Sison

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