It’s flattering to be asked out on a date – but from time to time you know that it’s best if you don’t accept. So what’s the best way to turn down invitations without hurting or insulting the person who invited you?
Firstly, you need to determine whether you want to turn down the date because:
- the timing isn’t convenient
- you’re not interested in the particular event or venue
- or you’re not interested in the person who invited you
You may like to accept their invitation, but perhaps you have a previous commitment. If you need to turn down the date because it conflicts with another appointment on your schedule, then you can make this very clear in your refusal – that way they’ll know that it was only the timing that you’re refusing, not them. It’s OK to suggest an alternative that does work for you.
You may want to go out with the person who asked you, but you don’t want to attend that particular event – for instance, they may have invited you to the ballet, which you hate. If you really want to go out with him or her but not to the event or venue to which they’ve invited you, then it’s OK to be upfront about that as well. Hopefully they’ll suggest another option instead, such as a movie you’d both enjoy. It’s always better to be honest about your likes and dislikes, especially in the early stages of a relationship when you’re getting to know one another.
If you really don’t want to go out with the person who asked you, then here’s how you can refuse the date:
- Say ‘No, thank you’ politely but firmly. You don’t have to give them an excuse if you don’t feel comfortable doing so
- Never agree to go out with someone, when you have no intention of following through with it. This is extremely rude and will make things much more difficult for you later on, when you have to keep coming up with excuses for not keeping your promise. It’s much better to be upfront that you don’t want to go out with them
- Try to smile and keep your attitude positive (but respectful) when you turn down him or her. If you keep it light and friendly, then it won’t seem as big a deal when you tell them ‘No’
- Never laugh at someone who has asked you out. It takes a lot of courage to ask someone on a date, knowing that they can be turned down. Be respectful of them