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How to Say No Politely to an Invitation or Request

Learn how to say no politely to an invitation or request from manners expert Faye de Muyshondt in this Howcast video.


Hi. I'm Faye de Muyshondt from Social Skills here to teach you how to say no to an invitation or a request. So this is a tricky topic, and I find that a lot of people get into the position where they feel like they need to tell a little white lie, which is absolutely not necessary. So if you were to get an invitation, and you're not able to attend or you don't want to attend, you can easily say, "No, but thank you very much for this lovely invitation." Just be sure that you actually respond, because so many people get into the position where they don't know how to handle saying no, so they actually don't respond. Be sure that you respond. And saying no is absolutely fine. In fact, saying no is one of the most important things that you can do in your lifetime. Not all of us can say yes to everything, and being able to say no is very empowering.

So let's say that you get an invitation to hang out with someone. Someone calls you to hang out, and you just really don't want to hang out with this person. What I would suggest saying is, "Thanks so much for the invitation. I'm not able to go, but I hope you have a really good time." Or, "Thanks so much for the invitation. I appreciate it, but I'm not able to be there today." So if it's a situation where you really do genuinely want to hang out with this person or go out on a date with this person, you might say, "No. I can't. I've got plans tonight. But I'd love to set up another time that we could meet or hang out." That just shows that you're interested in spending time with this person and not flat-out saying no to the person.

So there's easy ways to handle how to say no to an invitation or a request. But most importantly be sure that you say no and don't evade handling the situation that you're saying no to, and that you say it and mean it. So often people are inclined to make something up as to why they can't be somewhere or be able to manage a request from someone else. But these days with social media, it's so easy to get caught in those little white lies. So I absolutely don't suggest making anything up. Just say no. We all need to say no every now and again, and we can't make it to everything. Throughout our lives we'll be asked to go places, to do things. We'll be asked to do so many things for other people. And it's really important to just be able to say no.

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