“Be honest, but you don’t have to go into a ‘My mom is staying with us and she has a health condition,'” Murray said.
Even more important: Skip the false excuses.
“It’s easy to make up a story to help alleviate the awkwardness of declining, but that can make things worse,” Youst said.
An easy example, Youst said, is a dinner invitation, where you lie about another commitment rather than just sharing that you feel uncomfortable. What’s to stop the host from just changing the date? As always, honesty is the best policy.
It doesn’t matter how many emojis you use – texting can come across as abrupt or rude, even if it wasn’t your intention.
“One thing that you never get through text or emails is tone of voice,” said clinical psychologist Deb Derrickson Kossmann. “Ideally you’d use FaceTime so that you can see facial expressions.”
You might be dreading the conversation, but don’t wait until the day before to RSVP. This is especially important for a wedding or other large event.
“You’re just extending the problem,” Youst said. “Tell them as soon as possible so that they can make other arrangements.”
For smaller occasions, like a birthday party, it’s okay to answer with a maybe _ as long as you have the conversation well in advance, and you’re actually considering going.