How To Politely Decline Holiday Invitations During COVID-19

How To Politely Decline Holiday Invitations During COVID-19

Did you receive an invitation or two to some holiday gatherings? Are you having trouble declining these invitations without saying something like, “Why would I gather with a bunch of strangers when COVID-19 cases are at an all time high?” It’s easy to respond this way because, if you’re like most people, you are frustrated with 2020. You don’t want to be tempted to do things that you shouldn’t do and bite people’s heads off because of it. 

Keep this in mind: an invitation is not an order. It’s not like you are being summoned for jury duty. You don’t have to make up an excuse to decline an invitation in this day and age. The person or people who invite you to gatherings want you to be there, otherwise they wouldn’t invite you. The love for you is there, but you want to stay safe and follow public health recommendations. You don’t want to attend a potential super spreader event where all of your friends contract COVID-19. After all, there have been more than 250,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States. 

How To Politely Decline An Invitation

Letting someone down is never easy, but declining an invitation does not let someone down, especially during the pandemic. If the people who invite you are truly your friends, they will understand and respect your decision, no matter what it is. The most important thing you can do is to inform the person that you cannot accept the invitation as soon as possible. The quicker the response, the better. We have more tips on how to politely decline a holiday invitation below. 

Always Use “I” Statements When You Decline

It’s almost too easy to shame someone for throwing a holiday party in the middle of a pandemic. The last thing you want to say is something like, “Why would I attend your party? Are you trying to jeopardize the health of your friends?” It’s better, and more polite, to say something like, “I would love to attend, but I’m just not comfortable going to any gatherings right now. I hope you guys stay safe.” This raises concern about the party without judging your friends.

Keep It Short And Sweet

There’s no need to drag out your reason for declining the invitation. You aren’t spinning the yarn to entertain people; you’re declining a party invite. Keep it short and to the point, and don’t make them feel bad for having a party. You cannot control how others live their lives, and you have to be comfortable with your own decision to decline. Use the aforementioned tip to decline the invitation.

Don’t Expect People To Accept your Decision

You should get ready for a negative response when you decline the invitation. This is a natural response because people just want to be with each other. We’ve spent so much time apart and people are ready to party with friends, even if that means dramatically increasing their risk of COVID-19. Accept the response, whatever it is, just as your friends or family accept your response. It may be difficult, but acceptance brings relief. 

Offer Another Way To Celebrate Without

If you plan to decline whatever holiday party invitations come your way, offer an alternative way to celebrate. Not only is is this a respectful way to decline, but it also shows the person that you want to be with them; the circumstances simply prevent that from happening. Propose the idea of a Zoom lunch or a present opening session over FaceTime. You can also do a holiday breakfast cook off and suggest a secret ingredient that you have to incorporate into the dish. 

A Phone Call Is Always Better Than A Text

This may be a little old-fashioned, but it’s good to connect and hear inflection or tone of voice. It’s too easy to misinterpret a text based on wording, whereas a phone call allows you the opportunity to explain your reasoning or situation. The phone call that’s about you declining a holiday invitation may turn into an hour-long conversation that catches you up on everything that’s been happening in the other person’s life. That’s a beautiful thing! After all, holiday parties are all about catching up and socializing, which you can easily do over the phone.