How to Politely Decline an Invitation

Updated on October 04, 2008
J.S. asks from Plainfield, IL
5 answers

I know this is a weird request, but I'm trying to find out how other people handle this situation. I have received an invitation to a party that I would prefer not to attend because it is on a Sunday night and about an hour drive from where we live. It is a kids' party, but parents are invited, too. I know from past experience that when I call to decline the invitation, I will be grilled on why we can't go, what else we're doing, etc. It happens every time we get an invitation from this person. The invitation does not have an end time, just a start time and again from previous experience this has meant that this person expects us to stay really late which we can't do on a Sunday. So, what do you say to someone when you want to decline an invitation just because you don't want to go? I'm a bad liar, but if I just say "No, we won't be attending." I will be hounded for the next few weeks about why, what else are we doing, can't we reschedule the other thing, etc. Is there a way to decline that's polite, yet firm? Or do I have to be blunt since this person is not polite?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses. I guess I should add that this is an extended family member, not a friend. That's probably why she feels entitled to grill me about what we're doing. I will just stick to "No, it won't work for us" repeatedly until she leaves me alone.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

"Hi, " (so and so)...thank you for the invitation for your party. I just want to let you know that I'm sorry we are not able to attend but....I hope we can get together with the kids soon".

Why can't you come?

"It is just not going to work out for my family and I for Sunday night. Hopefully another day will be better. I hope you have a great party. "

If she persists, after you have said NO a third time would be just plain rude. If you have allowed her to grill you every time....don't allow it this time. Family time is just as important if you just decide to sit around, together, in pajamas all night. You are doing something just have decided NOT to do it with her. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I also have a 3 y/o and a 1 y/o. I learned early that messing with naps/bed times can be hell. So, we do things on our boys' schedule. If a party starts at 1pm, we tell the host that we will be there after the boys wake up from their nap. If something is too late in the evening, we are honest and say that Ryan goes to bed at 7pm and is kinda crabby/needy from 6:30 on.

Don't get me wrong, there are times that we have to be flexible about gatherings and if we are going to be late, we always tell the host and we don't expect them to hold off dinner or whatever for us.

So, just be honest that the time is too late for you/your kids. If she drills you, just ignore it and tell her you have to go and get off the phone.

Gosh, what a pain to have to deal with that! Good luck.



answers from Rockford on

I agree with the other posters about being honest. That is the only way to get her off your back when you decline. I think it is very rude of her to hound people like that and she does not sound like the greatest friend. I would simply tell her Sunday nights are bad for you because of the drive, the kids and your schedules, and you would not be able to stay long enough since it is a work night or whatever. Go ahead and be blunt or you will have to endure the hounding I'm afraid.


answers from Chicago on

First off, to hound and grill you for an answer doesn't sound like a very good friend. If she is a mom, I would think she would understand that you have a 3 and 1 year old that need to follow their schedules and a husband that works. Honestly, I would tell her that. Period. And if she brings it up, I would be firm yet again stating you aren't sure why you should have to reschedule a previous committment or cause havoc in your schedule - catch you next time. When we have got invited somewhere, I am honest. If the times don't work, they don't work. Period. Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

Send a card with a gift card for the child.

Next question: BBQ Disagreement with Hubby