We’ve been living through this pandemic for a LONG time now and some folks are understandably ready for life as we knew it to resume. While some are ready to be socializing again, not everyone is ready to attend in-person events and plenty of people will be completely understanding about that, but others will push back. They’ll insist their big event will be safe because it’ll be outside and everyone will wear a mask and be super safe, but what if you still don’t feel comfortable going? This is how to politely, but firmly, decline their invitation.
- Remember, we are still in a pandemic – Yes, we’re a few months into the vaccine rollout, but we’re not in the clear yet. So if someone gives you the old “but COVID is basically over” and says lots of guests will have had their first dose of the vaccine, don’t let it guilt you into going if you’re not comfortable. People do “have to live their lives,” but just because you’re not ready doesn’t mean “you’re making too much of this,” even if someone says you are.
- Don’t accept the invitation just to avoid conflict – It may be hard to tell your cousin you can’t go to her wedding, but don’t let the risk of potential conflict make you feel like you have to go. Unless your friends and family are actual experts on viruses or risk management, psychologist Dr. Aimee Daramus says try not to let their choices or views affect your health decisions.
- What to say when turning down the invitation – National etiquette expert Diane Gottsman recommends saying no as soon as possible and keeping it “short, sweet and polite.” Be sure to thank them for the invitation and say something like “Unfortunately, I’m still not comfortable traveling or being in crowds of any kind at this moment.” You can include that you appreciate their understanding and hopefully they will be understanding, but if not, you can feel good about declining in the best way possible and know you’re doing what’s right for you.