We all encounter those awkward situations when someone unexpectedly invites you to something on the spot – that you have no interest in going to.
I always struggled with these invites because I never want to be rude, but I’m also terrible at faking enthusiasm. But I’ve found a way to be warm and polite, but still authentic.
When you are invited on the spot to an event you have no interest in attending, practice this reply: “Oh, that’s so nice of you to include me!” (Notice that you can compliment them without lying that the event sounds fun.) “I’ll have to check my schedule.” (This buys you time to come up with another pleasant decline, or for them to just forget about inviting you.)
Then stop. Don’t elaborate further, or you will find yourself rambling and veering toward lying. The more you explain, the less authentic it sounds.
This also works well if someone shares news with you that you really don’t care about. For example: “Today is my cat’s birthday! Here’s a picture of my cat with a hat on!” Reply: “Gosh, your cat is lucky to have such a loving human.”
Practice your own variations of deflection for different scenarios. And let us know some of your favorites that work well – firstname.lastname@example.org.