Declining a social invite

Don’t want to make it sound as tho the wife and I are social butterflies, needing to pick and choose among our many options for filling our crowded social calendar. But wondered what you thought about how to decline repeated dinner invites from someone you’s prefer to remain friendly with.

My wife and kids are in an organization that includes this woman and her son. They get along just fine within that organization and its activities. But she has been asking us over to dinner and we don’t want to accept. Thoughts on how to decline yet keep a positive relation in their organization activities?

Bottomline, none of us likes her husband, and none of us really like the wife and son outside of my family’s shared interest with them. Add in that we don’t care for her cooking. We went to their place for dinner once, and had them over in return, and over the summer went to a pool/water park with them. So we’ve given it a chance.

I don’t actively dislike these people, but I’d rather stay home and read a book or do any number of other things (or nothing) than socialize with them. So how do you politely communicate to someone that you don’t want more of a relationship with them than a certain level?

(The woman doesn’t seem very adept at getting a hint of the “Gee, we’re really busy the next couple of months” sort.)

I’d tell them that you are very busy, and that you are lucky to have time to participate in your organization. You may have to repeat this over and over again, but eventually they will stop asking.

Yeah, I’m not sure there’s anyway around this other than repeatedly and politely declining, rinse, repeat. There’s simply no gracious way to say “I won’t ever be coming over for dinner, thanks, so stop asking!”

The only thing to add to that is avoid saying anything encouraging when asked. Don’t lie and say “maybe another time.”

Yeah, you just have to keep graciously declining. “Oh, thank you for inviting us, but we won’t be able to attend.” Rinse, repeat.

Thanks all.
These folk seem really resistant to taking a hint.
I guess I must have done an exceptionally impressive job of appearing pleasant that they would even think of extending another invite.

Just don’t, you know, invent excuses. They know you don’t have fourteen grandmothers who have all slipped off this mortal coil in the last six months. (And if they do, they should call the cops, because you probably did it.)

Nothing to take the hint about. You’ve already socialized with them outside of the group. They had a good time. They think you did too.

You don’t want anymore of it? Like everyone else said, just keep refusing politely. Eventually, they won’t ask anymore.

The best brush-off I ever got was from a couple that Mr. Athena and I wanted to be friendlier with. We asked them over for dinner a couple times, and they told us “we just don’t really ever do much socializing, we’re just not that sort of people.” I thought it a bit odd, but accepted it and we only saw them when we ran into them at mutually shared activities.

As it turns out, they’re the types who take a long time to warm up to people, but when you’re in, you are IN. Eventually they decided we were OK, and nowadays they’re calling us all the time, coming over, inviting us over, etc. etc. I still giggle when I think about how they brushed us off for like the first 2 years we knew them when I see the caller ID and am like “sheesh, they’re calling us AGAIN?!?” :smiley:

“Gosh, we’re just crazy busy in December. Let me call you after the holidays.”

From the other side, we have a couple of friends that have always accepted invitations to come over or go out for dinner or otherwise socialize, and somehow something always comes up so they have to cancel at the last minute. We are not socially retarded, so we have stopped asking them - they are perfectly friendly to us in every other way, and it might simply be a series of unfortunate coincidences, but you only ask people so many times before you just stop. Here’s hoping your acquaintances get it pretty quickly. :slight_smile:

ETA: I forgot to say, we bear them no ill will - socializing with them just didn’t work out.

The best way to decline politely is to decline pleasantly but without an excuse. At most you can say you have plans. Sooner or later they will stop asking, unless they have terrible social skills or are desperate for company.

You didn’t ask but I’m going to suggest you consider accepting the invitation every once in a while, once or twice a year. Here’s why. You can never have too many friends. I socialize all the time with families of my children’s friends that I wouldn’t think of twice if our kids weren’t friends, but it works well to create a community. We aren’t all bosom buddies but we do all help each other (car pools, etc.). After all, nobody’s perfect, and I’m sure I have qualities that annoy my friends sometimes.

Maybe you can meet on neutral territory, like a casual restaurant. Solves the cooking problem at least. :slight_smile:

You don’t say why you don’t like them, so I can’t tell how much pain would be involved; that, of course, is your call. Just a thought–you get out of these things what you put into them.

This is what I fear, but we’ll see.

The family is husband, wife, and college freshman son. Wife and son participate in this activity with my wife and 3 kids. AFAICT, every member of my family thinks the husband is a pompous ass. Just really rubs us all the wrong way such that we would prefer not to associate with him - especially not in a small group where it is especially difficult to not take his “clever” remarks personally.

Stupid little example (reporesentative of countless such), when they were over for dinner we had several things to drink, but apparently not his favorite - Coke. I don’t know about you, but when I welcome someone into my home, I really don’t need to hear more than 3 or 4 times how much he REALLY wished he had a Coke. And if I am going to insist on a particular drink, I either tell my hosts ahead of time or bring it myself.

The 2 adults dote on their son, who also seems to have a really high opinion of himself. The kind of person who seems to like little more than to tell you of his tremendous accomplishments, while in the process flaunting his lack of meaningful experience or common sense. Always eager to tell how brilliant he is, while ready for an excuse of why the “stupid teacher” was responsible for his poor grade or whatever.

Both the husband and son’s idea of conversation seems to be them taking turns telling lengthy “amusing” stories about their cleverness and accomplishments. One thing in their favor, it is never difficult making conversation in their presence, because all you need to do is listen to them.

And the woman is a HORRIBLE cook, so getting together with them does not even provide the promise of a good meal.

Maybe I’m being unfair. And maybe I’ve had similar (or worse) things said about me. But I have not seen ANY positive side to familiarity with them. To the contrary, the more we are together, the more likely it is that I will reveal my least-pleasant side, potentially interfering with my family’s ability to interact pleasantly with them in their activity.

I’ll agree with most everybody else and say just keep saying no and they will eventually stop. But I have to add to that…

Firstly. I would bet that the wife is trying really hard to find some people that her husband and child can socialize with. She may will feel like she has to work at making friends for them. Not that that is your problem but if she is a nice person then maybe you could give her a break once in a while and let her feel like she has a little social life. I’m just guessing.

Secondly, it never hurts to get out and socialize sometimes, even if it isn’t as fun as staying home. I can tell you, if you keep refusing invitations they do eventually stop. Think of it as practice. My wife and I tend to say no all the time becasue we are homebodies. Then we look around sometimes and go “wow, we haven’t been to a party in a long time!”

I think this is very likely the case. Tho I also think the wife is pretty impressed with her men, and sorta on the socially inept side.

Yeah, my wife and I are pretty much “homebodies” as well. Not at all big on parties. Our favorite “entertaining” is dinners/conversation with 1-3 other couples. Had my whole family over the day after Thanksgiving (25-ish) and that was WAY more than either of us like. We do seem to end up exchanging dinner invites with just the same 2 or 3 couples, but we’d generally rather stay home than associate with folk whose company we don’t like.

And I have a kind of nasty judgmental streak which I am aware of and try to keep low. But I’ve learned that I am better off not putting myself in situations where I am liable to show my least complimentary side.

Really appreciate the thoughts, guys.

Well, OK, he’s an asshole. Case closed.