Declining an invite - do you feel you must give a reason?

I’ve had that, I’ve just said I don’t like going out at night and get tired after work and want to get home and relax, that it’s “not my thing” to go out after work. There’s a difference between being pressed for a reason, or needing to give one to stave off alternative suggestions or to explain some (real) commitments or preferences that mean you are unlikely to accept that type of invitation if it’s renewed and making up a load of nonsense and not giving the firm “no” that you know is the real answer.

Perfect! I don’t need constant phone calls (that’d I’d bounce) to be asked to go listen to bagpipes. If you can’t remember that I don’t like bagpipes, or phone calls, then you’ll find yourself blocked by me pretty darn soon anyway.

I pretty much always provide a reason for my rejection.

“Um, no thanks. I’m not interested / too many people’ll be there / it’s too far away / I don’t feel like it / it’s not my kind of thing / that sounds awful / you already knew I’d say no, you said so yourself.”

My friend Mike recently invited us to a hastily planned Saturday night of drunken debauchery. It’s a great crowd, and we’d normally attend, but prior plans messed with us. I texted back, “sorry, can’t, it’s that time of the month”. Fast forward two weeks after the get-together, Mike texts me asking what that meant.

Nope. Your stock answer is my stock answer. At most, if pressed, I’ll say “prior commitment” or “something came up”.

I do not agree.

If someone is manipulating you emotionally in order to force you to do things you don’t want to do then you are in an abusive relationship.

If someone asks you, as a favor, to attend something they deem important, then it would be fine to put your feelings aside and attend for their benefit. But to just schlump along out of fear of reprisal is no way for anyone to live.

The work thing is a special exception. Although I have found that going to one or two, when you first join, shows you are willing. You can then pick and choose the less horrific ones to put in an appearance.

My company has summer and holiday parties and we hardly notice if someone doesn’t go (I am a senior manager and we’ve never paid attention to this). If this is a “career killer” where you work then you have a toxic workplace.

There is a fine line between normal compromise in a relationship and being under a control freak. Your first sentence sounds like the former and your second sentence sounds like the latter.

No. To paraphrase Lora Brody’s excellent quote about refusing alcohol: For any number of reasons, a person may refuse an invitation. The reason does not have to be explained to anyone, including the inviter.