We’ve all encountered a situation where we receive a dinner invitation but cannot attend for one reason or another. How can you dismiss the invitation without coming across as impolite or uninterested? Here’s how to decline a dinner invitation while remaining friendly, casual, and considerate.
How to Decline a Dinner Invitation?
1. Be sincere:
Honesty is typically valued. Just be upfront about your decision if you can’t make it to the dinner. It demonstrates your respect for the person who extended the invitation and their effort. You can say, “Thank you for inviting me, but I have plans for that evening.”
2. Show gratitude for the invitation, even if you can’t attend.
This conveys your appreciation for their kindness and respect for being considered. A straightforward “I appreciate the invitation, but I’m unable to join you this time” is perfect.
3. Keep it brief:
When declining, there’s no need to provide a lengthy justification. Simply keep it short and to the point. Shorter responses seem more sincere and less like you’re trying too hard.
4. Offer an alternative:
Suggest a different time or activity if you can’t attend the dinner. This shows your interest in connecting with the person and that you’re not brushing them off. Try saying, “I can’t make it to dinner, but how about we grab coffee next week?”
Adding a heartfelt apology can improve the politeness of your response and demonstrate your appreciation for the host’s effort in organizing the event. For example, say, “I’m sorry I can’t make it to the dinner.”
6. Use a friendly tone:
Maintain an approachable and casual tone in your message. This softens the decline and makes your message more relatable. Avoid using formal or stiff language.
7. Respond promptly:
As soon as you can, reply to the dinner invitation. A quick response is courteous and gives the host enough time to adjust their plans or, if necessary, invite someone else.
8. Stay connected:
Tell them you’re still hoping to see them soon if you can’t make it to the dinner. This demonstrates your appreciation for their company and your desires to stay in touch.
9. Choose your words carefully:
Be mindful of your phrasing to avoid coming across as dismissive or indifferent. Instead of saying, “I don’t want to come,” opt for, “I’m unable to join you.”
Here’s an example of a polite decline:
Thank you for inviting me to dinner on [Date]. I’m honored to be considered and sincerely appreciate your kind gesture. However, I won’t be able to attend due to a prior commitment. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I’d love to see you soon, though. Why don’t we come up with another plan? Maybe we can meet for coffee or lunch next week if it works for you. Let me know what you think!
Thanks again for the invitation, and I hope we can catch up soon.
Declining a dinner invitation doesn’t have to feel awkward or stressful. Remember to maintain a friendly and casual demeanor while being honest, polite, and timely. With these tips, you can handle such situations gracefully and keep your relationships strong.