Life can easily feel overwhelming when you’re an introvert. Social interactions that feel simple for many people, can make you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Even the idea of taking part in certain social events can be exhausting and emotionally draining. While some social functions cannot be missed, such as business meetings, there are social gatherings […]
Life can easily feel overwhelming when you’re an introvert. Social interactions that feel simple for many people, can make you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Even the idea of taking part in certain social events can be exhausting and emotionally draining.
While some social functions cannot be missed, such as business meetings, there are social gatherings that it is totally okay for you to say no. However, it may feel almost as uncomfortable to you to reject the invitation as to attend the party or event. It is important to know when to put your own needs ahead of others and have a plan to assert yourself.
If you are an introvert that generally has a hard time saying no to invitations, here are some ways you can do it kindly:
We tend to feel a lot of pressure to give myriad details on why we can’t accept an invite to an event. If we don’t have a “good enough” excuse, some of us will blatantly lie. This leads to more problems, as the lie compromises our integrity and makes us feel worse.
There is no need to lie and no need to give more details than necessary. You can simply say, “Thanks so much but I already have plans.” This is true because we all have plans all of the time. You may plan on doing the laundry that night or watching Game of Thrones while eating pistachio ice cream (which is a great plan, BTW). There is no need for others to validate your plans, you have a right to choose.
Before saying “no,” be gracious and thank the person very much for inviting you in the first place. It will make the other person feel good that they made you feel good by thinking of you. You can always appreciate the intention of kindness while saying no to the activity. You might even counter with a proposal that feels more comfortable to you, “thank you for the invitation to your birthday party, I appreciate you thinking of me. I can’t make the party, but I would love to take you out for lunch to celebrate.”
Practice What to Say
It’s easy to say no in a text or email, but sometimes in person saying no can feel incredibly awkward. The best thing to do is just practice saying, “Thank you so much for asking, but I already have plans that day/evening.” Even better find your own words to summarize appreciating the offer and declining, so that it comes out naturally and so that you feel at ease saying it.
One caveat to this is to make sure that you really want to say no and it doesn’t become your default. Before saying no to an invitation weigh the pros and cons. Saying no is safer, but you might miss out on some great opportunities. Consider how much you have planned for that week, and the balance of alone time and social activities. Being introverted can get pretty lonely at times if you always choose the comfortable option. Saying yes once in a while may not be as bad as you think. You can always choose the less overwhelming opportunities and say no the huge, loud party. You never know the kind of fun you could have or new friends you could make.
If you are an introvert who is feeling isolated and lonely, but finds that you are too anxious to be social, therapy can help. Contact me today for a free consultation session!