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How to Politely Decline Social Events

Woman saying no.

When you start university, there’s a good chance you’ll be invited to more social events than ever before. It may be tempting to say yes to everything — after all, it’s less awkward than turning down an offer and it’s a chance for a new experience. However, as time goes on, you’ll find it becomes difficult to keep up with such a pace. At some point, you’ll need to prioritize what matters most to you, which means learning how to decline invitations without being rude.

1. Choose Your Friends Wisely

People who are worth being friends with will understand there may be times when you’re unable to go out. They won’t pressure you to come with them to events if you explain you have a class early the next morning, a paper to finish, or a test to study for. Furthermore, having supportive friends will be beneficial when times are tough. They will be there to offer advice and reassurance, rather than just wanting to spend time with you when they want to have fun.

2. Make Academics Your Priority

Make sure your friends know from the start that you’re at university to study. Of course, you’ll need to take breaks and socialize at times — and you’ll have plenty of opportunities. However, you’re at university to earn your degree — and you’ll only be successful if you give your classes priority. Surround yourself with people who are committed to putting academics first and who will understand if you’re unable to go out.

3. Remind Yourself of the Consequences

It’s more difficult to say no to an invitation if it does sound appealing, even if you know you shouldn’t go. To avoid making a bad decision, remind yourself of what could happen as a result. For instance, if you go to a party instead of staying home, you may feel stressed that you didn’t study enough or your grade may suffer. If you continuously make such decisions, there will be long-term consequences, including how long it takes you to graduate, whether you graduate at all, and what kind of job you’re able to find.

4. Never Flip Flop

Make sure your friends know that, once you’ve turned down an invitation, you won’t change your mind later. This will prevent them from pestering you if the event taking place is particularly exciting, especially if they want to join. The exception to this is if your schedule changes, such as if you end up finishing a paper early or your boss cancels your shift at work.

5. Schedule Events When You Do Have Time

To maintain friendships, you need to spend time together. If you’re unable to make it to an event, find another date when you and your friends all have free time. It doesn’t matter whether you can spend a whole weekend together, hang out in your apartment one evening, or just grab a coffee between classes — the important thing is to show your friends you do appreciate them.

It’s extra difficult to decline invitations when you live on campus, as social events are often happening right on your doorstep. You’ll have the peace and quiet you need to study without distractions if you move into student rentals. Waterloo has King Street Towers. It’s still just steps from campus; plus, if you need a break from studying, you can invite friends over or meet new people in places like the games rooms or at the rooftop fire pit. Book your tour now.

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