As an introvert, one of my main struggles in life has been figuring out how to tactfully weasel my way out of social obligations. Over the years, I’ve tried several different excuses on for size, with varying degrees of success.
The tricky part is trying not to sound like an anti-social jerk, while also preserving the other person’s feelings. The honest reason (umm … that sounds painful and boring and I’d rather stay at home and make turtle memes all night) just won’t cut it.
We’re supposed to dress up our excuses with frilly and totally false segues like “I’d love to, but …” or “too bad, it sounds like fun, but …”
The truth is, you wouldn’t love to. It doesn’t sound like fun. You haven’t the slightest interest in participating. But you can’t say that. So, you’ve got to come up with some sort of excuse that doesn’t make you sound too lame. Bonus points if it seems important and/or urgent.
So, in case you’re ever in a pinch for reasons to avoid socializing, I’ve listed some tried-and-true favorites.
I’d love to, but I have homework
I really milked this one during high school and college. In fact, it’s probably the main reason why I got decent grades. I didn’t actually like doing homework. In fact, I avoided doing homework almost as much as I avoided going to house parties. Almost.
This excuse has its flaws. People could label you as “lame”, “boring” or “nerdy”. But at least it sounds important. It’s also top of the list for getting out of awkward family gatherings. Even old gramps will be understanding if you sneak away to work on a school assignment that’s due soon.
Thanks for the invitation, but I have to work
I’ve discovered that one of the main perks of working for myself is that I can use this excuse whenever I want and it’s usually true. I always have work to do, and my office is my laptop. Plus, I actually love what I do. Best. Excuse. Ever!
The downside is that people start to think you’re a workaholic with no life, which is one reason why you should consider breaking out the ol’–
That sounds fun, but I already have plans for that day/evening
Yeah, maybe said plans are to stay home and re-watch The Hunger Games with Fritz the cat. So what. Most people won’t bother to ask you what you’re actually going to do. A little bit of mystery never hurt anyone.
For all they know you could have a hot date, or another more happening party to go to. Or maybe you’re part of a new-age cult that has their weekly meeting that night. Let them wonder.
Thanks for thinking of me, but I need some me time
This is pretty much the same as saying, “I need some alone time”, but somehow “me time” sounds more PC and important. You can thank the media for this. “Me time” brings to mind images of bubble baths, and red wine by the fire. “Alone time” stirs up thoughts of empty rooms, closed doors, and crossed arms.
Of course, this is just perception. For an introvert, alone can be ecstasy. Hopefully, one day people will get that. Until then, let them imagine you sipping wine by the glow of a fire as you luxuriate in some much deserved “me time”.
To be honest, now that most of my friends know I’m an introvert, I don’t have to come up with so many frilly excuses. They get it. I don’t want to go, because, well, I just don’t. It’s not because I think they suck or I’m anti-social.
But lately I’ve been around lots of new people who don’t get my introverted ways yet. So, for now, “I have to work” has become my go-to excuse for not going out more.
What about you? What do you say when you want to avoid a social obligation, but don’t want to sound lame or rude?