Thursday, June 13, 2013

"I'll Pass" and Other Phrases You Say to Friends

We've talked about saying "no" to your best friend before, but today I'm thinking about all those things you say to your friends that get you out of stuff without being in trouble. I have friends with different interests than me, and that's what keeps our friendship interesting. Being exactly the same would get pretty boring, don't you think?

However, this also means that I am often invited to things that aren't really my scene, whether it be a request to go clubbing or an invite to weekly Bible studies. These leave me stumped sometimes. How do I respond without offending my friend? How do I tell them I'm not interested without reducing their interests? Here are some key phrases that I find are typically used:

1. "I'll pass this time, but let me know the next time it happens." This gets you out on a time-to-time basis with no permanent solution.

2. "Thanks for inviting me, but I'm not sure I'd fit in. It's not really my scene." This acknowledges their kindness in thinking of you, and also lets them know that you're not really interested. However, it can kind of come off as cold. If their you're friends, though, they'll get it and move on.

3. "I'm busy––sorry!" Probably the worst way to respond ever. If you are busy, that's fine. But if you're not, you better find a way to be busy, or you're likely to be found out sooner or later. Do you really want to lie to your friend just so you don't have to listen to country music?

4. Almost as bad as number three is, "Maybe. I'll see if I can make it." This is incredibly vague and tells your friends that their consideration to ask you isn't appreciated and you're not extending the same courtesy to them.

5. "Seriously?" Exploding into the realm of friend-talk ever since Grey's Anatomy, you can use this over-used phrase (I secretly love it.) for sarcasm, anger, disbelief, and excitement. A catch-all, if you will. You avoid asking the first question, and in all likely-hood, it allows for a transition to a new subject.

6. Asking, "Is _________ going to be there?" puts the blame on someone else. You don't have to take the fall for not going. To be honest, it's a pretty cheap and cowardly one to pull, but can almost always garner some sympathy, as the invitee thinks you really want to go, but won't because of someone else. It's lame, don't use it.

Ultimately, it can be really difficult when your interests don't align with your friends. However, the next you're invited to a pole dancing class, Bible Study, or extreme political gathering, being honest might be your best bet. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this? I've encountered this recently with a friend who I don't get to see very often. How do I let her know I still want to see her, just not at this shindig? Any advice for salvaging friendships without going to stuff you don't like?

Image © Sarah Carlson Etc. 

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