Life is crazy-busy
If you’re a millennial, your life is busy… Like, crazy-busy. And it ain’t slowing down any time soon. I think we secretly love being busy, but sometimes the over-engineered weekends can get a bit much (check out this fab article about millennial burnout). Swinging by the local cafe for brunch and waiting waaaay too long for Insta-perfect food that honestly tastes a bit meh, rolling onto a lazy afternoon BBQ, then making an appearance at a baby shower, and then finally off to a mate’s farewell (isn’t this Jack’s 3rd “move” overseas?). The events for our week are endless. This can be a lot of fun, but also a tad tiring at times when they all pile up at once.
Saying no to invites can feel like a bit of a cop-out when you just want a break. But you feel guilty because you are picking and choosing who you see or what activity you want to do rather than honouring the invite you received in the first place. And yes parents, kids’ birthday parties are probably low on that list unless there is the promise of white bread and butter smothered with sprinkles (ah nostalgia).
Here’s how to say no to invites like a Millennial. Without that feeling you get when you walk out of a Target having bought nothing, but convinced the alarms will go off anyway (faux guilt).
1. Say no fast
You get the invite, roll your eyes or scan your calendar and realise this invite is a MUCH better offer OR you have already committed to another event (even if that event is a couch day doing sweet nothing or for me, writing). Whether you can cobble together a decent excuse or not, as soon as you receive the invite, respond stat! Send a DM or SMS to the host letting them know you can’t make it. Or if it’s a phone call, confidently say that you’re booked out for that day/time.
Rip that band-aid off and say no. Saying “I’ll get back to you” when you know it’s a no is a waste of everyone’s time. Be decisive and own it. It’s your life and your time. Not theirs (seriously).
Saying no fast communicates confidence and the host has a higher chance of believing you if you have something else planned. The host will respect that you let them know ASAP. And it’s much better than if you send a sheepish text 6 hours later when you REALLY don’t want to go or a week of back and forth mundane follow-ups.
What to say: Sorry! I’m already booked! Another time?
2. Say it when you 100% know you can’t go (not when you feel ready to!)
“Ah, but what if they get annoyed that I can’t come?”
“Crumbs. I said I would go but I’m 1000% double booked…”
“ Ugh so-and-so will be there, let’s not run into them…”
Whatever the reason is, once you know you can’t go, jump on the net or phone and let the host know. A few messages back and forth now is better than being a no-show or letting them know at the last minute when they have booked a restaurant or purchased food and drinks assuming you’ll be joining them.
What to say: Thanks for the invite, I’ve tried every way to squeeze it in but I can’t make it to this one. Have fun anyhoo! Would love to catch up with you soon.
3. Ditch the excuses unless asked
Concocting excuses in your head as to why you can’t make because you don’t actually have a genuine one? Forget it. Just say no. It’s enough. Like when you call in sick at work – no one needs to know how many pills you took or what the Doctor said. A simple “I was just under the weather and feeling a bit meh” will suffice for 99% of the office. For the other 1%, repeating the same line will shut them up.
For invites, simply saying you are already booked will suffice. For those that dig for specifics you can follow up with “ah sorry, we booked that date weeks ago. If it falls through I will be sure to let you know! Have fun regardless =)”. Close off the discussion. They don’t NEED to know what you are up to.
Create a new habit of saying no without reasons. You can do it.
Ditch the old way: Sorry I can’t make it as I have to xyz. Annoying right? I would much rather be at your event!
New way: Sorry I’m already booked!
4. Don’t be rude and leave it until the last-minute
As someone who loves entertaining, a last-minute cancellation is more than annoying. I get that kids get sick and whatnot, but if they were up all night, an SMS sent at 8 a.m is better than one sent at 2 p.m. Parent yourself, and say no when you know it’s a no. Again, even if you can’t provide a detailed reason, just say no. If you genuinely like them and want to hang out but can’t at that moment, rebook the next catchup or at least pencil one in.
It will save your hosts from preparing for a catch-up with a person who won’t show. This includes if they plan their day around it, buying food and drinks, dressing up and so on. Last-minute cancellations scream “I don’t value your time”. Don’t be that person. Say no as early as possible. And don’t say yes, when you kinda know you will back out later. Agree to a date or event that works for you.
If you know you are likely to cancel on showing up to events or catch ups, accept the invites where there is more than one person. That way if you do cancel, the group can still meet up. Or say you can pop in for 30 minutes, but then have to head off. Making an “appearance” is an easy way to check in with your friends, but doesn’t require you chatting with people for hours or spending money you don’t have. Even if it’s a beverage before the movie or dinner date and quick hello, anything small can keep the friendship ticking along.
5. When you don’t know if you want to say yes or no
Weighing up the positives and negatives of going can be an endless circle. If your initial gut reaction is no, go with that. Even if you can’t articulate in words why you can’t go. Your body is a smart cookie and sometimes just needs a break. If you are unsure if you should make the effort, here are some ways to assess if the effort is worth it.
- Do you like these people?
If it’s a no, don’t waste your time. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Seriously. If you have to see these people intermittently, pick and choose the events and only attend the key annual ones. You don’t need to go to every BBQ, baby shower or birthday.
- Do they need you there?
If your bestie is having a housewarming and feels a little bit nervous about everyone showing up then you know what the answer is. Get up and get dressed.
- Have you seen this person/people recently?
If you saw them last weekend you probably don’t need to see them again 7 days later. If you’re not going to see them for another 6 months, make the effort.
- Is it a wedding?
Make a special effort for weddings. They usually end up being fun with speeches and cake (yasss!) and are usually a once in a lifetime event, especially for the ones getting married. And RSVP on time! Please!
- Is it a funeral?
Go. It is better to help people out when they are grieving than when they are celebrating. Even if you hardly chat with the family on the day. Your presence there can mean more than you realise.
- Are funds too tight?
Saving for that house deposit? Or skint until that next paycheck? You are 100% allowed to say no. Money management is something we don’t talk about enough as Millennials. Chasing that big financial goal will take some sacrifices along the way, but an arvo at the pub can be given a miss or a weekend away with the girls.
- Just don’t feel like it?
If you genuinely feel like once you get there you will have fun, go. However, if your brain is feeling a little tired and a general feeling of malaise sets in, say no. Too often, us Millennials want to be “on” all the time and have real FOMO. If you simply don’t feel like it, you are allowed to say no. Just don’t be a dick about it (see points 1-4 above).
And lastly, look after yourself. Stretching yourself thin and trying to please everyone will end up with you pleasing no one. Schedule time with others, but make sure you also schedule time with yourself.