When you get the invitation, try a simple course of action and decline it as soon as you can. When declining the invitation, it is essential that you keep it as personal as possible, and decline it early, to make it appear genuine and inoffensive. For example, if you get an invitation to a wedding, you might call the hosts, or visit them personally, to offer your congratulations, and let them know how much you regret the fact that you won’t be able to make it, as you have a business trip scheduled for those dates.
Make sure you keep it simple when it comes to making excuses. When you are trying to get out of an event, you don’t need to come up with elaborate stories, like how your mother’s uncle’s third cousin passed away. Keep it uncomplicated, and base your excuse on the real reason for your decision to decline the invitation. For example, if you would rather take your family out for dinner the night of the event, tell your host you have a “prior commitment”.
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Work and illness are generally the most credible excuses when it comes to declining an event, or getting out of it after you have already accepted the invitation. Work usually tends to be the safer excuse, as you do not need to offer proof of it (just don’t get spotted out and about in town when you should be “working”), while sickness will require you to put in more effort and look ill and pale, particularly if the person who invited you is someone you see every day.
To compensate for your absence, it would be a thoughtful and touching gesture if you sent a present instead – however, you can only do this for big celebratory events, like weddings. Sending a gift, before the event, to the people who invited you, will show them that you care, and are genuinely sorry for not being able to attend.
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