With the cost of living causing concern for so many and people really having to tighten their belts and think about what they’re spending money on, it’s always a tricky one when we get invited to something social, particularly over the summer where there are likely to be weddings, barbecue’s, different social gatherings.

It’s a lovely thing to be invited to a wedding and I suspect most of us feel very grateful to be included in somebody’s celebrations however we also know that there can be great expense attached to such an invite. If the wedding isn’t local, we have to travel and then stay overnight, there’s the wedding present and then there’s obviously the outfits and yes, we can wear something we have worn before and often do, but 9 times out of 10 there is something that needs to be purchased just to update an outfit.

So, first things first, it’s making the call as to which social events you a) can afford to go to and b) which ones are really important that you attend?

When making the decision you need to be honest with yourself, if this social event means that it’s going to put pressure on you financially, however much you want to go you need to reconsider this option.

If the people inviting you are true friends they will understand especially if you tell them that as much as you would like to have accepted the invitation you just can’t afford it right now, and even if that’s difficult to admit, better to have a moment of feeling slightly embarrassed than several months of struggling to get back on track financially. People worry about saying no and sometimes we just need to be honest with each other.

If you have been invited to several events this summer, it is also imperative that you think closely about which you attend. Once again, saying yes to all of them is quite likely to cost money that you just don’t have (obviously if you do have the money and you do want to say yes to all of them, fabulous!)

It sounds a little calculating but the best way to decide is to –

  1. write down a list of your invites, workout the financial implications of each event and see if there are any which you can automatically cross off your list.
  2. Once you have done that see if there are any events where you know you won’t be missed so if you don’t turn up it’s not going to be the end of the world.
  3. What’s left on your list? Which of these events do you need to/want to go to? Once you have identified which these are, then it’s about declining the invitations for the others.

After the last couple of years, we have been unable to do some of the lovely sociable things, we have missed significant occasions and our initial instinct is to say “yes” to everything in principle which is totally understandable but not particularly realistic and to be quite honest also a little exhausting! Pick wisely, go to the events that will bring you joy NOT anxiety!

Important notes about saying “no”

  • Don’t say yes in the first place – give yourself time to check your diary, check your finances before you agree to something.
  • If you have received a written invitation, replying “no” with a nice card is totally acceptable and can be less stressful.
  • Don’t feel the need to over explain – a simple “I’m sorry we are unable to come but thank you so much for the invite” is sufficient.
  • Remind yourself why you are saying no – this is for long term mental wellbeing and that might sound dramatic but it’s true.