Declining invitations strategically

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
shade-tree
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Declining invitations strategically

Post by shade-tree » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:14 pm

My co-worker sent out an invitation to our group of 6 to go to a baseball game in the city as a team building event we’ve been talking about doing for months.

A few said, “I’m in!” right away, but I haven’t answered for like a week because... I really don’t want to go.I’ve been trying to formulate a good reason to decline, but want to do so in a diplomatic way that also heads off any counter-argument that might compel me to go. So advice please from you strategic thinkers out there.

I dislike pro sports, and as an introvert, just don’t want to spend 5-6 hours outside of work doing something I dislike with my co-workers, but that’s too blunt.

“It’s out of my budget” is a good excuse, since no one knows your finances, but I’m afraid that the manager will come up with some funding to offset the cost if that’s my only reason not to go.

I hate major league sports. I am too polite to directly insult the things that people love, so wouldn’t say that to them. Also, if I don’t go to this one because it’s an activity I don’t like, then when plan something I would like, it gives the others an out not to go on a hike or to the make your own beer place..

It’s too far, (2 hours to get there!) too long of a day, I’m tired, etc. I am quite fit and capable of a great many physically demanding activites for hours on end. But talking a lot and pretending to have fun IS exhausting, but extroverts don’t get that. They think it’s being selfish.

Okay, wise people, any recommendations as to how to get out of this thing with my relationships to my co-workers intact?

jacob
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:49 pm

Strategically speaking, the best way to avoid this is a fully booked calendar. That way you can pick and choose and have a good excuse. The alternative is to lie or suffer the extrovert activity torture. After many years, I realized that I was never going to learn how to appreciate such outings and I just started telling people directly that I didn't enjoy it. Usually I use some example that most people can relate to such as "I probably hate going to baseball games as much as you do doing calculus exercises" or similar. In the past I've noted that I feel the same way personally going out to bars as I feel about going to the dentist "except in the latter case, at least I'd get something out of it."

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Ego
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Ego » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:10 pm

I used this one the other day and it worked quite well.

Friend, "We're all going to X and you've got to come."

Me, "Ah, (Martin) that's really nice of you to include me but, you know, that's just not for me. People are different and X is just not something for me. But thank you!"

No explanation. That's it. It worked.

In more touchy situations I often use the excuse that Mrs. Ego keeps the calendar and I've got to check with her.

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BRUTE
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:51 pm

brute finds that "I don't have the budget" is an inefficient excuse, because peers usually make a similar amount, and they "can afford it". it's usually best to have an excuse they'd accept as valid, including prior commitments, especially to family.

shade-tree
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by shade-tree » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:42 pm

Sound like scheduling conflict is the way to go if I'm going to be 'nice'. I'm thinking of going with "My Netflix queue is full and these movies aren't going to watch themselves!"

If I'm taking the honesty approach, which seems harder but more sustainable, I think the answer is that I can't satisfy my own needs at the same time I'm doing what everyone wants me to do. Darn!

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Dragline
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Dragline » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:48 pm

Sometimes I just don't answer and pretend I forgot, or actually forget as I tend to do more often as I get older.

Then when someone reminds me close to the event, I apologize for forgetting and indicate that there is somewhere else that I have to be that day. "Maybe next time", I say . . .

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Chris
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Chris » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:21 pm

Just plan an ERE meetup for the same day (-:

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daylen
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by daylen » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:25 pm

I would just be honest. The purpose of the event is to team build; lying is team breaking.

shade-tree
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by shade-tree » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:58 pm

I do like the indirectness of the Dragline- forgetful/other plans approach. if only the date was already set. I'm going to need a lot of activities to cover All the Days.

Plan an ERE meetup, for a schedule conflict, Chris--Excellent idea! I wonder, has anyone held a meet up in Western Washington, USA?

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vezkor
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by vezkor » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:58 am

I try to always go with honesty for two reasons:

1. Lying makes me feel icky. I don't like doing it and I hate defrauding other people of any aspect of reality.
2. I am out of practice, and I do not have the mental energy to maintain a lie. I would likely manage to let-slip the next day what a great time I had chilling on my couch with my fiancé... which would earn me some disapproving faces and a response along the lines of "You said you had to help your sister move, I thought?"

If I know I never lie, then I never have to bother remembering the "false" answers and waste valuable brain hard-drive space storing a solution with a single-use. If I ever need to get to the answer again, I can re-run the default program (honesty) and it is much easier to keep a clean brain. My fiancé complains that I repeat myself too often. I usually respond with "Well, I didn't remember reasoning through this before, so it's a good honesty check".

shade-tree
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by shade-tree » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:21 am

I agree that lying is not the right thing to do. and it is also a violation of my not-religious, but reasonably-robust personal behavioral code-of-conduct policy.

An update on the situation: I never replied or responded to the invitation email, and now the whole plan seems to have dissipated through lack of follow-through. So much analyzing for nothing!

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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:08 am

shade-tree wrote:An update on the situation: I never replied or responded to the invitation email, and now the whole plan seems to have dissipated through lack of follow-through. So much analyzing for nothing!
I**J meet E**P!

I've learned the hard way that making plans/planning around E**Ps is mostly a complete waste of effort. The reason being the E**P never really had any specific plans in the first place but rather threw the idea out there as something that seemed fun in that particular moment. While E**Ps have many other endearing qualifies, reliability when it comes to plans is not one of them.

I suspect the E**P survival strategy is to be sufficiently "fun/attractive" so that others will pay in upfront effort for the risk of being stood up. In other words, EPs have the risk/reward profile of a lottery ticket. It can take a long time for others to realize that the E**P is making everybody else but themselves pay for all the optionality cost in wasted time and effort. Most E**Ps probably aren't even aware of it.

The best strategy is not to "buy the option" or get it as cheap as possible. Just put in the very minimum of effort to meet the plan goal. That's what E**Ps do themselves.

Scott 2
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:17 am

I just say I don't want to. Offer an alternate activity if I want to do something with the people.

Life's too short to pretend.

shade-tree
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by shade-tree » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:39 pm

@Jacob, reminds me of this theory I have about 'idea people" and 'follow through people." Some well-rounded people bring both skills together to first think of an idea, then take concrete steps to make the idea turn into a real event or product. Idea people come up with ideas but don't finish up, but hope others will take up their idea and complete it for them. Some worker bees like doing the work but don't want to come up with idea, or maybe they are just shy and don't want to reveal their ideas for fear that others might judge.

@Scott2, I agree that pretending is a waste of mental energy....On that note... I'm off to burn my padded bras and throw all of my makeup in the lake now! :-)

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C40
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by C40 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:19 pm

(For future requests) Don't use the Netflix answer. They will be insulted. That's like a woman saying "I have to stay home to wash my hair that night" (which means "I totally don't want to go but don't respect you enough to tell you so or I'm not assertive enough to tell you so".

If you don't want to lie, a very simple "Sorry, I'm not going to make it" will work ok and most of the time they won't ask why. If they ask a couple times and you say that, most people will stop asking you. If they continue, you may need to tell them you just don't want to using Ego or Jacob's examples..

Scott 2
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:46 pm

@shade-tree - I know I'm in the minority, but I tend to avoid someone who is carefully made up. It's a good indicator our values don't match.

In the past week I've declined a day of boating and attending a baseball game. Both were work related events. I preferred to spend my time working, told people as much, and it was fine.

Did
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Did » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:29 am

I know the event has been cancelled, but I thought I'd note that sometimes attendance at such things should be considered mandatory or at least advised for advancement. I loathed work functions, but you sometimes need to participate and sometimes you need to be seen. In relation to drinks etc. the advice is to arrive late (say, go home first then come back in) and then work the room making sure you speak to everyone and have a good laugh, then make an early exit.

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akratic
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by akratic » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:22 am

I think the winning strategy is to proactively organize activities you actually do want to attend.

If you're the guy that organizes poker after work once a month, but just doesn't like baseball, that's a lot better than the guy who inexplicably declines everything. (I've been both.)

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Dragline
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Dragline » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:19 am

shade-tree wrote: An update on the situation: I never replied or responded to the invitation email, and now the whole plan seems to have dissipated through lack of follow-through. So much analyzing for nothing!
Boo-yah! Nothing like winning with nothin'.


"[Luke won a game of poker on a bluff]

Dragline: Nothin'. A handful of nothin'. You stupid mullet head. He beat you with nothin'. Just like today when he kept comin' back at me - with nothin'.

Luke: Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

weiss-blau
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by weiss-blau » Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:04 pm

jacob wrote:I've learned the hard way that making plans/planning around E**Ps is mostly a complete waste of effort. The reason being the E**P never really had any specific plans in the first place but rather threw the idea out there as something that seemed fun in that particular moment. While E**Ps have many other endearing qualifies, reliability when it comes to plans is not one of them.

I suspect the E**P survival strategy is to be sufficiently "fun/attractive" so that others will pay in upfront effort for the risk of being stood up. In other words, EPs have the risk/reward profile of a lottery ticket. It can take a long time for others to realize that the E**P is making everybody else but themselves pay for all the optionality cost in wasted time and effort. Most E**Ps probably aren't even aware of it.

The best strategy is not to "buy the option" or get it as cheap as possible. Just put in the very minimum of effort to meet the plan goal. That's what E**Ps do themselves.
Thank God that personalities are that inherent, that persons cannot change, now matter how hard they try...

IlliniDave
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:50 am

Nowadays I just firmly, but politely, decline. I like the people I work with and they know that, but I generally don't enjoy socializing outside of work in groups. In tie folks have become fairly accepting.

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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by jacob » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:49 am

weiss-blau wrote:Thank God that personalities are that inherent, that persons cannot change, now matter how hard they try...
That's just it. If I note someone is "cheating" on their contribution in the sense I described above, I pursue a tit-fot-tat strategy when it comes to future relations with them. "Fool me once..." and all that. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_t ... le_sharing ... if they try hard the next time, I'll revise my response, but until then I'll put in minimum effort. But I have noted that certain personalities are rather consistent ...

slog
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by slog » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:25 am

IlliniDave wrote:Nowadays I just firmly, but politely, decline. I like the people I work with and they know that, but I generally don't enjoy socializing outside of work in groups. In tie folks have become fairly accepting.
If there is no interest this really seems like the best way to do it, even though it was in the OP as a strategy to be avoided. I don't think anyone would be insulted that you don't want to watch pro sports, they just may not understand why :lol: . Making plans with a group can often be like herding cats. And much like dating (see modern romance by aziz ansari) while most people are inclined to implement ghosting or muddled communication they hypocritically claim a preference for people to be clear and direct with them. Much easier to buy tickets, plan car pooling etc. when the head count is known as opposed to riddled with maybes.

Coincidentally I notice in professional settings, pro sports teams are the topic of choice for small talk when meeting out of towners. But just knowing generally if your cities teams are doing bad or good is enough to get by.

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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by Scott 2 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:58 am

I would agree the "just decline" approach will slow or limit upward career mobility. People hire and promote their friends. The catch is, this means you have friends that have fun doing things you don't like.

When I was younger, I tried doing the events anyway, because I wanted the money. It was miserable, effectively extending my work day, doing stuff I liked way less than work. I still remember one client dinner where the guy was humble bragging about how he hated his annual trip to Europe, followed by a dick measuring contest with my company owner over ski trips and country club memberships. Looking back, I suppose that was a demonstration for us underlings to aspire too...

weiss-blau
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Re: Declining invitations strategically

Post by weiss-blau » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:06 pm

jacob wrote:
weiss-blau wrote:Thank God that personalities are that inherent, that persons cannot change, now matter how hard they try...
That's just it. If I note someone is "cheating" on their contribution in the sense I described above, I pursue a tit-fot-tat strategy when it comes to future relations with them. "Fool me once..." and all that. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_t ... le_sharing ... if they try hard the next time, I'll revise my response, but until then I'll put in minimum effort. But I have noted that certain personalities are rather consistent ...
You mean the same way I**J are mostly an ableistic pack who can't grasp empathy? ;-)

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