How liberating would it be to receive an invite to dinner and, without pause, explanation or defense, utter, “No, but thank you”? While this is a perfectly acceptable and polite response, we sometimes feel compelled to launch headfirst into a long, drawn-out, often colorful story as to our reasons for declining the invitation. “I’d love to come but my cat is having triple bypass surgery that night.” “Wish I could make it but my grandmother is in the hospital,” (you know … the one who passed away three years ago). “Gee, that’s the same night as my tuba recital.”
A simply and gracious, “No, thank you,” will suffice.