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How to gracefully get out of invite?

Posted by joaniepoanie (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 18:59

Because lots of GW heads are better than mine......

In the coming weeks I will be receiving an invitation to my boss' wedding. I do not wish to attend, but will send a gift. I have known the month of the wedding for a year and the exact date for 5 months. I know any excuse will seem lame since I have known the date for so long. Any ideas? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Honesty is usually best, but I can see that won't work here. I'd either have relatives I haven't seen for a long time passing through town and that's the only day they can come, so sorry I'll have to miss the wedding....or, I just learned that's the same day my husband's niece/nephew/favorite cousin's daughter has chosen for her wedding day, and I just can't get out of this family obligation, so, sorry, I'll have to miss your wedding.

I'm assuming you'll be expected to RSVP and you're looking for an excuse to send regrets. If no RSVP is necessary, then I just wouldn't show up and have an illness excuse for why you were unable to attend. Mild case of food poisoning is good (not to have, but to use as an excuse) because you're over it by when you're due back at work.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I would go strictly by the rule of etiquette here. Decline gracefully and do not offer any excuse of any kind. Extend your warmest wishes and send/give a wedding gift at the earliest possible date. If you are pressed to explain yourself (which would be beyond rude) say that you have a conflict, and change the subject. Repeat as needed. (Never mind that the conflict is that you do not wish to go.) This is the proper way to decline any invitation, so you should be confident in executing it. It's my strict policy to never make fictional excuses or explanations.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Really, the only reason to refuse an invitation is that you have prior plans. It doesn't matter what those plans are. You could have been invited to the White House or you could be cleaning out your garage.

Just RSVP "No," to the invitation. And stop by your boss's desk and say, "I'm so sorry I'll have to miss your wedding, but we have long-standing plans. I hope you have a wonderful day!" Might be a nice touch to bring the wedding gift to the office a day or two before the boss goes on leave for the wedding.

Don't give any details. If your boss is the type to try and change your mind, giving details will give him/her something to argue with. Keep it a bit vague and keep smiling and being polite.

Because unless the boss has specifically told you that you were invited, you haven't been invited yet. Not until you get the invitation.

And it is perfectly possible that you made plans for that weekend 5 months ago. Or you weren't aware then that you would be invited. Even if you knew the month a year ago--no one would expect you to keep all those weekends free, on the off chance that one of them would be the boss's wedding.

Invitations are invitations, not a summons. Etiquette allows you to say no. And etiquette also requires the host not to bug you about why you said no.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Even though you have to face your boss every day, I don't feel any explanation is necessary, but that's me. If you think he might be nosey enough to ask, be prepared with an excuse. Talk up the wedding and how beautiful it will probably be blah blah blah to get his mind off your conversation. And do send a gift!


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I agree with kkay and camlan. Politely decline and don't make something up (I would get caught in that for sure LOL). Hopefully you will just be able to RSVP and that will be that. Send a gift, say you are sorry to miss and look forward to seeing pictures of the event . . .


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I agree with all the above. But, I can't help feeling uncomfortable with this situation.
Your boss thinks highly enough of you to include you in this very special day.
Would you consider just going to the ceremony portion and give your best wishes to the couple there? Then, you still have your excuse of a family event so you don't have to go to the reception.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I would never not go to my boss' wedding, no matter how I felt about attending. Career suicide.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Unless you are very close to your boss, I would suspect you were put on the invitation list as an obligation, and your boss isn't going to lose any sleep about your not attending.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I wish you would have given us a little more information. Do you see/work with this person everyday or is it a long distance commute? Do you have a good relationship with your boss? Is this the person you report directly to? I have to agree with and ellendi and sas95 for the most part unless you truly feel you were invited by obligation and don't see this person very often. If you see this person everyday I think you should go!

This post was edited by caminnc on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 18:00


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Thank you all....there is too much history to recount, but suffice it to say that even though she is polite and respectful, I have no respect for her as a supervisor and I don't even enjoy the occasional staff luncheon.

Yes, this is an obligatory invitation. We are such a small dept( in a large org)---4 in our location, the director and 2 others in a different location--it would be very obvious if just some were invited. Several of us don't want to attend and neither do our DH's and I'm sure we would not be missed. No career suicide here....I am looking at retirement in a year or two.

I agree the less said the better. I did come up with a plausible excuse but didn't really want to go that route. I suspect coworkers will press me more for an excuse than supervisor.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I like the "personal conflict" route. It is funny how some people seem to need more information than you are willing to give.
I have a good friend who will often ask for details. Because I know her, I prepare myself ahead of time to how I will react.
I think if you talk through in your mind what you will say, you will be prepared for when the coworkers push for more info.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

"decline" in the formal RSVP. Boss won't ask. Don't enter into discussions at work about the wedding at all. If pressed just say, we aren't able to attend. Your silence will cut them off.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

For the people who insist on pressing you for details, after you've politely declined.

I think it was Ann Landers (or Dear Abby) who suggested a rejoinder to folks who are too nosy (like asking childless folks why they don't have children, nosy & intrusive). She suggested saying something like:

"I'll excuse you for asking if you'll excuse me for not answering."


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Pirate girl....I will have to remember that...I work with the biggest Gladys Kravitz ever! Lol...


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

It's funny - she probably feels obligated to invite coworkers, coworkers don't want to attend - what a crazy system. And it's not unique to your work, it happens everywhere.

Pirate girl,
That is a great response to file away for future use.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

RSVPs are (or should be) for responding in kind. Regretfully not being able to attend is all that is needed. Hopefully it will show up when she is overwhelmed with getting ready for all and whether you knows you are going or not is last on her mind. I'd stay out of wedding conversations as much as possible, even the ones about others not wanting to go and your decision.

Work before play, avoid continuing talking about the wedding with diversions to getting something else done. Courage up some joy when all is over.

It would be a bit uncomfortable if no one showed up considering they have also mentioned the same. Are all discussing how to get out of it? If so, this is something to consider for a few kind minutes of showing up. Perhaps as a group (without DHs) with a combined gift from all and then bow out quickly.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Thanks again to everyone ....there are only two of us that I think don't want to attend... I'm fairly certain everyone else will go...I'm sure we won't be missed..it will just be awkward if asked why we're not attending.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Why don't you and the other person want to attend? It might take more energy not to attend than to make a showing, however brief. Weddings are fun and I enjoyed attending a Bosses wedding years ago.

Now we are THE Boss who has one long term employee who refuses to show up for anything we put on. It is noticed and we wonder why. She is the reason I'm asking you. Why don't you want to go ?


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

As I suggested in an earlier post, can you just go to the ceremony? Congratulate the couple there and have small talk with the coworkers. Everyone knows that you have a prior commitment and can't join in at the reception.

Golddust, yes I too am curious as to why your employee never attends. I have a sister who describes herself as not social. She will avoid events whenever possible. It is hard to understand because when she does attend, she does socialize and not sit in a corner by herself.
Some people just can't handle crowds. Or maybe in your case it's the employees significant other?


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Our employee has been a Widow for well over a decade. (It was a May - December marriage.) We are a very small business with 11 employees so it's hardly a crowd and she knows us well. Over half of out employees are unattached so she shouldn't feel strange attending solo.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

She might think spending 40 hours a week with the group is enough. She might not like someone and doesn't feel the need to spend extra time with someone she doesn't like. She might have other things she wants to do. She might need quiet time. She might find the events boring and doesn't want to hurt feelings. Some people like a clear distinction between their work life and their private life.

I've worked with people that I wouldn't spend an extra second of time with voluntarily. I've worked with people that I've hung out with all weekend after the normal week. My BFF is someone I met at work and our friendship has survived long after our working years. I've passed on things I'm sure were fun because I just needed to take a break from the same people, often talking about the same things they discussed all day at work.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Goldust...management sets the tone in an office so if employees disengage, not always, but more often than not, it is because of management. And what HH said.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I work for a boss who feels that employees are obligated to show up for appreciation events he holds. His assistant and I have coined the phrase that it is 'aggressive hospitality.'

He hosts a dinner for the 100+ employees who can each bring a guest, just before the winter holidays. It is held at a local churrascaria, which is pricey and located on Miami Beach in a glitzy area. The cost per person is quite substantial, the dinner is lavish, and includes wine and dessert. My husband and I attend each year, we eat lots of fancy food and go someplace we'd never go on our own. Do we anticipate it? Do we eagerly wait for the holiday dinner? No. Because when all is said and done it is something we are tacitly required to do as part of my job, not something we freely decide we want to attend. There is a difference and it is real for us.

There are several folks in our work unit who simply and categorically refuse to attend. As has been pointed out, for some people being required/expected to give up their private time to accomodate social obligations from their employers is an unacceptable invasion of their right to enjoy off-hours as they choose. Frankly, I tend to agree because no matter what the boss may think (sorry Golddust)i many if not most cases these are inherently NOT carefree social events for the people who are expected to show up other than the boss(es); they are really just another work duty.

And many people also don't particularly care to spend time beyond than work hours with colleagues. And really, both options should be perfectly acceptable. Employment is a system in which people are expected to perform X work for Y remuneration. That's all. If there are friendships formed, great. But a job is not about making friends, it's about getting work done. Period.

Ann


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Yes, but this is not a social event. It's her wedding. I'd bite the bullet and go to the ceremony. That's the graceful thing to do instead of making up excuses or avoiding the topic at work.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

That's fine. I'm not offended. We host a small something (generally at our house) before the holidays and pass out nice Bonus Checks each year. We figure they would rather have the extra money to help fund the holidays over a lavish dinner out.

Jobs are hard to find around here and I know many who would love to have one. I'd do my best to stay in good graces because there are three people for every one job in the market place these days. People can grow complacent.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

She's been with us for 20 years and has worked with many of her co workers even longer, at a different company that went out of business. Maybe she wants a divorce. I think it's her.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Golddust, if your employee does a good job at the office, isn't that enough? Why do you base your opinion of her as an employee based on what she does in her free time?

Because work-related "social" events are done on an employee's free time. As an employee, I resent that. My free time, such as it is after working 10-15 hours of overtime a week, should be mine. My employers are now getting even more of my time--and I'm not getting paid for it.

I should not have to dress up during my free time unless I want to. I should not have to struggle to make conversation with people I'd rather not socialize with, unless I want to. I'm smiling pretty, with hurting feet in high heels, wishing I was home in my jeans binge watching Netflix and unwinding after a hard week at work.

And as an adult child of an alcoholic, it is difficult for me to be present when people are making themselves falling down drunk at the office holiday party. Brings up all sorts of past issues.

I'm an introvert. People don't realize this, because I've learned to act like an extrovert at work. But doing that exhausts me and I *need* my downtime without people around to recharge. My company's holiday party is usually on a Saturday night. I have to spend about an hour getting dressed, usually an hour driving to the venue, four or more hours at the party, and an hour's drive home. That's seven hours--nearly as much as an average work day. For me, that's a huge chunk of my weekend eaten up by work.

I'm single. I have a boyfriend. There is no way in heck I would bring him to a work event because of the Gabby Gossips at my job. It would be months of being talked about behind my back; months of sly innuendos about him, about me, about our relationship. I'd much rather spend my limited free time with him, instead of my co-workers. In fact, because I believe in keeping work and my private life separate, no one at work has any idea that I have a boyfriend.

But this results in my attending solo, getting stuck at the odd-ball table because I don't have a partner to make the numbers even. One year, I, as a manager, was seated with all the high school student interns. They are nice kids and I like them, but they felt awkward with a manager sitting with them, and I felt as if I'd been denied sitting at the adults' table and was being made to sit at the kids' table.

Your employee is a widow. Maybe she just doesn't feel like socializing without her husband. Maybe being there with other people who still have their spouses hurts.

I do the minimum of work "socializing" that I can get away with. Just enough so the boss quits hassling me about it.

My ideal holiday party at work is lunch brought in on Dec. 24th, and then everyone gets to go home after that. Free food and a couple of hours of paid free time.

I bust my butt at work. I'm a good employee and I have the annual reviews to prove it. Why should I be criticized because I don't want to spend more time with the people from the office? Want to reward me? Take the money from the party and hire enough support staff. Use it for bonuses or raises for the people I supervise. Finally upgrade the computers in the desktop publishing department.

But don't "reward" me with a party that sucks my time and energy and keeps me from the people I'd rather be spending time with.

And certainly don't question my fitness as an employee because I don't want to attend a party that is not part of my job responsibilities. Or make that party part of my job responsibilities and pay me for attending it--call it what it really is, a work obligation.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I can see two differing under currents here. I understand the perspective work is work, paid time, don't infringe on my FREE time. Yet I know if co-workers can get along, like each other, find a way to move toward friendship productivity and work satisfaction rise. Getting people together outside the confines of work is one way to foster these closer relationships. We too had a fancy once a year dinner we were invited/obligated to attend. We LOVED it for all the reasons you listed, a place, food, ambiance we couldn't afford..friends who attended with us groused the entire time "work is work" give me a check... It takes all kinds to make the world go round. 25 years later we are still with the company, the friends are not. A wedding it seems to me is a private FAMILY/close friend affair. With the expense of them now days I a SHOCKED invites are extended to who ever they work with. I think it is their way of saying they cherish your relationship. If the wedding is in town--is an hour of your time really too much to ask? Giving the Dear Abby response in my family would get me black listed for life!!


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

"Yet I know if co-workers can get along, like each other, find a way to move toward friendship productivity and work satisfaction rise. Getting people together outside the confines of work is one way to foster these closer relationships. "

If team-building and friendly relationships between employees is that important, then it should be fostered during work hours. Not in a technically "optional" event. There are many ways to foster work relationships that do not take up an employee's free time.

Although I have to admit, having a co-worker make a drunken pass at one while his wife is in the same room certainly does help one learn more about the people one is working with.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

This is one of those times that I'd make the effort and attend out of respect for your job. Show up for a very short period of time, say your hello and congratulations to your boss and new spouse and acknowledge a few key co-workers and then leave.

There was recently an article in our paper about attending non-work related social events and the premise of the article was that co-workers are a team both on and off the court. There's a need to support one another both during and outside of work hours.

I partially understand your sentiment. I am very much an introvert and avoid social activities. I Just don't end up with those "feel good" feelings or happy endorphins that many get from social interaction. Actually I usually have feelings of dread and regret even if it was a great party for everyone else. Nevertheless this is one of those times that I'd probably force myself to make the effort.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I am with hilltop on this one as far as going, wishing the bride and groom happiness, and then leaving pretty quickly. I rarely socialize with those I work with simply because I find we fall into conversations about work (our major commonality) and I prefer not to do that on my own time. I also think that boundaries can become blurred which can cause issues/problems at work. There are a few teachers with whom I am friends away from work, but not many to be honest.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

We don't invite spouses to our once yearly appreciation time, held during work hours (while employees are being paid). It's a brunch. A paid brunch catered by me. We serve Fritatas and Mimosa's and generally go through one bottle of champagne even though we buy two.

We are in manufacturing. It's a blue collar job so no one dresses up. No one brings spouses but babies and kids are always welcome.

It's just a time where we try to show and tell our employees how grateful we are for them and drop a few hundred dollars to each of them, inside funny Christmas cards we carefully chose for the individual. I cater it.

We are certainly not guilty of blurring lines between work and pleasure. You'd have to understand our business model to get the why of our statement. Both Robert and I have a background working with people with Disabilities. I worked in thd field for 15 years. He was President of the Board when we met.

We started our business with the intent of hiring people with low skills, social deviance, etc. Basically hiring people most people wouldn't. That model has worked well for us and our employees. We hire people who most would consider outcasts.

I don't know why one employee doesn't show up but I don't think it's because of us.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

The blurred boundaries to which I referred were not those between work and pleasure, but rather hierarchical boundaries. We have lots of "appreciation" breakfasts and lunches at school. Those are wonderful and enjoyed by all. They are, I think, quite different from weddings, happy hours, etc. i used to host happy hours at my house several times a year. A fellow teacher attended every one until she became our assistant principal. I invited her, but she declined as I guessed she would. She was now our supervisor and hanging out in a social setting with those you may evaluate or those who need to remember that, at work, you are not on the same level could cause problems. I found it even made it difficult as a teacher to direct my Instructional Assistant who began to be a little too buddy buddy at work when that was not appropriate.

If none of that applies in certain businesses, great. However, I completely understand not wanting to socialize with people from one's job. It is not that I don't like them or can't be friends at work. I just prefer to keep work and private life separate, with one or two exceptions.

This post was edited by cyn427 on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 18:38


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

"Jobs are hard to find around here and I know many who would love to have one. I'd do my best to stay in good graces because there are three people for every one job in the market place these days. People can grow complacent."

Whoa! Golddust, that is EXACTLY what bothers people about this type of boss-managed social event. As Camlan pointed out, work is work. Why on earth should the presence of an employee at a non-work-hours event factor in any way into whether or not said employee retains his/her position.

Because you have the power to decide, literally, to withdraw someone's livelihood, you are basically saying that if you wanted to you, you could do it based on whether or not they come to your party. So if someone is doing a stellar job at a consistently high level of performance but doesn't choose to attend, that person needs to worry that the boss is going to have it in for her/him. That is reprehensible.

Ann


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

You don't say if you have children. If you're a parent with children needing a sitter, I feel that in itself is reason not to attend an event. Even if you have teens, you may not like to leave them on their own for any length of time. If a grandparent, friend, or other relative is available to sit, you're in luck. Otherwise, getting a sitter is expensive, usually starting at $10+ per hr. By the time you've bought a gift and paid for a sitter, you could have a nice dinner date with DH.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

runninginplace, those were my thoughts exactly.

However, golddust did come back and state that for her company, the party *is* during work hours. Which does make it odd that one employee refuses to attend. I'm trying to figure out how you do that--go to work and not attend the party that's right there, at your workplace.

But there are some religions that don't celebrate Christmas and some that don't celebrate any holidays, and perhaps this employee is a member of one of them.

I'd also like to address the article that Hilltop mentioned, about employees having to be a team both at work and not at work. Having to support each other outside of work.

I'm sure that point of view has some value for employers. But for employees? Thank you very much, but I'd rather chose the people in my life to whom I go for support. Not rely on the person sitting at the desk next to me, who is there solely because someone thought they could do a certain job well. No way in heck would I trust that person to support me off the job. I don't know them well enough to trust them. And you really can't trust that a co-worker won't tell stories about you and your off-duty activities to your supervisors. I'll chose my own support system, thank you very much.

The whole idea of that article creeps me out. I try to be friendly with my colleagues, but I have yet to find a real friend at work, in the 30 + years that I've been working. Mostly, I have to be very careful about revealing too much of my private life, in order not to be teased too much or be considered "counter-cultural."

Yep, drinking tea rather than coffee is counter-cultural. Enjoying science fiction makes me weird. Not liking to get drunk makes me weird. Not liking football and basketball and baseball makes me weird. Sewing and crocheting makes me weird. Reading a lot makes me weird.

I have a feeling that not wanting to participate in the March Madness basketball pool at one job is part of why I was the first person laid off when bad economic times hit--I wasn't a team player because I chose not to participate in something that a) I knew nothing about, b) didn't care a hoot for and c) would cost me $25. Something that had nothing to do with work in the slightest.

I think I'm perfectly normal and a good employee. But I have received more flack about all of the above (and more) and that's one reason I don't like socializing with co-workers. And why I would certainly never rely on them for support outside of work-related issues.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Our newest employee has been with us for four years. Our oldest has been with us for 29 years. I am not sure anyone feels the risk of being unemployed at a whim but owning a business is always risky. The owners are the first to take the hit. We can't ever promise eternal security for anyone and least of all, ourselves.

But we have that gene. Our parents and Grandparents have always worked for themselves. And we have always tried to take care of the people who make us successful.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

Joanie, I would not go if you really don't want to. When I got married I had worked at my job for less then a year. I invited a lot from work but it turned out someone else there also was getting married the same day. So the coworkers, stopped for a few minutes at my reception and then went to hers for the dinner. Funny because she ended up quitting soon after and I worked there for 12 years more.

Personally I would just decline and sent a nice card.

golddust, just a hunch but perhaps the person who doesn't attend the parties doesn't want to be around alcohol. Either because they may be tempted to drink too much or because they don't enjoy being around others who have been drinking. Even if no one is "drunk" many people just don't enjoy being around others who are drinking.

I had a job where after work have the employees would go to a bar to drink. I would hear the stories afterward about who was drunk and who screwed who. One manager ended up divorced due to after work drinking which led to an affair. I never went.


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RE: How to gracefully get out of invite?

I'm totally with kkay_md on this. Being your not close I'm with debra2008 and would only send a nice card or at the most a gift card to one of the places she's registered.


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