How to reject a hangout nicely: The gentle art of saying no

Saying “no” is hard.

As humans, we often have an inclination to be helpful and agreeable. We want to be liked by others and don’t want to hurt their feelings.

As a result, we often find ways to accommodate other people’s requests instead of saying no. However, this can be harmful in the long run as it makes you overextend yourself and exhaust your time and energy reserves.

Saying no isn’t always easy, but certain techniques can make it much easier to reject a hangout or any other request in the future.

Let’s take a look at 14 ways to say no nicely:

1) Be clear from the start

It’s important to be honest from the start, so your friend knows what to expect from you.

For example, if you’re not interested in a certain activity because you don’t have the time for it, you don’t have to go into elaborate explanations about why you can’t do it with them.

Simply tell them that you can’t do it because you don’t have the time for it. The same goes for other reasons why you might not want to do something.

If the activity isn’t your cup of tea or if you have other plans, it is better to tell your friend that right away than to put them off until later and then end up not following through.

If they ask you to do something that you don’t want to do, you’ll feel better knowing that you were honest with them right from the start.

2) Check your feelings before you respond

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If you know that you’re just not in the mood for socializing, don’t go along with it and see it through.

If you’d rather spend your evening doing something else, don’t let your friends guilt trip you into going along with their plans.

It’s normal to have days when you’re not feeling social, and your friends should expect that from you.

If they try to guilt trip you into coming out with them, don’t let them do that. Tell them that you’re not in the mood for it today, and save yourself the unpleasantness that might arise if you go along with it.

3) Stop trying to make everyone happy

But what if you could stop feeling the need to make everyone happy and like you all the time?

The truth is, most of us never realize how much power and potential lies within us.

We become bogged down by continuous conditioning from society, the media, our education system, and more.

The result?

The reality we create becomes detached from the reality that lives within our consciousness.

I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé. In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being.

A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman.

He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprout toxic positivity like so many other gurus do.

Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works.

So if you’re ready to take this first step and align your dreams with your reality, there’s no better place to start than with Rudá’s unique technique

Here’s a link to the free video again.

4) Say you’re not feeling well

This is something that most people will understand. You don’t have to explain yourself or give a reason for not wanting to go out.

Simply say that you’re not feeling well and that you’d like to stay in and chill out. Your friends will probably respect that and not pester you with questions as to why you don’t want to hang out.

If they do try to get something out of you and ask what the matter is, just tell them that you don’t feel like going out.

5) Be honest and say you want some time to yourself

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This is something that many people want but don’t feel comfortable enough to say so.

However, you don’t have to be ashamed about wanting to spend some time alone. After a long day at work, you might just want to kick back at home and do nothing.

If your friends ask you to go out and you want some time to yourself, tell them that you want to relax and unwind.

They might get a bit offended at first and try to persuade you otherwise. However, if you are honest with them and don’t give in to their pestering, they’ll come around to it eventually.

6) Let go of any guilt you might feel

There’s a chance that you’ll feel some guilt about rejecting someone’s offer, especially if you’ve turned down their request more than once.

While it is normal to feel bad about letting someone down, you need to let go of that guilt and remember that you have a life of your own and can’t always be there for others.

As long as you’re polite and respectful and don’t simply ignore their request, you have every right to turn down a hangout request.

So don’t feel guilty about it and don’t apologize for turning down their request. Instead, use one of the techniques listed below to gently let them down.

7) Realize that it is okay to set boundaries for yourself

While you might feel bad about saying no, you have to remember that it is okay to set your boundaries.

By setting boundaries, you’re telling yourself that you have a right to say no and you have a right to protect your own time and energy.

But I get it, it’s not always easy to say “no” and disappoint someone you care about.

If that’s the case, I highly recommend watching this free breathwork video, created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê.

Rudá isn’t another self-professed life coach. Through shamanism and his own life journey, he’s created a modern-day twist to ancient healing techniques.

The exercises in his invigorating video combine years of breathwork experience and ancient shamanic beliefs, designed to help you relax and check in with your body and soul.

After many years of suppressing my emotions, Rudá’s dynamic breathwork flow quite literally revived that connection.

And that’s what you need:

A spark to reconnect you with your feelings so that you can begin focusing on the most important relationship of all – the one you have with yourself.

So if you’re ready to say goodbye to anxiety and stress, check out his genuine advice below.

Click here to watch the free video.

8) Tell them that you’re busy

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If the thing they want to do or the event they want you to attend is not feasible for any number of reasons, you can always say that you’re busy.

For example, if they want you to come to a party or a concert or if they ask you to help them with some task or project that you don’t have time to do or don’t want to do, you can simply say that you’re busy.

10) Say what you mean and mean what you say

Always be honest with your friends, and if you can’t do something, be upfront with them and let them know.

If you don’t want to go to the beach with them because you don’t like sandy feet or you don’t want to go to an event because it’s not your thing, say so. You don’t have to make up an elaborate or fake excuse.

Instead, simply let them know what’s going on for you. For example, you can say, “I don’t like sandy feet, so I’m not interested in going to the beach.” Or, “I’m not interested in going to that event because I prefer quiet evenings at home.”

11) If you don’t like what they are suggesting, propose an alternative

If the thing they want you to do isn’t something you want to do, but you can’t come up with a reason why not, try proposing an alternative.

For example, if they invite you to go to a party and you don’t want to go, but you don’t have a good reason why not, you could propose going to do something else instead.

Again, don’t be rude or mean about it, but come up with an alternative idea. This way, you’re accepting the invitation to hang out, but on your terms.

12) It is okay to not give a reason

There are times when you simply don’t want to do something, and there’s no real reason why you don’t want to do it.

In other words, there is no real “situation” that you’re dealing with or they’re dealing with. Instead, you simply don’t want to do it.

If you don’t have a real reason for turning down a hangout or other event or request, it’s okay to not give a reason.

Remember, you have every right to turn down a request without having to provide an explanation for your decision.

13) Don’t say “next time” if you don’t really mean it

If you’re turning down an invitation and you don’t have a real reason for doing so, don’t say that you’ll come to the event or do the thing next time.

Instead, be straightforward and let them know that you won’t be coming to the event or doing whatever it is they wanted you to do. Don’t make empty promises that you don’t plan on keeping.

If you don’t want to spend time with that person, don’t say that you will do it next time, you’ll only end up giving them false hope and have them ask you again.

Instead, politely let them down and let them know that you won’t be able to hang out.

14) Keep the door open for future hangouts

While you may not feel like hanging out now, it’s important to keep the door open for future hangouts.

If you reject a hangout with your friends, don’t do it by shutting the door on future get-togethers.

Instead, tell them that you don’t feel like going out at the moment, but that you’d love to hang out again in the future.

The bottom line is that you don’t want them to think that you’re rejecting them as friends and completely cutting ties with them.


Saying no is a necessary part of life. However, you don’t have to make it confrontational or emotionally charged.

Instead, use one of the tips above to let your friend down gently and respectfully.

By following the tips above, you’ll be able to say no without hurting anyone’s feelings or making them feel bad.

And the best part is that you won’t have to feel guilty or stressed out about turning down their request.

Picture of Jelena Dincic

Jelena Dincic

Jelena has a background in photography and film-making and has spent the last few years as a content editor and copywriter. Jelena is a citizen of the world who is passionate about travel and learning about new cultures. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. And, as an art lover, she is always experimenting with new art mediums. When she’s not at her computer, she’s usually out and about in some forest with her dogs.

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