Invitations that are declined are received more graciously

Refusing to accept an invitation because “I don’t have time” makes the person you turned down feel devalued and angry, which makes them feel they trust you less and cause damage to the relationship, which we observed in recent research presented within The Journal of Consumer Psychology. Giving a financial excuse like “I don’t have money” does not trigger the same negative response.

To find the best method not to accept an invitation without hurting a relationship, we ran six tests that focused on two typical excuses, which are the time factor and financial.

We first invited 207 participants into our lab. We asked them to remember the time when a friend refused to engage with them, using the excuse of a lack of time or financial resources. Participants were then asked to assess the degree of trust they had with the person and how much they believed in them prior to and following the reason. We also asked them to rate how legitimate they thought the excuse was.

Participants reported feeling less close to their friends and believed their friends less when using a” time excuse” instead of a money excuse to justify why they could not take action. Also, they said that a reason for a time was not a valid excuse.

In a follow-up experiment, we asked the 132 couples that were planning to get married. We asked them to list the number of guests who did not attend and if they offered an excuse for time or money. In addition, those who participated in the study reported feeling less connected and reliant on those who used the absence of time as a reason not to attend the wedding. The participants also stated that they believed that it was a lot more out of their control.

We observed similar results in three other tests that examined the possibility of a situation where someone refused an invitation to drinks, dinner, or a comedy show.

The sixth study found that those who blamed lack of hours in their day as the main reason why they weren’t more generous were seen as less reliable. They also were perceived as having more control over their limitations rather than those who blamed the lack of funds.

Why is it important

Everyone has received an invitation to an event or asked to perform something for a friend but didn’t have enough time or money, or maybe even the desire. However, the decision to say “no” isn’t so easy due to a variety of reasons.

Our research suggests that refusing invitations due to an absence of time, however true, appears to indicate the weakening of the relationship. It is possible to say, “I value doing something else rather than spending time with you.”

However, we also discovered that if time was an issue, giving a friend more details about your time limitations can help avoid an urgent deadline at work. This shows that the constraint is not your responsibility.

What other research is being conducted

Although our research indicates that using money as a plausible excuse for lack of money, there’s a variety of reasons that someone may not choose to cite the lack of cash to turn down a night out or to do something different.

New research indicates that financially strapped people aren’t interested in talking about their spending habits since it can remind them of their comparatively low money. This is why they are less likely to take it as an excuse and, in some cases, take a trip despite the fact that it is in situations where doing so increases their financial burden.

In one of our studies, we observed that participants considered having a lack of money as a less significant problem than time constraints. Participants with friends who turned down an invitation due to budgetary issues indicated the desire to pay the bill of their fellow guests or suggest a cheaper activity.

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