How Can I Turn Down...An Invite?

Illustration by Kevin Whipple

“How do I say no to an invitation to hang out when I don’t have a good excuse, instead of just going along with it like I usually do?” —Joey Bonanno, 16, is a high school sophomore in Massachusetts.


“It’s OK to say NO to others—and YES to yourself.” 

This advice has helped Nancy Redd (who has been invited to thousands of parties over the course of her career!) become a master of Giving Good No. It’s a crucial life skill that will help you keep your priorities in line, whether you simply want some chill time—or desperately need to study for tomorrow’s Spanish test. Just follow this zero-guilt formula:




Let your friends know you’re happy they’re including you. “Aww, thanks for the invite.” OR “Hey, that sounds fun.”



Express regrets,but kindly. “I would, but I’m beat. Sorry.”



Let them know they should continue to keep you in mind. “Let’s hang out this weekend?”


NEED ADVICE? From study skills to friend drama, we’ve got you covered. Go to to submit your Q!

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