For some of us, we want to work in peace and not have to worry about socialising with others. We also want to go home after work and keep our work life separate from our personal life. But, socialising after work is now becoming popular as a way for coworkers to reach out to one another.

Ignoring invitations to socialise can be hard to do, especially if the offer comes from your team especially your boss. It can even threaten your career if you ignore it too much. You’ll be labeled not a team player.

If you want to turn down these invitations without offending anyone or affecting your career, here are some tips you can do:

Say the reason why you can’t attend

When you get invited to socialise after work, explain to them why you can’t attend.

Be honest and let them know that you have other responsibilities that you need to do. If your colleagues won’t accept your excuse, you don’t have to explain further. If you told them your reasoning, that is enough.

Read More: How to Reject a Colleague Who Wants to Date You

Be straightforward

Do not dawdle when it comes to providing your response. Immediately say that you cannot attend. This will allow your colleagues to adjust their plans and not press your attendance further.

If you say “maybe”, you are giving them the impression that you will come.

Be gracious when declining

While you are declining their invitation, be polite.

Keep your apology simple and wish them well. They may find your response scripted or not believe you at all.

Remember, you don’t have to please everybody at work.

Try to be flexible

Workplaces also has its own version of politics, which you will need to consider when declining after-work socialisation.

Try attending some of the invitations for such events to get to know your teammates and leaders.

It will help improve work relations and even if you don’t like to go to these events, they will appreciate that you made the time for it.

Pick the events you will attend

Companies have a lot of events in their calendar that you should not miss. There are also events that you can miss out on. Look at your company calendar and see which events you must attend and those you can decline.

Team-building sessions, holiday celebrations and retreats are important events you need to make time for since it is a part of the company’s way to celebrate with everyone.

You do not have to stay all night in these events. The fact you attended counts as a plus point on your end.

Read More: 10 Type of Characters You will Bump into in an Office Party (Part 1)

Find other ways to reach out to your colleagues

When you decline offers to join your team in after-work socializing, make it a point to find ways to bond with them during work hours.

One way you can do this is by listening to them and being there fully at work. If you are multitasking while they are talking to you, they will definitely feel insulted.

Read More: Guest Post: Networking As An Introvert

End of the Day…

If you are not the type of person who likes to socialize or you don’t have time to do it after work, don’t be afraid to say no when you get invited. But, you will need to pick the right invitations to refuse and know how to say your refusal without causing problems to your career.

Remember, team bonding is very important in creating a friendly and conducive working environment. One of the key elements in one’s loving their jobs and workplace is having supportive coworkers and management.

Find out here on how you can make your workplace a nice place to work 8 hours in:
10 Ways to Improve Your Workplace Relationships
How Introverts Can Thrive in the Workplace
Extrinsic & Intrinsic Motivation In Your Workplace

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19 replies on “How to Politely Turn Down After-Work Socialising Without Hurting Your Career or Offending Your Coworkers

  1. Well, what if my reason is “I want to go home and sleep”? .. 😛
    I personally try to pick and choose the parties I wish to attend, as well as be flexible as much as possible. I don’t mind socializing once in a while, but try to avoid too much of it, or when it clashes with some other event I committed to, previously.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Haha, this a great share. But I always use the same answer, “I don’t socialise with work colleagues.” Now that may offend but I have seen so many fallouts at work that have stemmed from of ‘out of work’ relationships. And 9 times out of 10 they stand around in a bar moaning about work lol.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, it’s true when you hang around your colleagues most of the time you’ll bitch about work. Sometimes I do like that to vent my frustrations so I don’t bottle those negativity but I’ll make sure I don’t cross the line of confidentiality.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I learned to be selective on all the afterwork events and make sure that I don’t exclusively select to hang around only with certain colleagues but try to mix around more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really nice one! I personally like to keep work and personal separate. I work in a very large company so I do have friends there but I do not like to “work” with my friends. While in the past I have worked with some, but I do like to keep things separate. Luckily for me right now, most of my team is 1,000 miles away in another office so most of the time this is not an issue and I don’t have to see them.
    I still think this is a great article because I think what you discuss is true that many people have to face this now.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is really helpful to read! I rarely have the energy to socialize after work, so I usually have to decline invitations. Looks like I haven’t done too bad at wording my reasons for declining. I am trying to make more effort to be part of workplace events that aren’t right after a long day, as well as joining in on social events within the work-day.

    Liked by 2 people

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