GOOD MANNERS – responding to an invitation
If you are invited to something, and you say, “No”, it is expected in Canadian culture that you will give an explanation for why you won’t/can’t attend.
To say “no” without an explanation sounds rude.
Examples of how to say “no”:
- Thank you for including us, but Jo’s office Christmas party is that same evening and we said we would go to it, so unfortunately we won’t be able to come.
- We would like to be there, but our daughter has a concert that evening so we can’t make it. We’d love to be invited next time, if you have another party!
- We really appreciate your invitation, but my elderly mother lives with us and we don’t like to leave her alone in the evenings. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone we can ask to stay with her, so we don’t go out much.
- It’s so nice of you to invite us but we have small children and we don’t have any family here who can babysit. Can we take a raincheck for ten years from now?! (This is a humorous way of saying you will not be available until your children are old enough to stay home alone.)
- I am sorry, but we will need to cancel our plans with you for Friday evening. Unfortunately, something has come up with Maria’s family, and we need to drive to Calgary this weekend. (At this point, your listener may say, “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope everything is okay?” You are then expected to give a brief explanation which explains whether the situation is distressing to you or not.
- Her brother is having health problems and he has taken a bad turn.
- Oh, yes. Everything is okay. Her sister phoned and she has to move unexpectedly so we want to go help her.
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