Middle Class Problems: We need a strategy for turning down summer social season engagements tactfully


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The Independent Online

To be inundated with social engagements is no bad thing for the ego – but come summer, not an evening, let alone a weekend, can go by without an invitation to a barbecue, a picnic in the park, an outdoor film screening, a casual drink out of a jam jar…

Yes, it might be 22C outside, but that doesn't necessarily mean we want to sweat away our time necking the dregs of pre-mixed G&Ts while huddled on an overcrowded tuft of grass as a tinny rendition of some quasi-hip tune whines out of an iPod.

We'd much rather be lying in the cool, dark shade of our lounge, watching TV alone. That way we get to avoid people as much as the weather, not to mention the pressure to dress in clothes the colour of nursery walls.

Hence why we pathologically awkward types need to plan a strategy for turning down engagements tactfully.

So, how to do it? First, consider countering a plan you don't want to do with a plan you fancy. "Zoo? No, sorry, I really can't. I need to stay at home for a package today. Why not come round here?"

If you don't want to see the person at all, couple your acceptance with a vague conditional: "Sounds great, I'll definitely be there if I don't have to go to Ikea." Instant get-out. Never go into too much detail, or your excuse sounds fraudulent.

Finally, cover your tracks on social media, as your online alias needs to reflect your lie.

Once mastered, this strategy will save you time, money and hangovers. Get it sussed, because you're going to have to go through it all again at Christmas…