It's Friday and the workday is almost over. You are starting to pack up your things when suddenly one of your coworkers stops by. They ask if you are interested in coming out with them after work.

Inside your head, you are thinking...

Character from the show,

How do you say no?

Reasons Why

There could be many reasons why you may not want to socialize after work:

Personal Life

You may not like to share details about your personal life. Perhaps you had a bad experience or unfair judgement in the past

Person swing arms inward in a circle

Introverted or Shy

You feel more comfortable being by yourself or with perhaps 1 or 2 people, not large crowds.

Woman sitting and touching her fingers together

Social Anxiety or Insecurity

You feel uncomfortable interacting with certain individuals and perhaps it creates a feeling of self-doubt or hesitation.

Man spinning in circle in chair with woman trying to talk to him;

Resources, Time, or Money

You may have classes after work, a family to care for, or a second job. You might be on a budget and do not have additional money to spare.

Woman in red top saying,

Ways To Respond

Be Open & Honest

If you are comfortable, share your reason(s) with your coworkers. Being open and honest can help others understand more about you and who you are.

"I'm actually feeling drained and am going to go home for some downtime."

Woman looking at herself in a mirror sitting outside Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash

Be Polite & Direct

You do not have to lie or make up reasons. Just say that, "I'm sorry but I just cannot hang out after work today. But thank you for the invitation."

Two women talking sitting at a table Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash


Maybe you cannot hang out after work but you would love to go out to lunch or grab coffee with them in the morning. This can show others your interest but during a more convenient time in your schedule.

"Can't make it tonight, but how about we grab lunch on Friday?"

Person holding disposable coffee cup sitting at table Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Maybe Say Yes, Sometimes

If they go out every Friday, participate every 5th time if you feel like it. Make an effort to talk to at least 1 person. You might get to know someone on a deeper level or even enjoy yourself!

"I'm going to sit this one out, but I've marked next week in my calendar!"

Three people laughing sitting around a table


Your coworker will not take "no" for an answer. How could you respond?

Not The Social Butterfly

It is OK that you are not the social butterfly at work. If you ever decide to socialize with coworkers, know that there could be some added benefits like:

  • Building stronger connections which can result in a stronger workforce.

  • Collaborating more easily as you get to know each other better.

  • Allowing for more openness and dialogue when giving feedback or resolving conflicts.

  • Networking with coworkers can help foster relationships if you are ever looking to change or expand your work .

Moira Rose character from Schitt's Creek talking on the phone


It may not be easy but if you find yourself declining most invitations to socialize, what might you consider?

Take Action

You must be super-awesome for your coworker to want to socialize with you after work!

If you choose not to go...

Scrabble tiles spelling two words, make and plan. Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Remember that you will see and interact with your coworkers again. Maintaining a positive and respectful relationship will benefit both you and your coworkers.


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