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...
How do you say no?
There could be many reasons why you may not want to socialize after work:
You may not like to share details about your personal life. Perhaps you had a bad experience or unfair judgement in the past
Introverted or Shy
You feel more comfortable being by yourself or with perhaps 1 or 2 people, not large crowds.
Social Anxiety or Insecurity
You feel uncomfortable interacting with certain individuals and perhaps it creates a feeling of self-doubt or hesitation.
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.
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."
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."
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?"
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!"
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 .
It may not be easy but if you find yourself declining most invitations to socialize, what might you consider?
You must be super-awesome for your coworker to want to socialize with you after work!
If you choose not to go...
Remember that you will see and interact with your coworkers again. Maintaining a positive and respectful relationship will benefit both you and your coworkers.