The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our social lives and presented unprecedented etiquette challenges.
As restrictions have eased in many parts of the country, people are hosting weddings, birthday parties and other social engagements of various sizes. And while many guests feel comfortable attending these kinds of events, others may find that such gatherings do not fit into their personal social distancing parameters.
But how do you politely decline a social invitation if COVID-19 is your reason? HuffPost asked etiquette experts for their advice for saying no to such gatherings or backing out of events you’d agreed to attend prior to the pandemic. Read on for their guidance.
If you’re on the fence about attending a birthday party or other social event, try to gather information to inform your decision.
“You have a right to ask the host if they will be implementing social distancing measures before accepting an invitation,” said Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life,” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.
Consider calling the host and saying something like, “I’m so excited about your birthday but I’m also concerned about getting sick or bringing it home to my family.” Then ask how many people are invited, whether the gathering will be inside or outside the house and other details of the plan.
“Get serious information, so you’re making the decision with facts rather than speculation,” said Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. “Once you have the information, say, ‘You know what, let me think about this, and I’ll give you a call tomorrow and let you know.’”
Share Your Decision ASAP
“As soon as you make that decision, let the other person know,” Smith advised. This is particularly important if it’s a more formal event with lots of logistics and if you had previously RSVP’d “yes” earlier in the year.
“If there’s a...