3 Tips for Avoiding Your Social Activities

If you are suffering from depression or social anxiety, your therapist may recommend that you seek out social activities. However, there are times when it is important to say “no” to a social activity invitation. Some people find saying “no” very difficult – they can get anxious or guilty or even irritable when asked to attend an event. If you are in a situation where the healthy solution is to say “no”, here are a few tips to avoid the activity.

  1. Be sure to RSVP. You may need to avoid the social activity, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid the RSVP. A simple RSVP demonstrates respect for the host. It can also help reduce some anxiety caused by avoiding the invitation. For example: “Thank you so much for inviting me to your birthday party. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend. I hope you have a great birthday!”
  2. Understand your reasons for avoiding the activity. Sit with your feelings and thoughts about the invitation. If you feel overwhelmed with too many activities, remind yourself that you need time to rest and recharge and it is OK to say “no”. If the activity brings up negative emotions like sadness, guilt, fear, or anger, it may be worth further investigation. Try talking with a trusted neutral friend or a therapist about why this social activity is bringing up so much negative emotion.
  3. Take a raincheck. If you do not want to attend the activity but you do want to see the host or others at the event, ask for a raincheck and schedule a later activity. For example: “I am so sorry I am not able to attend your birthday party. I would love to get together another time – are you available for lunch next week?”

Live Mentally Healthy,
Dr. Jennie Byrne

Dr. Jennie Byrne, M.D., PhD. With over 15 years of medical expertise, Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist with experience treating mental health conditions in adults, including dementia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and depression. After practicing in New York City for 12 years, Dr. Byrne relocated to North Carolina in 2008; she currently cares for patients in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill. Dr. Byrne earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She then received her doctorate from New York University Department of Neurophysiology. She also has a doctorate of medicine from New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Byrne went on to complete a psychiatry residency at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In addition to her work as a psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne has performed extensive research on attention, memory, and depression. As a board-certified adult psychiatrist, Dr. Byrne focuses on the needs of each patient to pro

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